Battle between elites fought by the unrepresented

I’m not used to thinking of the Revolutionary War as a battle between elites. Rather it was a battle for liberty, a battle between us Americans and the British who were taxing us without representation. The Boston Tea Party and all that. Thomas Paine’s radical call to arms.

But when you think of it, becoming our own country divorced from Britain did not lead to representation. At least not among slaves, indentured servants, Native Americans, women, and men without property. Only men with property could vote and hold office. They were the ones that made up the Continental Congress. They were the ones that signed the Declaration of Independence. They were the ones that passed the Constitution. They were the ones the Constitution was written for.

No, the Revolutionary War was quite possibly just a war between American elites and British elites. Who was going to have wealth and power in the colonies? The American elites or the British elites?

Those invisible to the Declaration and the Constitution fought the war to defend the interests of the former, though their support was not unanimous by any means. Conscripted by the British earlier to fight their battles, the common man was then conscripted to fight against the British.

History has a sick sense of humor. War continues to be planned and profited by elites and carried out on the backs of those who really have nothing to gain and everything to lose.