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Aren’t you almost despairing as to the history our kids and many adults get spoon-fed in textbooks and in the media?  Well, with a warning to my British readers:  You might not like this post!  Here’s one good history!

Well, Liberty’s Kids is an animated PBS special produced about ten years ago and it covers the American Revolution from the Boston Tea Party in 1773 to the Constitutional Convention in 1787 and the inaugural of George Washington as our first President under the Constitution (Know who the real first president was?  It was John Hanson from Maryland, elected the first President of the Continental Congress under the Articles of Confederation.) in 1789.

It gives a surprisingly balanced and entertaining story of the great events of the Revolution as seen through three kids – two teens – James and Sarah who ought to be crazy about each other as much time they spend together but she’s British and he’s a colonist who lost his parents in a house fire and Henri, a young orphaned French boy about nine or ten who is French.  James, Sarah and to some extent Henri gather stories for Benjamin Franklin’s newspaper, the Pennsylvania Gazette (Franklin is beautifully narrated by Walter Cronkite who is a thorough globalist but has a fabulous voice.  Many famous people get to talk in Liberty’s Kids – General Schwartzkopf is for example Gen. George Rogers Clark and James Madison at the Constitutional Convention is narrated by Warren Buffett!) and so they see it all:  The Boston Tea Party, Paul Revere’s ride, Lexington and Concord, Saratoga, Yorktown etc.  One nearly tear-inducing episode shows how George Washington talked his former officers out of a military coup by reading the remainder of his speech with his glasses and then resigned his command – refusing to be king.

It discusses slavery in serious but not maudlin ways nor does not single out the South for exclusive blame.  But it shows the difficulties the colonists had in winning the war and forming a nation on the principle of liberty.  Many of the episodes make you want to stand up and cheer:  Paul Revere (and William Dawes), Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys, Benedict Arnold before he turned traitor, Nathan Hale, Gen. Nathanael Green and Horatio Gates.  African-Americans like Phillis Wheatley, American poet, and James Armistead LaFayette, Virginian and spy for the Americans as servant to Cornwallis’ own staff are mentioned and many might not know much about Bernardo de Galvez, the Spanish general and governor who fought the British in the deep South when Spain entered the war on our side!  Also Sybil Ludington, who as a real teenager (she is portrayed as a older woman in the episode) did a similar ride to warn colonists of a British attack on Danbury, Connecticut!

I would say that the Constitutional Convention episode was simplistic (should have been two perhaps) and made the goal of a strong central government desirable.  If we would only return to the Constitution that federal government would be large enough!  But the implication is that the Framers desired a government like it is today.  It also forgets the Bill of Rights and the struggle to get the Constitution ratified (perhaps should have been two more episodes) in the states.  It also strains credulity that the two remaining reporters are still teenagers in 1789 when they met as teens in 1773!  (Henri gets essentially “adopted” by LaFayette as part of the happy ending needed to sum up the series!  That’s pretty far fetched, too!)

But get Liberty’s Kids.  Cheer the colonists and boo the Tories until we get victory in Paris with the 1783 Treaty!  Here’s where’s Amazon has it.  To watch all the episodes, it is about 14 hours and 15 minutes.  This version does not have the additional filler items that uses puzzles and other means to teach kids about life during the Revolution.

About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)

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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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