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Bagley's straw man

Published January 16, 2013 1:01 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

In his zeal to skewer everything conservative, editorial cartoonist Pat Bagley drew another dud with his Jan. 13 cartoon, "Founding Frenchies of Freedom," that set up the straw man of heavily armed colonists winning the Revolutionary War (the conservative view) versus giving the French army and navy the actual credit for American independence.

The French monarchy sent military help to confound their English rivals, not to further the ideals of liberty — and then only after the Americans scored a number of victories on their own.

In fact, British troop commander Lord Richard Howe had left for England in 1778, in part because he felt unsupported by the British government, and in part because he considered the war unwinnable.

While the English could move at will along the coast, they were vulnerable inland. Surprise attacks, such as Washington's crossing the Delaware to attack Trenton, N.J., were effective tactics.

Undoubtedly, French help brought a faster end to the Revolutionary War. The determination of the Americans, their ideals and their homes they were fighting for — those were the decisive factors.

Certainly, early on, the colonists used their own weapons, but this is the straw man in Bagley's cartoon.

Mark Lewon

Salt Lake City