Tomorrow we celebrate a declaration of severed ties between a sovereign King and the lawful subjects of that King, a document that dissolves all political allegiance and makes plain the intent of these ex subjects to go their own way. Here is the meat and potatoes section of the DOI:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.
The common sense of the subject, articulated in terms so plain, so obvious, and rudimentary to any thinking person that it commands assent, here is Jefferson at his best. The people cede power to the government to govern, but with certain conditions, those being that the ruling body be beneficial and not destructive to it’s citizens.
When one endeavors even a cursory study of the American Revolution it becomes obvious that it took not just one miracle, but many, to make it happen. It is chilling when one considers all the events, moments when the patriot cause teetered on the brink of disaster, only to be resurrected by the most unlikely accidents or coincidences by the most unlikely of ordinary men:
Hancock and Adams not captured at Lexington.
John Stark, a Colonel of the New Hampshire regiment , without orders, fortifies an isolated beach at Bunker Hill, realizing that the entire American Army could be flanked from this position, a battle ensues on that beach and NH sharp shooters hold their position defeating the greatest army in the world, and causing it to perform a frontal assault on the main body, causing grievous casualties.
Washington, acquiescing to his generals who talk him out of attacking Boston in 1776, he later learns after they abandon the town, that the British defenses there were sufficient enough to have wiped out his entire army.
Washington’s army is trapped on the Brooklyn Heights , no way out, Lord Howe, knowing that the Americans could not escape, rests his men for the decisive battle to end the war in the morning. A mysterious fog, not seen in that area in memory, envelopes the area allowing Washington to move his troops to Manhattan undetected. Howe attacks in the morning but no American Army is there to be defeated.
General Benedict Arnold disobeys a direct order and saves the day at Saratoga, France would certainly have remained neutral in things had gone the other way.
The caprices of weather assure American Victory at Yorktown, a storm prevented a rescue fleet from sailing out of New York harbor, and another storm the prevented the escape of the British across the York River, how different would the outcome of the revolution have been if the British escaped?
Even personalities played a major roll, from the feuding British commanders that did everything in their power to not cooperate and inhibit the other’s success, to Washington himself surviving numerous Congressional moves to have him removed, replaced by General Gates.
Considering how dis organized, impoverished, outmanned, out generaled, out supplied, and under trained The American fighting force was, going up against not only the richest, considered the finest army in the world who could buy mercenaries, who ruled the oceans and could bottle up our harbors, who could move whole armies at will by sail, it really makes no sense how things ended up the way they did.
Tomorrow is a day of flag waving, of drinking some good Kentucky bourbon, barbequing, and maybe a little reflection on how lucky we are. No doubt most people have a love of their mother land, but this post is particular to America since, well, it is July 4th.
I’ll wrap this up with some Lee Greenwood, he speaks for me: