Inthe late 1850s, Colonial America had two major opposing sides. On oneside were the patriots who advocated for an independent America andunification of the 13 colonies. On the other hand were the loyalistswho supported the colonial crown government’s continued control ofthe colonies. The colonies were not represented in the Britishparliament though they were being taxed. One of the people to takesides in this debate that resulted in the American civil war(1861-1865) was young man named Oliver Green who played an importantrole as a patriot.
Ollie,as he was popularly known to his family and friends was born toEnglish parents who had moved to America before Ollie learned totalk. They settled in Detroit where Ollie’s dad, Clark Green,established a plantation along the Detroit River that was among themany that came to be known as ribbon plantations. Green’s youngfamily was small and Ollie was the second born. The first born sonWayne, was only three when they established the farm. As wastradition that time, the two sons learned basic education through aprivate tutor name Smith (Masters 2005). Smith was very instrumentalin guiding the life of Ollie as he taught him the basics of businessand the rules of taxation.
WhenWayne attained the age of 15, he was sent to a boarding school inEngland to study medicine. Ollie was not at all convinced that suchwas his life. An avid fisher who spent his days by the river bedfishing and making papyrus rafts would not imagine leaving theplantation life for an education in England. He had grown on the farmand the river was part of him. Subsequently, aged 17 he bought hisfirst wooden boat which he used too row along the river as a hobby.At eighteen years, he was brave enough to row the Detroit River toBuffalo and back. He soon took to transporting parcels for tradersacross the two towns before venturing full swing into a merchant.
Olliewas soon aware of the politics surrounding the debate of Americanindependence. Having been literally brought up in the Americas, hedid not identify with England at all. His little education was enoughto allow him to read widely in is long boat trips about the politicsof independence. He was aware of the calls for no taxation withoutrepresentation (Masters 2005). He was acutely aware of the effect onheavy taxation on his business yet the colonies were not representedin the English parliament where the laws were made. As such, Olliewas easily convinced to join the patriots’ cause calling forunification and independence of the 13 colonies. During the Americancivil war, he played his role by transporting patriot soldiers andweapons and also popularizing the call for independence through wordof mouth.
Itis such people such as Ollie that made the little difference. WhileAmericans have heaped praise on the leaders on the independencemovement and the so called founding fathers, little known men such asOllie played their part. They deserve mention in the American historybooks for their selfless contribution towards founding of the USA.
Masters,N. (2005). Extraordinarypatriots of the United States of America: colonial times to
pre-civilwar.New York: Scholastic Library Publishing.