Reenacting wars of colonial imperialism

A Revolutionary War reenactment with Colorado Springs D-12 schools
COLORADO SPRINGS, 1776. District 12 elementary school 5th graders reenacted a couple Revolutionary War battles, where the heretofore unstoppable Red Coats fought in vain to crush the American insurgency.

Aided by Awakening Councils of British Loyalists, the English troops threw overwhelming force against Colonial militias who would not fight fair.

Hiding in the woods
Comprised mainly of army irregulars, dressed often as ordinary civilians, because they were, the “American” rebels would not renounce terrorist tactics, human shields and unconventional warfare.

Fighting against insurgents
British soldiers were conscripted from among the families who could afford neither education or apprenticeships to the skilled trades. Whereas their Tory collaborator were from the colonies’ wealthy landowners.

The British armies represented a coalition from client states of the empire, such as the Scottish Highlanders. These occupation forces supplemented their number with private contractor mercenaries, the professionally equipped, widely despised Hessians.

The Continental insurgency was accused of including foreign fighters.

Wounded on the field

Red Coats
British military superiority was overwhelming, wherever they concentrated their forces, the rebels withdrew. But there were never enough British soldiers deployed to hold the entire countryside.

Continental Army
The American Freedom Fighters were assisted by France, home of “French Fries,” later called “Freedom Fries,” and the Statue of Liberty.

After eight long years of far flung military engagements, incurring an insurmountable national debt, the English conceded victory to the separatists in what became known as the American War of Independence.

Support Our Troops
Playing the heavy in a reenactment of the US patriotic struggle against British occupation, was not so bad as playing a turncoat.

Most Americans look back and picture themselves having been Lexington Minutemen, or Kentucky Rangers or Continental Marines, but many of our forefathers fought against the patriots. The more ignoble among the collaborators were: Simcoe’s Queen’s Rangers, the Loyal Irish Volunteers, the New Jersey Volunteers, Brant’s Volunteers, Butler’s Rangers, Caldwell’s Company, Docksteader’s Rangers, DeLancey’s Brigade, Brewerton’s Company, the King’s Royal Regiment, the Loyal American Regiment, the Royal American Volunteers, the Queen’s Rangers, and Tarleton’s British Legion.

Reports of atrocities were dismissed as enemy propaganda. Evidence emerges later of what happens when infantry are left to their own initiative. Witness: stretcher-bearers and wounded come upon a British patrol coming off the lunch-hour, and are put to the bayonet.

18 thoughts on “Reenacting wars of colonial imperialism

  1. i’m sorry 🙁 but these images seem disturbing- kids pointing guns at each other

  2. I guess some things are worth fighting for, disturbing or not. Fights are always “disturbing”, by their very nature. What’s the alternative???

  3. what’s most disturbing about these photos is that it’s KIDS. Right here in Co Spgs we just had a 13 year `old shoot and kill his 9 year`old brother and then wound his mom.

  4. Neither these kids not their parents seem to have even the tiniest clue that war is more than just some game to play like football or chess.

  5. While I encourage living history for schoolchildren, I abhor the thought they may have been mislead about war. Did the teachers explain the aftermath of war in general, or did they leave the impression that this was patriotic and “boy did we have a great time killing the bad guy”. What’s next – the War Between the States? How about re-enacting Kent State or the Dec.1, 1969 Draft Lottery. Everyone could be assigned a birthday, when their number is called then a percentage can go to Canada, some will be permenantly injured, and some will be handed a tombstone. A balanced educational experience. After all, we appear to be raising “cannon fodder”.

  6. I am a member and 1st Sergent IN DeLanceys Brigade Second Battalion British Loyalist a reenactor. I just hope the right message got through to the young people War is never nice But does come. I hope the message they got is the struggle the continental army made to face their there fellow brothers and fight for freedom. and unite 13 colonies in to one country. I do a British impression for Heritage reasons My own son now has come of age to get a musket and join. Reenactments are meant to educate teach and be a learning experience. And yes young children was in the revolution. Drummer boys in battle were from ages 9-16yrs old and once age 16 they took up the musket for the side they fought for. I guess the main thing is did the right message get across. Both side did there Patriotic duty Both English and Colonial. thank you rob chapman

  7. And when your son reaches 17 you’ll urge him to go into the REAL army and kill babies for the Corporate Whorelords, and you’ll tell him it’s “Patriotism” and that he’ll be fighting for the “freedom” to do what he’s told.
    Be sure to teach him the proper technique for licking your masters’ boots too.

