Have you ever woken up and really wished that there were a way you could learn about the American Revolution that spoke to you? Never fear, The American Revolution as told by GIFS is here!
Let’s start at the beginning. Britain, France, and the 13 Colonies end the 7 Year War in 1763 after—you guessed it— 7 years. A lot happened in this war, but the TL;DR version is that it cost Britain a shit ton of money, and resulted in the Proclamation Line of 1763 which didn’t allow colonists to go steal more Indigenous lands. But…if you’ve ever met a colonist…
After the war, which also took place in Europe by the way, stop buying into American Exceptionalism…
Britain was basically broke and since they went into debt partially by fighting the French for the American Colonists, Parliament turned to the 13 Colonies for help.
As you can imagine, the 13 colonies didn’t love that too much.
Let’s talk for a minute about the different taxes that Britain tried to impose. Actually, jk, it doesn’t matter because the colonists whined so much about the taxes that Britain repealed all of the laws.
I want to be really clear here. The tea tax was the final tax imposed on the colonists, and it mainly hit the merchants buying the tea from Britain (though consumer prices went up, of course, because capitalism). Also, there were more regulations so people couldn’t bootleg tea anymore. Britain thought they were awesome. They’d finally made a tax that was going to stick, no one could possibly be angry!
I mean, I don’t want to belabor the point but…have you ever met a colonist?
This group of kids called the Sons of Liberty, which, by the way, would be described as Anti-Fa now, decided they were really going to stick it to the British and their tea tax.
And thus, we have the Boston Tea Party. I’ve included a dramatic recreation for you below.
The tea party, as fun as it sounds, actually cost the Brits a whole lot of money. Millions of dollars worth of tea was destroyed. My favorite part is that the Sons of Liberty trolled around the harbor for the next day or so, making sure no one came to steal any of the floating tea.
The Brits, of course, were super pissed.
The Boston Tea Party led directly to the Intolerable Acts…but you’ll have to tune in to part two for that.
Before you go any further, don’t expect a recipe at the end of this story
The doorbell rang during dinner. Unexpected package, I thought to myself while answering the door thinking FedEx was delivering late.
It was a package, but it wasn’t from FedEx or any other carrier for that matter.
It was a neighbor gift.
“NOOOOOOOOOOOO” I cried, falling to my knees as I glared around for the offending neighbor. They didn’t even bother to wait, just a doorbell ditch drop off. Probably thought it’d be cute.
The gift is really nothing much. Just a nice, thoughtful baggy of candies and other treats for the festive holiday season. But, it’s the baggage that comes with the baggie. Because now, I must reciprocate.
So. At 9PM at night, having never made it before, I decide I’m going to make caramel. I take a shot of rum for luck, and get to work.
Luckily, I had the requisite materials. I stirred and stirred the milk and cream until it hit “scalding”. Which, if you don’t know, is like 180 Degrees and ten hours of stirring.
Then, I poured an entire bottle of Karo syrup in with 4 cups of sugar. For health, you know, and waited until it began boiling.
By now I’m on my third drink and it’s 11PM. I’d been working for close to twelve hours.
Well. Two anyway.
Two fucking hours? I whisper to myself. I had no fucking clue caramel took so long.
Once the sugar is boiling I had to spoon in the milk mixture. I thought this was the end of it. 1/3 cup in three minute intervals was nearly the death of me. I’d frantically stir as the bubbles would rise up, threatening to overtake the lip of the pot. Alexa refused to keep time.
Where’s an ox and lamb when I need one?
Once I’d added the milk I had to wait for the “soft ball” stage. My sugar was already boiling merrily in the pot, I thought for sure we were ready.
Or maybe I was drunk. We’ll never know.
It’s 11:30. I put the candy thermometer in the pot. I’m 40 degrees away from freedom.
Except….that 40 degrees takes 40 years.
I waited. And stirred. And waited some more. And stirred some more.
FINALLY, at 12:35 AM, 3 1/2 hours after I’d started, the caramel was ready to be poured. Yet, that was not the end. I spent another two hours wrapping the damn things.
But now, I too will have a neighbor gift. Handmade caramels. Delicious and made correctly first try. At 39 I’ve officially arrived at adulthood. I can, not only do hard things, I can do them while drinking rum. The true test of a competent pirate.
Now, the only thing left to do is carry loose peppermints in my purse instead of gum.
If you’re a woman, perhaps you’ve been told you’re a gossip. Or, you’ve been warned against gossip. Perhaps you’ve even been forced to watch Tedx clips about why you shouldn’t gossip at work, given to you by some dude on the internet.
The term “gossip” tends to be a phrase that uniquely targets women, and the way in which women interact with one another. It carries a negative connotation, and people often consider gossiping as “bad.” In Puritan New England, gossip was called “gadding about”, even Martha Ballard, that great New England midwife, called herself a gadder. Probably because she had all the juicy details of everyone’s lives (and could testify in court if a woman named the father of an illegitimate child on her birthing bed).
