Journal Entry: Tue Nov 29, 2016, 3:26 PM
(Also known as: How Rowling really screwed things up.)
Disclaimer: The Harry Potter Universe is entirely JK Rowling's creation. I love the world she has created, and I am interested in seeing her flesh it out more, BUT, of all the things Rowling is, she is not an American. I firmly believe non Americans are perfectly capable of doing their research and coming up with a well rounded view of what post-Revolution America looks like.
What Rowling came up with... doesn't make any sense. She either didn't do her research, or she assumes America today is the same as America 1790.
So with no further ado, my take on the history of wizards in America.
In the movie our heroes, Newt Scimander and Porpentina (Tina) Goldstein, discuss (for the benefit of the audience) Rappaport's Law, a 1790 (remember this date, it's important) law passed by MACUSA that forbids the marrying, taking of friends, and interacting with Muggles outside of absolutely necessary. But, because of early problems with Scourers instigating the American Witch Trials, very few wizarding families bothered to immigrate to the New World, setting up a dynamic that most wizards in the newly minted USA are born of Muggle parents.
Here's the problem: 1790 America is not 2016 America. There was no social media, no 40 second sound bytes and certainly no video games. The American Revolution had only ended 9 years before, everyone knew someone who had participated in the war. Newspapers were the main means of the communication of the day, and literacy was very high in the America, as was church membership, and in those days, long before the 1954 Johnson Amendment* ministers at their pulpits would have discussed in their services the importance of politics and it's place in reference to Scripture. In 1787 the Federalist Papers, the written arguments for an against what became the first 10 amendments to the US Constitution (a.k.a, the Bill of Rights) were published in newspapers, then published in book form, in 1788. They weren't just read by a few wealthy landowners, everyone of the day found a way to get their hands on a copy, and those that couldn't read, went to taverns and town meetings where those who could read would read them aloud so that all could hear. 1790 America was a very different political creature, and politics would have been discussed over months, if you talked about it at Easter, you were likely still discussing it during the harvest. So Rowling is suggesting that America is full of wizards born and raised in a VERY politically aware environment, where the First Amendment (which covers freedom of speech, press, religion, government redress, and most importantly for this analysis, association) the Amendments came before Congress in 1789 and were ratified in 1791. Note the date.
Consider then, what a bunch of muggle born wizards are going to think when, to cover a breech of the 'Masquerade'** MACUSA president Emily Rappaport passes her law. I have to believe in a country where age eleven is when students can attend the school of wizarding, and that would be 2 to 3 years after most youngsters started their apprenticeships, that the American wizards didn't just lay down and say 'okay, we'll let you take our God given rights from us'.
If anything, there should have been an outright revolt from the wizarding community and accusations of Rappaport trying to tie the American wizards more tightly to the UK.
*succeeding where the British Empire failed and made discussing politics at the pulpit punishable by causing houses of worship to lose their charitable organization status
**way to rip off White Wolf's 'Vampire: The Masquerade' Rowling