  8. Not a single positive comment? That’s rather surprising. Teaching children history naturally requires teaching them about wars; and in my humble opinion there’s nothing “disturbing” about getting them engaged in learning instead of having them sit in a stuffy classroom memorising dates. If they have to learn it anyway they may as well be taught in such a way that they’ll remember it. I’m probably biased though; I reenact the Revolutionary War myself 🙂

  9. I’m positive that teaching kids to point guns at each other and pull/squeeze/tap the triggers is a spectacularly bad idea.
    Also they’re more like indoctrinating the kids to join the Military where they can then go and BE the Redcoats to the say, Iraqi or Afghan patriots.
    Did you know, as a history buff, that the book wherein General Xiap of the Army of the Democratic Republic of (north) VietNam supposedly said that if the Terroristic Bombings (morally and legally equivalent to 9/11 only ongoing) had continued for another month that the Hanoi Government would have surrendered… wasn’t actually written by him?

    One that WAS written by him expressed great admiration for George Washington, particularly as a strategist.
    Washington, too, lost most of the battles but won the war.

    Many of the soldiers (I know, an indefinite numeration but who cares? It’s HISTORY not some kind of exact factual narrative… see the non-existent Xiap quote from “recognized historians”) who were conscripted to go to VietNam and punish the people for not accepting the Puppet Dictatorship in Saigon noted the same fact before ever reading Xiap’s book, the REAL one.
    The “insurgents” were in a legally and morally equivalent position to the Sons of Liberty. AND the U.S. and Australian troops in VietNam were in exactly the same position of “moral authority” as the Redcoats and the Kings Hessian Mercenaries.

    And so it is in Iraq and Afghanistan, the “insurgents” are properly called Resistance Fighters.

    You know the ones. Like the patriot militia under the orders of George Washington? Or the French and Dutch and Norwegian and Danish and Greek and VietMinh resistance groups who fought essentially as American proxies against the Nazi and Japanese occupations of their lands… and the Nazis did to them something even the British and Hessian occupiers (usually) refrained from doing to American militia… imprisoned, tortured and killed them as “unlawful combatants”.

    One of the VietMinh soldiers was Ho Chi Minh and another was Xiap. For their faithful service to the Allied cause in WW2 they were profusely thanked by De Gaulle, Churchill, Roosevelt… then when the war was over they were condemned as criminals, for demanding the end of the OTHER foreign occupation of their nation.

    Maybe you could teach THAT “probably biased” point of view to your child proteges.
    Or do you teach them that the American interventions in VietNam, and now in Afghanistan and Iraq and Pakistan, and soon in Iran, always started on falsified charges… were somehow more in line with the King of Prussia and Marquis de Lafayette than with the British and Hessians?

    I’m probably biased too. Because I get this really strong impression that you teach them the latter slant on History.

    It is, after all, the current fad, especially on the part of the Warmongers. George W. Bush even dressed up as the Original George W.
    Just a “re-enactment” of course.

    Maybe you could teach them such wonderful re-enactments as The Battle of the Somme? Wouldn’t matter which uniforms you put them in, British or French or Austrian or German or Russian, just line them up and have them do bayonet charges against water-cooled belt-fed machine guns.

    Might as well do it literally against live ammunition, if, as I Strongly and in a most biased manner suspect you’re merely preparing them psychologically to be Cannon Fodder for some future dictator.

    Teach ’em young.
    That’s a paraphrase from one of Solomons proverbs, “if you raise up a child in the ways of righteousness he shall never depart from them”.

    The backside of that is “if you raise up a child in the ways of arrogance, violence, hatred and ignorance he shall never depart from them”

  10. You don’t have to teach kids to do this. They’ll do it by themselves. Ever played cops & robbers as kid? How many of you had a toy gun, either with blanks or water? Yeah. See what I mean?

    I would have loved something like this as kid.

    Cannon fodder for some future dictator because they play this?

    I guess some of you have forgotten how the American “cannon fodder” was instrumental in freeing the world from fascists, Nazis and imperial Japanese.

    Sometimes you need to kick some butt. Nothing wrong with teaching children that Gandhi-style pacifism is stupid.

  11. The Nazis are still with us. They have their kids hold up a british flag with “support the troops” written on it.
    You can find their right wing writings on Stormfront and other dumbass Klan websites and publications and at every tea party.
    The Chinese and Korean and VietNamese resistance groups did more to defeat Japan than Americans did.
    The Russians killed far more Nazis than Americans did.

    Since from your tone I’m guessing you don’t approve of Ho Chi Minh or Chairman Mao or Stalin you’ll probably find some tiresome slogan-filled way to disagree.

    We’re not the only nation in the world, you know.
    By the way, Daniel Boone was a Quaker. Means he was taught Gandhi style pacifism.

    So was Richard Nixon. Just thought I’d toss that in there because it really gets y’all Babykillers really angry.

