On the colonial asset of the War for American independence

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“ People like to cite Washington, when he was president, on avoiding foreign entanglements. That represents what I see as a widespread fantasy that there could ever have been an independent American nation without expansion driven by a concentration of wealth and military power. That’s what nationhood meant — and that’s why, if we want a radical transformation, we have to stop seeking it somewhere in our national origins. Washington somehow managed not to see his conquest of the old Northwest in the 1790s as a foreign engagement, because the enemy was indigenous. Neat trick, but in fact many of the men who became revolutionaries, with Washington among the foremost, turned against England in the mid-1770s precisely because the mother country was blocking their expansion into Indian country, robbing the colonial speculators of their investments and of the massive potential profits to be made there. In the west, at least, the revolution was a war of American expansion ”

William Hogeland, ‘Not Our Independence Day’, Jacobin Magazine

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