Saturday, February 22, 2020

How the Nation was Won America's Untold Story Vol 1 Book Review

H.Graham Lowry's, How the Nation was Won;  America's Untold Story(1630 – 1754)

            I found the timeline in this book's title to be intriguing considering the current push to rewrite America from the year 1619. Why would the author select 1630, but not 1620, or even 1624 since that year new settlements were forming in the “New World”, or the New England? In his introduction the author covers the early 1600's as he lays the groundwork for the state of affairs of 1630. 

            Governments were dominated by oligarchical Jesuits, the Ottoman Empire was destroying entire countries. King James I and then his son, Charles I, were lusting for more power and were intolerant, abusive. By 1629, King Charles I had mandated that the English Parliament be completely disbanded. The ensuing anarchy brought momentary collapse of monarchy rule and seizing the moment, stepping into this mayhem, came John Winthrop. Having inherited land in what we now call Massachusetts, land that was awarded to his grandfather from Henry VIII, Winthrop and a band of clever rebels rushed to mobilize like-minded Puritans to form new settlements in New England. It would be established with legal sanction from the crown as he had written a charter which he submitted as soon as the chaos erupted. The document was formed under the Massachusetts Bay Company. As explained in Lowry's book (page 7):  
“To secure the constitutional freedom required to nurture a republican society, Winthrop and his allies managed a diplomatic coup, with not a little subterfuge and considerable sums of money, which gave the Massachusetts Bay Company a charter, enabling it to govern its own affairs in New England. It was signed by Charles I, just two days after the attempt to arrest parliamentary leaders who defied the order to dissolve. The language omitted the standard requirement that the governance of the company be based in England. Moreover, the charter empowered the 'freemen' of the company to elect their own governor and other officials, and make laws and ordinances for their own benefit and for the government of persons inhabiting their territory. The royal docket item explaining the charter stipulated holding the election of the company's 'governor and officers here in England,' but no such provision appeared in the charter itself.”

            This brilliant move to omit England's authority in the charter would not be realized for some months and by the time of the discovery the colonialists self-rule would be rooted and their fight to continue its purpose well ingrained. Furious with the deception when discovered, Charles I demanded immediate retrieval of the charter, a well resisted fight lasting well into the late 1600's. This is a fascinating read, deeply informative, delving into the early settling on American shores and the impact on world affairs from this infant nation. The author's academic approach to these historical times includes the countries whose laws and traditions helped to form the eventual laws and doctrine of early America. It is completely unlike the academic textbooks of today.

               Written in 1987, its price runs from $20 to $85, perhaps reflecting the quality of original historical material revealed. It is a riveting page-turner loaded with suspense and treachery including the Parliament's poisoning of Queen Anne, the debauchery of England's church and government, to the battles secretly waged against the English commissioners who were sent to New England to retrieve the freedom charters and to assume governance of  the colonists. It is filled with mystery and suspense, and perhaps a bit of humor, when exposing how the greed and arrogance of English conquerors was fodder for manipulation in the hands of colonial spies waging their own secret coups both within and without the English Parliament. The breathless excitement builds during this timeline of 1630 – 1754. The bold and daring actions of freedom fighters lay the groundwork for the eventual American Revolution. The book fully honors the memory of these incomparable patriots and even raises the curiosity of the reader. Can this determination, this shrewdness and commitment to freedom, rise again in the hearts of Americans when their country is at stake?

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