Tag Archives: Revolutionary War

Happy Independence Day 2017!

The Stars and Stripes
The Stars and Stripes

The Declaration of Independence

Here’s the complete text of the Declaration of Independence here.

And now let’s take a look at an article at The Federalist which talks about what the Declaration of Independence tells us about the character of America.

It says:

The Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson famously wrote, was “intended to be an expression of the American mind.” Although not intended as such, it was also an expression of the American character. Woven throughout the text are insights into the minds and virtues of those Lincoln called the “once hardy, brave, and patriotic, but now lamented and departed race of ancestors” who fought for the independence we still enjoy.

This aspect of the Declaration of Independence receives scant attention from scholars and citizens, yet it must be understood. The theory of government elaborated in that text presupposes the existence of citizens who know how to govern themselves and are willing to assert their rights. The American character is the unstated premise of the argument, without which the theory, though still true, doesn’t work in practice.

So, what’s the American character?

What sets us Americans apart is that we do not merely declare for liberty. We staunchly stand for it. To be an American is not only to know that you are born free, it is to have the courage to defend your freedom. This admirable aspect of the American character is evident in the fifth grievance the Declaration levels against the king.

It reads: “He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing, with manly firmness, his invasions on the rights of the people.” The king acted as monarchs are wont to do. Our forefathers, although they were subjects, did not take his abuses passively. They resisted—with manly firmness.

Today, King George III is long gone. Our representative houses are no longer dissolved at will (although they have unconstitutionally been declared to be in recess). Our rights, however, are still encroached upon, whether by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or the Environmental Protection Agency. Thankfully, courageous Americans still push back, like the Green family, who challenged Obamacare’s abortifacient mandate, or the Sacketts, who fought the EPA’s effective seizure of their property.

No charter of liberties or Constitution—not even one handed down by God himself—could ever, on its own, protect the rights of the people. James Madison, the father of our own Constitution, was not so foolish as to place his trust in mere “parchment barriers against the encroaching spirit of power.”

In Federalist No. 57, Madison takes up the question of “what is to restrain the House of Representatives from making legal discriminations in favor of themselves and a particular class of the society?” His answer: “the genius of the whole system; the nature of just and constitutional laws; and above all, the vigilant and manly spirit which actuates the people of America—a spirit which nourishes freedom, and in return is nourished by it.”

The 56 men who signed our Declaration of Independence set the example for their fellow countrymen and for future generations. They did not simply proclaim the universal rights of man. They also pledged “to each other, our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.” And they meant it. Twelve served as combat commanders during the Revolutionary War. Five were captured and imprisoned by the British. Seventeen lost part of their fortunes.

America is not a country for servile men and women. We not only have a right to be free, but a duty to be free. For “when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.” Free as we are, we have no liberty to choose despotism—even if it is sugarcoated, as it is today, with material comfort and license.

[…]Two centuries later, the American character endures, battered and bruised though it may be. It has been corroded by the Progressive faith in government, the sixties ethos of “if it feels good, do it,” and the mindlessness and vulgarity of pop culture. But we can still readily discern among many Americans the habits of mind and the virtues of a free people. For this, we should be grateful on this Fourth of July.

To love liberty means to be willing to stand up for liberty, and that can mean something as simple as 1) not voting for bigger government just because they are handing out money to you and 2) not voting for bigger government because they are letting you do immoral things.

Standing up for liberty means standing up for your own personal responsibility. It means looking primarily to yourself for earning a living. It means choosing to behave morally so that you don’t create a situation where you need the government to bail you out of your own immoral decisions with someone else’s money.

Happy Independence Day 2016!

The Stars and Stripes
The Stars and Stripes

The Declaration of Independence

Here’s the complete text of the Declaration of Independence here.

And now let’s take a look at an article at The Federalist which talks about what the Declaration of Independence tells us about the character of America.

It says:

The Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson famously wrote, was “intended to be an expression of the American mind.” Although not intended as such, it was also an expression of the American character. Woven throughout the text are insights into the minds and virtues of those Lincoln called the “once hardy, brave, and patriotic, but now lamented and departed race of ancestors” who fought for the independence we still enjoy.

This aspect of the Declaration of Independence receives scant attention from scholars and citizens, yet it must be understood. The theory of government elaborated in that text presupposes the existence of citizens who know how to govern themselves and are willing to assert their rights. The American character is the unstated premise of the argument, without which the theory, though still true, doesn’t work in practice.

So, what’s the American character?

What sets us Americans apart is that we do not merely declare for liberty. We staunchly stand for it. To be an American is not only to know that you are born free, it is to have the courage to defend your freedom. This admirable aspect of the American character is evident in the fifth grievance the Declaration levels against the king.

It reads: “He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing, with manly firmness, his invasions on the rights of the people.” The king acted as monarchs are wont to do. Our forefathers, although they were subjects, did not take his abuses passively. They resisted—with manly firmness.

