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Maddie Orr; 1776 blog post

The film, 1776, showed a very interesting perspective to the Founding Fathers and the lead-up to the Declaration of Independence. Many elements of comedy are used to poke fun at the different members of Congress and the lack of seriousness within the meetings. They make stereotypical jokes about New Jersey and New York being very loud and that no one listens to each other. Benjamin Franklin falls asleep often during the meetings and Steven Hopkins is always drunk and asking for more alcohol instead of contributing to the discussions. It also seemed that before the question of independence was proposed they never actually resolved anything important. They would have daily weather reports from Jefferson and when George Washington would send reports of bad news looking for support, they never came up with any plans to help him and the army. While this may have been a comedical exaggeration, I think that the film was getting at the idea of privilege among the wealthy men and disregard for any issues that were not their own. The Congress members treat the custodian, Andrew McNair, as their own personal servant and when he voices his opinions about independence he immediately gets shut down and is reminded that he is not one of the Congressmen so his opinions don’t matter to them. This relates to the Constitution only applying to men who owned property where the majority of Americans were excluded and ignored from the policymaking and from the concerns of the “important” people. 

Throughout the film, they mentioned a few times about how the history of the independence of the colonies would be written. John Adams was describing how he was embarrassed that the only way for Jefferson to be able to write the Declaration of Independence was if he could be with his wife. Ben Franklin responds to him saying, “Don’t worry John, it won’t appear in the history books” (1:19). Another example is when John Adams says that he won’t be in the history books and it will only be about Franklin, Washington, and Washington’s horse that will be known to have conducted the entire Revolution. The film was emphasizing that there is a certain narrative that was created about the independence of the colonies to try and make it sound more patriotic and united against England. This was a major theme in the movie shown through the exaggerations and comedy making it clear that the Founding Fathers were not divine leaders that they are often made out to be. 

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One Comment

  1. Delaney Demaret Delaney Demaret

    This is a slightly less serious observation, but did everyone really hate New Jersey that much at the time? Hamilton makes several jokes about New Jersey as well, and does the poking fun of it describe a larger context of what things were like in the state?

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