Elbow Room from SchoolHouse Rock. One of the interesting What Ifs of American History is if there had been no Louisiana Purchase. The Purchase took place during the one year peace of Amiens between Great Britain and Napoleonic France. If the purchase hadn’t taken place, I could easily imagine the Brits having taken New Orleans from France. In that case, perhaps a battle of New Orleans would have been fought during the War of 1812 in which Andrew Jackson was attempting to seize the city from the British. Napoleon agreed to the Purchase in part because he viewed America as a rival of Great Britain. At the conclusion of the Purchase he said, “This accession of territory affirms forever the power of the United States, and I have given England a maritime rival who sooner or later will humble her pride.”[
I loved these schoolhouse rock videos when they were first broadcast back in the Seventies right before the bicentennial. Among a fair number of kids I knew they sparked an interest in history. Of the videos, I believe No More Kings has the catchiest tune. For a cartoon, The Shot Heard Round the World does a fairly good job of conveying information about the Revolution in a very short span of time: it manages to include the opening battles of the war, Washington as the central figure of the war, the role of the militia, the endurance of the Continentals, the battle of Trenton, Valley Forge, the frequent defeats of the Americans, the importance of diplomacy and foreign intervention, and the decisive victory at Yorktown. Fireworks is a nice opening view of the Declaration for kids. If readers have kids, or if, like me, part of them has never really grown up, watching these cartoons can be a good way to get into the Fourth of July spirit !
From Schoolhouse Rock. For those preferring a more dramatic, or histrionic, reading:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
As a tie-in to my A Just War post of yesterday, the Schoolhouse Rock No More Kings.
Not a bad capsule summary of the American Revolution for a cartoon. It manages to include the opening battles of the war, Washington as the central figure of the war, the role of the militia, the endurance of the Continentals, the battle of Trenton, Valley Forge, the frequent defeats of the Americans, the importance of diplomacy and foreign intervention, and the decisive victory at Yorktown. Not bad, as I also thought when I watched it as a child, and it spurred me on to learning more about the Revolution.