“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” – Thomas Jefferson
A deep understanding of warfare in Western Civilization cannot exclude that wars are driven by economic forces.
Carroll Quigley’s Evolution of Civilizations and Tragedy and Hope are astounding resources on this topic. I highly recommend reading both.
1000 AD – The pinnacle of defensive weaponry was the impregnable stonewalled castle. Castles gave the feudal lords who owned one, the power to say “no,” even to the King. The counterpart in offensive weaponry was the Knight in armor. Mounted on horseback, Knights dominated combat in the open fields, but were all but useless against castle walls. Laying siege to a castle required the besiegers to invest 3-5 times the resources (Total Energy Costs) than the besieged who were waiting them out. Suspension of the Lord’s own economic production for the duration of the siege (peasants were conscripted), made the prospect doubly painful. An unsuccessful siege could destroy the attacker’s wealth and leave him open to a counterattack.
1300 AD – Strategic locations of the European Capitals allowed them to dominate foreign trade. Through these trade channels, huge amounts of excess wealth flowed in. These major power centers could now fund permanent, mercenary armies. With permanent armies came the ability to successfully lay siege, as the permanent army had nothing better to do than wait out a defender. As a result of this, thousands of independent political units were consolidated into hundreds. More wealth and power moved into fewer hands.
1500 AD – Foreign trade brought new technologies, in the form of siege weapons. Eventually, from the Far East, came cannons and gunpowder. Cannons obliterated castle walls, rendering them useless; Those who could afford cannons conquered those without. This ended with near complete dynastic monarchies. A King and his court of advisers ruled an entire nation, unopposed. The Rothschilds founded the first International Bank by opening branches in each nation’s capital. By lending money to opposing rulers and playing them against each other, they dominated the wealth of Europe.
The Colonial Age:
States that accumulated enough wealth through their economic centers, competed for expansion of trade routes and colonization of newly discovered lands. China, India and eventually, the New World became the source of new prosperity. North America proved to be the most fruitful of these, leading to a new age of colonial expansion for the European powers. The new Instrument of Expansion became the state-chartered trading companies, such as the British East India Company.
As all instruments do in time, these trade companies devolved into institutions. The state-chartered companies were used to increase the power of the state, at the expense of the people’s liberty. They stopped serving their customers, the colonists, and began exploiting them. Every detail of craft and tradework became so tightly regulated that it was practically illegal to create any new product, business, or innovation without the permission of the State.
Boats were used to dig canals (such as the C&O canal near Washington, D.C.) to provide water for inland towns and villages. The British East India Company sold the colonists a British imported 6-man canal-digging boat, used for this purpose. A local company in Virginia invented a 2-man boat, which was lighter, sturdier, cheaper (locally sourced labor and materials). The King had the owners arrested, the business torched, and their profits seized. Canal boats were made illegal unless sold by a royally chartered trade company (charters were denied to colonists), and it was decreed that digging a canal with less than 6 people was a crime punishable by imprisonment and fine.
1666 – The British textile interests conspired with the King, who decreed that persons who died in the colonies could not be buried in cheap linen cloth. The dead were required to be buried in a full suit of wool cloth, imported from Britain of course. They say the only two certainties are death and taxes, why not combine the two?
1770 – A crowd gathered in in front of a British government building on King Street in Boston to air their grievances. The protest was sparked by a number of issues, including the taxes, corrupt banking institutions, and the treatment of the colonists by the British occupying the city. This resulted in British Soldiers opening fire, killing several. Samuel Adams would coin this event the Boston Massacre in his writings. After “the shot heard round the world,” and the ensuing public reaction to it, it was just a matter of time before a revolution occurred.
1773 – the Sons of Liberty organized the Boston Tea Party. Members of the group met at a local pub, dressed in costume as Indians, and proceeded to Boston Harbor where they dumped the contents of the British Ship, Dartmouth, into the harbor in what has become world history’s most iconic tax protest.
1774 – The British impose the Intolerable Acts upon the Colonists, further escalating tension. The colonists to begin to prepare for war by stockpiling weapons.
1775 – The British attempt to seize the weapons at Lexington and Concord, igniting the first two battles.
The American Revolution:
Enter the Founding Fathers. Some of their greatest influences were: the philosophy of Freemasonry (not to be confused with what modern Freemasonry has become), the Magna Carta of 1215, and the writings of Thomas Paine (Common Sense and The Rights of Man, John Locke (Two Treatises of Government, et al), and Adam Smith (The Wealth of Nations).
The Founding Fathers were almost all Freemasons. Heavily influenced by its philosophy, they sought to break free from the old world money of the European elite. The Rothschild family owned most of the wealth in Europe at the time, and it was they who financially backed the British during the Revolution. They had the most to lose from colonial independence.
The Founding Fathers dealt the Rothschilds the worst defeat they have ever suffered. The war bankrupted them so badly that they did not recover their standing in Europe for many decades. This later led to an ambitious young General seizing power in France, and carrying out the Napoleonic Wars. The Rothschilds would fund the British side of that conflict as well.
The American Revolution pitted the world’s largest, most expensive, and best trained mercenary armies against an entirely new tactic the world had never seen before: The Citizen Army of Patriots.
The Founding Fathers came up with a simple innovation that would forever change the world: Men will fight for free for their own rights.
A King has to pay his army, and they will only take limited risks. Patriots are willing to fight and die for the cause. We take this for granted today. At the time, this was like inventing jazz for the first time.
All previous wars involving mercenary armies in Europe operated by a strategy known as War of Maneuver. By this doctrine, mercenary armies make slow, calculated movements designed to weaken the enemy position, or to cut off the enemy’s supplies, communications, or avenues of retreat. Victory occurs when one side maneuvers the other into a weak enough position to force their surrender. Mercenaries will fight at risk to their lives, but they will never willfully die for the cause.
Patriot armies fought to expel the enemy from their homes. They didn’t restrict their tactics. They used hit-and-run, raids, and something completely new called the assault. They would overrun the enemy with overwhelming numbers and force, sacrificing their lives to achieve the objective. Patriots would dare such a thing. Mercenaries of a tyrant won’t. These tactics won the day at Bunker Hill, Ticonderoga, and Yorktown. The King’s Generals were trained to fight opponents using War of Maneuver strategy and tactics.
The Founding Fathers won because:
• They got their citizens invested in the outcome, by offering them rights no king would ever have offered them – harnessing the power of individual achievement.
• They had geographic isolation from Europe and took massive advantage of the disparity in Total Energy Inputs between themselves and their opponents. Raiding enemy supplies is doubly effective when your enemy has to produce those supplies half a world away and ship them across an ocean.
• They developed a vast domestic intelligence network before the war, the Sons of Liberty, which transitioned well into a wartime intelligence network. Acting as his own Chief of Intelligence, George Washington completely outfoxed the British. He knew who the British spies in his Army were, and he would ensure fake plans fell into their hands. When the British acted on this information, they would walk straight into an ambush.
• Their tactics were bold and innovative. The British, institutionalized in their military thinking, developed no counters.
• They secured International support from the French. Ben Franklin was instrumental in negotiating the French to back the colonial cause. The French wanted to see the British weakened in Europe, via a loss in the colonies.