Monday, January 17, 2005

Email to Iraq Friend

My letter to my friend describing how the American Experience was for my own family and in my own view, basically to show the evolution of women in a democracy.

I just got back from my daughters and my mind kept wondering about this letter I wanted to write, mostly as a result of your letter.
I thought I would tell you the history of my own family as it relates to the settlement of this country and the founding of America.
As I mentioned before I did a study of my families genealogy and was able to go back to around year 1200. All of my ancestors who left Europe to come here were persecuted for religious beliefs in what is now Northern France and on up in to German Area, which was then Prussia. They were persecuted for being Protestants, which is a derivative of protest, they were protestors of the Catholic religion which was most prevalent in Europe at the time.
They heard of America and that you could have freedom of religion there, mostly because of William Penn and the colonies he was creating in Pennsylvania. He believed in these freedoms and sought to secure a place for these protestors here.
In order for most of my ancestors, and we do not know exact situations in most cases, but we do know even most of the ships they came across in, in order to come here many had to sell themselves as indentured servants, from a period of 6 years and up. They were little more than slaves. If a family came across as indentured, and the father died, the son had to then take his place as a servant and on down.
Fortunately there were German colonies already established here to help them in some ways. Many lost memebers of families due to horrible crossing conditions, and all of their possessions. In time they were able to work out their indentured status and were given tracts of land, or purchased them and began to spread out into Penna. and to conquer the wilderness.
There were incidents of Indian attacks and scalpings in the early settlers.
Some had trades when they came and others were farmers. Most of them prospered and their families grew and spread even further. This goes on to today, we all seem to have the spirit of going to new lands as I did myself when I was 17 and with my Mother moved across this country to a new area, California and settled here.
At the beginning my ancestors started to come in 1727 and continued until the early 1800's. When they stepped off the ship all of the men were taken to a courthouse and there had to swear allegiance to King George of England. So because many of these people of great religious faith, preachers and such, they took this oath very seriously so when the Revolutionary War started many refused to fight the king they had sworn allegiance to.
At the beginning and for many years after the only citizens who could vote were men with property and the women and children were considered chattel to be "owned" and controlled by the men. After some years the women said, "we have worked just as hard for this country and we are just as important, and so it says in our Declaration of Independence "All men are created equal" and so women wanted the vote." They found that although alone they had no power, that if they joined together they had huge powers and they began to exercise that power and continue to do so.
Then my generation came along and women were finally freed from the home due to the second World War, and by the time the 60's came aound with the Vietnam War and all women rose again in the form of women liberation and began a new movement.. As a result of that we were brought nearly equal with men, but not quite, always almost but not quite.
A side effect of that movement was that men were suddenly confused about their place and we (women) delighted in it until it wore off. Men here still are unsure of their place and are caught in this movement and we will not stop until they realize we are fully equal in every way.
And there you have it, women in the US have had a great deal to do with the way the country became what it is. However we have never been able to lead men to peace, they seem uncomfortable if something is not stewing in some pot somewhere in the world and they can get their guns to fix it.
So to end this letter I will say that I am glad that we liberated your country, if it can stick, and glad also about Afganistan especially for the women. Just mad we could not have planned better and not made so many crucial mistakes.