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Role Of Espionage In American History

2522 words - 10 pages

Role of Espionage in American History

Knowledge is power. It is as simple as that. Espionage is the secret gathering of information, often referred to as "intelligence". Intelligence refers to the processed information needed to make any decision. This could be used for business, military, economic, or political decisions. More often than not, this term refers to domestic or foreign policy of a country. Espionage is illegal in all countries, yet all countries have some form of espionage organization. The first espionage act was recorded 2500 years ago. The first book on espionage, The Art of War was written by a Chinese emperor/general Sun Tzu in about 500 BC. There is another type of espionage, counter-espionage. This is the collection of information of any espionage (Ransom 1).

American espionage is particularly important. It has got us where we are today. Without it, we wouldn’t have got passed the Revolutionary War, and our independence. From the Revolutionary War to the highly technical world of today, espionage in America has always played a role in shaping American history.

The Revolutionary War was the war for American independence.

The intelligence gathering ability of the Americans was not very good.

Foley, the author of the book Famous American Spies, says that the Americans were very disorganized. They were not very secret either. They held open meetings in public taverns for the community to see. They relied mainly on the infiltration of enemy lines and by word of mouth (Foley 17-18).

The most famous tavern was the Green Dragon tavern. Foley mentions that some of the members were Sam and John Adams, John Hancock, James Otis, Dr. James Warren, Ben Churchill, and Paul Revere. Paul Revere was probably the most important pre-Revolutionary spy. Revere participated in the Boston Tea Party raid, along side John Hancock and John Adams. After this, Revere became a messenger from town to town delivering intelligence. His usual ride was a ten-day trek from Philadelphia to Boston. His greatest accomplishment is his famous “Midnight Ride.” His trip was not all on horseback though. Before he could start his ride, Revere had to cross the Charles River. He had to be deathly quiet, so as not to alert the British ship ever so close. When he reached shore, he rode to his girlfriend’s house, and she threw him a warm, freshly sewn coat. Then he began his ride to Lexington, awaking everyone in his path to alert the coming of British forces. For the early Revolutionary War this action was critical. If not for Paul Revere, there would be no Battle of Lexington, and the war would have began somewhere else, if ever (Foley 15-30)

Nathan Hale is also another Revolutionary War spy. Hale became a martyr to the war cause. Hale was the captain in the colonial army. Word was sent from George Washington to Hale’s commander expressing his need for intelligence. No one...

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