Washingtons lost their children to death. This made the man and his life more real for me, seeing it portrayed as the real human drama it was.
Ben Franklin was a womanizer of the first degree and had an illegitimate son, but no one doubted his abilities with diplomacy. He is the one who got the French to pull our fat out of the fire by playing on their hatred of the British. Meanwhile, he bedded many a willing Mademoiselle (and Madame) for his country. Thomas Jefferson, a slave owner, agonized over the wording of the Declaration of Independence. A wealthy land-owner, his financial interests were at stake as much as his ideology.
These were imperfect people, not the noble, Christian forefathers of the mythological version we were taught as schoolchildren. They wrestled over every sentence in the Declaration of Independence. Each person brought their own personal interest to the table and they were well aware that, according to the laws of Great Britain, they were committing High Treason.
This was not a unanimous decision by all the people. Many colonists still considered themselves loyal subjects of King George. Not all of these men were "churched." They were a mixture of "free-thinkers" and Theists. And their actions embroiled the colonies in a 6-year, bloody struggle in which the colonial soldiers were often unpaid, without shoes and coats in the winter, and their morale often was extremely low. Washington dealt with, at least, two mutinies in his camp that are documented in the television series. He had to deal with officers who lounged in heated comfort while the foot soldiers suffered freezing temperatures, illness and even death from the elements.
The Continental Congress and the drafting of the Constitution was even more contentious and hard-won than the Declaration of Independence. Many representatives threatened to walk out. They had to work out a way to get around slavery or the south would be lost as part of the Union. Women were not invited. The representatives were exhausted and drained when the Constitution was finally signed and published.
The Revolution was not simply a war for freedom, in the beginning, but a war to oppose oppressive financial burdens placed on the colonists by a greedy king and Parliament. It was about the economy as was the Civil War. All war seems to be, when you get down to it, all about power, acquisition of lands and riches or protecting power, land and riches and very little about ideology. Those things are often side-effects.
With both the Revolutionary War and the Civil War, it was the side-issues of personal freedom and emancipation of the slaves that became the historical standards rather than the real issues. We do pretty up our history, don't we? Just as the history of the beginnings of the nation was re-written to instill a sense of nobility to all that went on, so is the history of the BSE being revised or denied for reasons of gain, power or ego.
This is not something that happened two centuries ago, but something that this writer and her contemporaries lived. The image that the industry, adopters, agencies, and others have painted of the noble, heroic mother who made a "choice" is a whitewashing job of the highest degree. But people still seem to prefer to believe this mythology over the truth, just like the "America, Love It or Leave It" contingent clings to the mythology of our national genesis. The true human story, bloody, painful and heart-breaking gets lost in the re-telling.
If you want the truth about our national history, then talk to a dedicated historian who goes for the facts. If you want the truth about the Era of Mass Surrenders to adoption, talk to the mothers who lived it.
If you can stand the truth, we can tell it.