  12. Say, Arthur, and Badger, maybe this link will show a little bit about what exactly gets propagated by such glorification of war

    When y’all babykilling warmongers get all swelling with pride over American kids being exploited like that, you tend to forget how you treat Iraqi or Palestinian or Afghan kids undergoing similar training, and use them as an excuse to invade their homelands. “to stop their leaders from militarizing their children” right? Badger mentioned Japanese imperialism but failed to point out American Imperialism.
    Pearl Harbor had been bombarded and invaded once before, a half century earlier, by AMERICAN naval and Marine Corps forces who were “liberating” the island for AMERICAN corporate interests. Just another double standard.
    They had also been named by the British as a protectorate, “The Sandwich Islands” after the same Earl of Sandwich who is credited with inventing the food product bearing his name.
    Might White of them, don’t you think? Claiming to be bringing civilization to a nation whose government had been stable for centuries, unlike the British monarchy which had been “stable” for about 50 years.

    Just, you know, another double standard.
    By the way, double standard refers to a Jewish law.
    While American churches and their related political structures tend to frown deeply on Sharia law, they tend to also talk up Levitican Law, except in those many many many instances where they themselves break Levitican law.

    Like with double standards. You’re supposed to use the same scales to weigh out the goods you sell to also weigh out whatever you’re accepting as payment. The weight standards were set by Moses.
    Also when you judge any criminal or civil law case, both sides of the argument are to be judged EQUALLY.

    Except, apparently, or obviously, in the way American actions are weighed against Iraqi actions.

    You know that saying y’all Babykilling Warmongers like to pop off with,
    “call us when we behead somebody”?
    How would somebody killed with an American bomb or bullet or unmanned drone or Capitalism-induced disease and starvation be any less dead than somebody killed quickly with a sword?

    For that matter, how would somebody decapitated by a .50 Caliber round fired from a Vulcan motorized Gatling gun be any less decapitated than somebody beheaded with a sword?

    I know you jackasses didn’t put that argument into this particular comment thread. But admit it, you did in other places, didn’t you?

    I’ll go further out on this limb, m’kay? You support the death penalty too, don’t you? And call yourselves “right to life”?
    So how is having three Uniformed Thug COWARD PIGS strap somebody onto a cross-shaped table and murdering him with an overdose of Sodium Pentothal any less killing somebody with a sword or stoning him to death?

    Fought for freedom, you say? Badger, did YOU personally protest the murder of Oscar Grant by the Oakland Pigs who held him down on the pavement and shot him in the back?
    I bet you didn’t.
    Some freedom you’ve “given” us. Freedom to obey. Freedom to conform. Freedom to look and act White or be punished for not doing so.

  13. absolutely agree with this. I’m attempting to figure out which running a blog computer software to use, and its visibility to google is important to me. Getting a have any idea tumblr blog, I tried hunting what the Title of the blog is, AND direct rates from the blog’s content. Didn’t arrive up in the initially 5 search final results pages!

  14. I am the head of the educational non-profit that stages these events for school kids. It is sad to see that so many people lack the ability to do some actual research before they make up their minds and write their opinions. Not one person who wrote a comment contacted me to see what actually IS being taught during the training. These kids get 4 days of training before they re-enact a battle.

    I agree with Einstein that history is the most important subject. My belief is that, the more a person knows about war, the more they will stand up for peace. I had a Vietnam vet contact me several years ago. He was very upset that our org might be “glorifying war.” When I went into detail about what was being taught, he felt much better and ended up being a strong supporter!

    In the world, there is much that is not what it appears to be at first glance. I would bet that the first person who came up with a cure for snake bite was ridiculed because he/she used the venom to create the cure. It is the only thing that works, but it is counter-intuitive. So is this.

    If I thought for one second that the outcome of our program was to crank out “cannon fodder” or a generation of people who will shoot people for fun, or glorify war, I would stop in an instant!

    What IS taught is that war is horrible, is not fun, even for the “winners” of the war. The kids learn self-discipline, respect for others, and I always encourage them to work for peace.

    The benefits of the program are too numerous to mention all of them, but here is what the teachers say in subsequent grades: We can always tell which kids went through the YCLH program. They are more respectful, better able to focus on their school-work, bullying is curtailed, and they like studying history.

    After a YCLH battle, very few kids are interested in becoming an actual soldier, because they have an idea of what it entails-the pain of being shot, or of having to shoot someone else, poor food and living conditions, low pay, and having to take life-and-death orders from someone who may or may not know what they are doing.

    The students realize that recreating a battle as a history lesson is very fun but that being in a real war is the opposite of fun.

    People on the political right support us because they like to see all kids learn some discipline. People on the left support us because they like the pro-peace outcome.