Now, we call gossip “spilling the tea” or “hot gos” or, simply, “chatting.” Whatever you call it, it’s usually targeted at female groups, and, occasionally, used as a weapon within workplaces.
The Weaponization of Gossip
Some workplaces, usually female centered (though not always), attempt to “ban” gossip. It’s actually something I’ve heard a lot from fellow teachers discussing their workplace conditions. The problem with this is that gossip is a hugely broad term, and may be defined as anything “negative.”
By defining any negative speak as “gossip” and therefore banned within the workplace, it prevents women (or anyone), from discussing workplace problems or issues. In a world where male administrators may not listen to the concerns of their female colleagues, this is problematic. Additionally, a “ban” on gossip may create a culture of fear — where you may be worried to tell someone about a problem for fear of “being negative” and getting reported. It’s like, McCarthyism, but at work!
The fear of being perceived as “negative” prevents people from perhaps discussing important topics like, oh I don’t know, wages, harassment, internal policies, or other things that employees may want to take collective action on. A ban on gossip harms everyone, but can be especially harmful for any BIPOC employees. Bias is real.
And, there’s the rub. It’s that collective action part that administrators or bosses want to prevent.
So, what can you do? Well, obviously, the answer is to gossip about it. Because often what employers deem as gossip…is not actually gossip.
At its core, gossip is information. Information about time, work, pay, conditions, experiences. Information is powerful and information is almost always used as an avenue of change. On the flip side any attempt to control or hide information is almost always used to stagnate and maintain power.
So talk my friend. Spill the beans, the tea, gad about, chat, discuss, laugh, get angry, get sad, get happy and importantly — share information. Stay powerful.
When last we saw each other, I had just told you the story of the Pequot Massacre. Taking place in the 1630’s, the Massacre occurred a little over a decade after the first Thanksgiving, and was responsible for the death of hundreds of Pequot men, women, and children, and the enslavement of hundreds more.
Fast forward to the winter of 1675, Plymouth, Massachusetts. The body of John Sassamon is found, killed and frozen. John Sassamon is A Wampanoag Christian, and educated at Harvard. He therefore represents a bridge. He’s a man straddling two cultures in the borderland of colonial America. And now, he’s dead.
Metacom, aka King Phillip, and his men are implicated in the death. This is where the whole Thanksgiving tie-in is made. You see, Massasoit, Metacom’s father, was part of the first Thanksgiving, and made an “alliance of mutual defense” in 1621 with Governor John Carver, leader of the newly established Plymouth Colony.
Now, however, Massasoit is long dead and Metacom is faced with increasingly imbalanced interactions with the colonists. Metacom, like his father, had entered into various peace agreements with the Brits, but he saw these treaties as mutual while the colonists saw the agreements as Indigenous submission. After the death of John Sassamon, the colonists arrest, try, and kill three of Metacom’s men in British court. I want to be clear, this was British justice, not Indigenous justice and it’s a final straw for Metacom. So, he strikes back, killing nine people in the town of Swansea.
And this is the spark that becomes King Phillips war.
Unlike the Pequot Massacre, this was an all out war between various Indigenous groups and the colonists. This war has far reaching ramifications for both the Indigenous nations in New England, and the colonists. The fighting lasted about fourteen months, and by the end of it most of the Indigenous nations in the area had been pulled into the conflict. The colonists often demanded that Indigenous nations trying to stay neutral prove their neutrality by giving up their weapons, and when they refused, they’d be attacked (see the Great Swamp Massacre). Some Indigenous nations, looking to secure their land and trading rights, sided with the British. In the end, Metacom and his followers were routed and Metacom was killed. At least 3000 Indigenous men, women, and children died, along with roughly 900 colonists. The British colonists sold thousands more Indigenous peoples into slavery. According to the American YAWP Indigenous nations “comprised roughly 25 percent of New England’s population; a decade later, they made up perhaps 10 percent.” The war was brutal, and with the death and enslavement of so many Indigenous peoples, it also secured the Puritans’ foothold in the Americas.
Most people don’t know the story of King Phillip’s War. They don’t really even know who was at the first Thanksgiving — preferring instead to stay safe and comfortable in the warmth that a lack of knowledge brings–however, history doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and the aftermath of Thanksgiving is as important as the day itself.
Metacom, or King Phillip, was part of the legacy of that first Dinner of Thanks. His people were forever changed by the landing of Pilgrims in Plymouth, and our American history has been informed by the romanticization that Pilgrims/Puritans and Indigenous nations “got along” and “helped each other” out.
When in reality, that first Thanksgiving ushered in hundreds of years of violence, slavery, and displacement. What we call nostalgia, Indigenous Americans call a day of mourning. This is the 400th anniversary of that particular feast (which actually took place in late summer so like..that anniversary has technically past). As we sit down to our squash pies, and cranberry sauce — indigenous foods, by the way– we should be very aware of the legacy of destruction that comes with Thanksgiving. Moving forward, we must not only be cognizant of the history, but willing to take steps to right the wrongs of our past.
Because, you see, you can’t be proud of your ancestors while trying to distance yourself from their wrongdoings. You can’t literally have your pie, and eat it too.