All men may be equal, but all revolutions are not. A lack of historical perspective on past revolutions may be causing the split among Americans in general and Conservatives in particular in evaluating what is happening in Egypt. Some fall into the camp which says, “Anywhere men are fighting for freedom, we should support them.” Others are convinced that, for purposes of future diplomatic credibility, we should have remained loyal to the authoritarian ruler of Egypt - Hosni Mubarak. Still others worry that revolutionary chaos will inevitably lead to the rise of an Islamo-Fascist state, as happened in Iran.
Neither I, nor any of these groups have a crystal ball or complete, perfect knowledge of all the variables involved in the human interactions occurring in Egypt. What we do have is historical knowledge.
So, how does what is going on in Egypt compare with past revolutions? What similarities or differences can be found that can perhaps provide insight into the current situation and provide a basis for a rational policy?
Because the United States of America was born out of a revolution, Americans tend to immediately sympathize with popular uprisings. There are, however, important aspects of the American Revolution which are often overlooked.
When the European colonies were founded in America, their connection to Europe was tenuous — a long dangerous sea crossing. They were on their
own. During most of the 150 years prior to the American Revolution, England was torn by religious wars, the overturning and restoration of the monarchy, revolts in Scotland and Ireland and nearly continuous foreign wars. The American colonies were simply not on the mind of the Kings or Parliament.
When England did turn its focus to its North American holdings, its purpose was to bring the colonies under stricter control and use the wealth that had developed there to replenish a royal treasury badly depleted by a century of war.Continued on the next page