    Please feel free to contact me concerning any of this at: You Can Live

  15. Darrell, I thought you wrote an excellent and very well articulated and passionate comment. However, here is is the latest news on the gun control battles, and it involves another gun ‘accident’ amongst supposedly responsible American people PLAYING with their beloved guns once again. See ‘Three hurt in firearm accident at North Carolina gun show’- The real gun control divide in the US is a rather sad situation, is it not? The American military and police loving types like guns and the pacifist religious liberal types do not. And the gun loving-gun toting people seem to have the upper hand as our country self destructs.

    As to your comment that ‘The students realize that recreating a battle as a history lesson is very fun but that being in a real war is the opposite of fun.’

    Let’s hope so, but I rather doubt that is the actual case despite your words saying that it is like that. I think that the real lesson is, once again for these typical American kids, that uniforms and guns give power and privilege to those that like to play with them AND TO USE THEM against others. It pays good benefits, too!

    I sincerely doubt that reenacting these battles is any more instructive about the lack of glory in real war than playing in a chess tournament would be. After all, it really is rather ‘glorious’ for these kids to be playing out in a field with all those nice uniforms on, isn’t it? Let’s be real here. You, and your organization, really are more promoting the idea that battles, guns, and war is obtaining macho glory to the fullest.

    I am also sure you do put in some nice cautionary words of wisdom about the dangers of armed conflict, but still the basic message is that ‘our’ US military and militarism is our natural American heritage and GLORY.

    Further, I don’t believe that history teaching should be centered around reenactment of military battles as your organization does. History teaching is much more than the playing with guns and uniforms that centerpieces your ‘instruction’.

  16. The following is an excerpt from a commentary in Salon Magazine titled- The foolishness of Civil War reenactors- A historian grapples with the right — and wrong — ways to commemorate a war that should horrify all of us

    ‘In fact, the entire idea of commemorating the Civil War strikes me as perverse, including bloodless battle reenactments. Why would anyone want to replicate one of the worst episodes in American history? Why would anyone want to pretend to be fighting a battle that resulted in lost and smashed lives on the field and utter grief among the soldiers’ loved ones back home? Is there any uplifting message to be derived from such playacting? What’s more, these “reenactments” are contrived and orchestrated. In order to avoid everyone falling down and playing dead during these battle plays (or no one falling down at all), reenactors decide by lottery in advance who will clutch their heart and tumble to the ground as though they’ve been hit; some of the fallen inevitably try to lie still if they are supposed to be dead, others try to simulate wounded men by crawling away from the scene of “carnage” (if you pay attention, you’ll see that they’re actually crawling to the nearest shade tree), while still others sometimes try stealthily to get their hat over their faces to avoid sunburn.

    No one, of course, uses live ammunition, except for one French reenactor who did so during the 135th anniversary reenactment of Gettysburg, where he slightly wounded an American reenactor in the stomach; all charges (assault with a deadly weapon, etc.) were later dropped against the Frenchman, who was speedily deprived of his ammunition and put on a fast plane to Paris. When cannons are fired at reenactments, they do not produce explosions or rip through the advancing ranks of the enemy, since they are in essence firing only blanks — that is, powder charges without projectiles. Nevertheless, these battle reenactments usually produce a good number of real casualties, which turn out to be mostly burns from overheated muskets and artillery pieces, heat prostration and the occasional heart attack among overweight baby boomers who are trying, despite their huge girths and hardened arteries, to portray fit, young soldiers.

    More to the point, though, is the strange desire to impersonate soldiers of the Civil War by pretending to fight a battle. In the first place, these pretend battles look and sound nothing like the real thing, although reenactors have convinced the public (and themselves) that they do. In the second place, these theatricals lose every bit of authenticity the moment the demonstration draws to a close and the faux dead and wounded on the field rise up in a mass resurrection resembling the Rapture, which is usually accompanied by the applause of the onlookers (who, by the way, have paid a hefty admission price to see grown men shoot at one another with the adult equivalent of cap guns). The crowd usually finds these phony battles truly entertaining, perhaps in the same way that “professional” wrestling has its devoted fans. Nevertheless, entertainment — no matter how authentic the reproduction buttons and firearms might be — is not history.’

  17. My daughter and several of her schoolmates reenacted a battle with this same organization back in 1998. I can assure you that the experience did not make them warlike in any way. In fact, the opposite happened. They became much more interested in History. Just as Darrell said, the more you know about war, the less likely you’ll want to fight in one. She now teaches History at a public school in Colorado and has invited You Can Live History to do similar activities with her students.

    It might be a good idea to interview some kids who participated in it before passing judgment on the results.

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