Before I jump into bringing my ancestors to America, I wanted to recommend a TV series. Legends and Lies: The Patriots airs on the Fox News channel on Sunday nights. It is also available On Demand through many cable services. The show is the brainchild of Bill O'Reilly. Even if you are not a fan of O'Reilly and Fox News, the series is worth checking out for the historical value.
Each episode has focused on one or two Patriot leaders: Sam Adams & Paul Revere, John Adams, Ben Franklin, George Washington [two: as general & as president], Thomas Jefferson, Francis Marion, Alexander Hamilton & Aaron Burr, so far.
The casting of the historical figures is not the greatest, but the stories are very good. The series tries to debunk the legends of the men and reveal facts that haven't been revealed in the history books. For example: George Washington, we were taught, could not tell a lie. Yet, the General put together a masterful spy network during the Revolutionary War. We one the war, in part, on G.W.'s ability to fabricate the truth.
The series has strengthened my respect for Washington and John Adams and lessened it somewhat for Jefferson and Hamilton. I was leaning in those directions, anyway.
O'Reilly also has a "companion book" for the series. I'm just starting on it. In the forward he asks "Which side do you think you would have chosen?"
I looked back at where my ancestors were living in the mid to late 18th century: Massachusetts [in what today would be Boston suburbs], western New Jersey [not far from Washington's Delaware crossing], New York City, Maryland, western Pennsylvania and the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Which side did they choose? Nearly all families were represented in the local militias, Continental Army, or supplying goods to the troops.
How about me? Which side would I have chosen? Knowing myself as I do, early on I would have probably remained part of that third of the Americans who remained neutral. As the war dragged on, I'd have come around to it. I think I would have been there as a member of Washington's Army or smuggling goods to the Army. Maybe I'd have made a halfway decent spy! :)-