Unfortunately for the If your path demands you walk through hell walk as if you own the place shirt British, these brutal tactics handed the Americans a priceless propaganda opportunity, which they exploited relentlessly. The committee’s report, which included some wrenching first-person testimonies, “carried significant political and moral weight with audiences both at home and abroad,” Hoock states. It was part of the revolutionaries’ consistent and successful strategy to depict the British as barbarous oppressors who employed excessive violence, while General George Washington and his troops scrupulously observed the accepted 18th -century rules of civilized warfare. Washington comes across in Hoock’s balanced, unvarnished portrait as morally principled (with significant blind spots) and ruthlessly pragmatic.
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Any Continental soldier caught looting was flogged, and Washington persistently begged Congress to maximize this deterrent by raising the number of lashes he was permitted to administer. He insisted that Americans treat their prisoners of war humanely, and generally, the If your path demands you walk through hell walk as if you own the place shirt did, but apparently he did not consider Britain’s Iroquois allies human beings. Scorched-earth tactics employed against Native Americans raised hardly an eyebrow, but when the increasingly desperate British inflicted them on the white South, Hoock writes, it “alienated a war-weary population while reminding them of the purpose of their continued struggle.