Today, King George III is long gone. Our representative houses are no longer dissolved at will (although they have unconstitutionally been declared to be in recess). Our rights, however, are still encroached upon, whether by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or the Environmental Protection Agency. Thankfully, courageous Americans still push back, like the Green family, who challenged Obamacare’s abortifacient mandate, or the Sacketts, who fought the EPA’s effective seizure of their property.

No charter of liberties or Constitution—not even one handed down by God himself—could ever, on its own, protect the rights of the people. James Madison, the father of our own Constitution, was not so foolish as to place his trust in mere “parchment barriers against the encroaching spirit of power.”

In Federalist No. 57, Madison takes up the question of “what is to restrain the House of Representatives from making legal discriminations in favor of themselves and a particular class of the society?” His answer: “the genius of the whole system; the nature of just and constitutional laws; and above all, the vigilant and manly spirit which actuates the people of America—a spirit which nourishes freedom, and in return is nourished by it.”

The 56 men who signed our Declaration of Independence set the example for their fellow countrymen and for future generations. They did not simply proclaim the universal rights of man. They also pledged “to each other, our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.” And they meant it. Twelve served as combat commanders during the Revolutionary War. Five were captured and imprisoned by the British. Seventeen lost part of their fortunes.

America is not a country for servile men and women. We not only have a right to be free, but a duty to be free. For “when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.” Free as we are, we have no liberty to choose despotism—even if it is sugarcoated, as it is today, with material comfort and license.

[…]Two centuries later, the American character endures, battered and bruised though it may be. It has been corroded by the Progressive faith in government, the sixties ethos of “if it feels good, do it,” and the mindlessness and vulgarity of pop culture. But we can still readily discern among many Americans the habits of mind and the virtues of a free people. For this, we should be grateful on this Fourth of July.

To love liberty means to be willing to stand up for liberty, and that can mean something as simple as 1) not voting for bigger government just because they are handing out money to you and 2) not voting for bigger government because they are letting you do immoral things.

Standing up for liberty means standing up for your own personal responsibility. It means looking primarily to yourself for earning a living. It means choosing to behave morally so that you don’t create a situation where you need the government to bail you out of your own immoral decisions with someone else’s money.

Happy Independence Day 2015!

The Stars and Stripes
The Stars and Stripes

The Declaration of Independence

Here’s the complete text of the Declaration of Independence here.

And now let’s take a look at an article at The Federalist which talks about what the Declaration of Independence tells us about the character of America.

It says:

The Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson famously wrote, was “intended to be an expression of the American mind.” Although not intended as such, it was also an expression of the American character. Woven throughout the text are insights into the minds and virtues of those Lincoln called the “once hardy, brave, and patriotic, but now lamented and departed race of ancestors” who fought for the independence we still enjoy.

This aspect of the Declaration of Independence receives scant attention from scholars and citizens, yet it must be understood. The theory of government elaborated in that text presupposes the existence of citizens who know how to govern themselves and are willing to assert their rights. The American character is the unstated premise of the argument, without which the theory, though still true, doesn’t work in practice.

So, what’s the American character?

What sets us Americans apart is that we do not merely declare for liberty. We staunchly stand for it. To be an American is not only to know that you are born free, it is to have the courage to defend your freedom. This admirable aspect of the American character is evident in the fifth grievance the Declaration levels against the king.

It reads: “He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing, with manly firmness, his invasions on the rights of the people.” The king acted as monarchs are wont to do. Our forefathers, although they were subjects, did not take his abuses passively. They resisted—with manly firmness.

Today, King George III is long gone. Our representative houses are no longer dissolved at will (although they have unconstitutionally been declared to be in recess). Our rights, however, are still encroached upon, whether by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or the Environmental Protection Agency. Thankfully, courageous Americans still push back, like the Green family, who challenged Obamacare’s abortifacient mandate, or the Sacketts, who fought the EPA’s effective seizure of their property.

No charter of liberties or Constitution—not even one handed down by God himself—could ever, on its own, protect the rights of the people. James Madison, the father of our own Constitution, was not so foolish as to place his trust in mere “parchment barriers against the encroaching spirit of power.”

In Federalist No. 57, Madison takes up the question of “what is to restrain the House of Representatives from making legal discriminations in favor of themselves and a particular class of the society?” His answer: “the genius of the whole system; the nature of just and constitutional laws; and above all, the vigilant and manly spirit which actuates the people of America—a spirit which nourishes freedom, and in return is nourished by it.”

The 56 men who signed our Declaration of Independence set the example for their fellow countrymen and for future generations. They did not simply proclaim the universal rights of man. They also pledged “to each other, our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.” And they meant it. Twelve served as combat commanders during the Revolutionary War. Five were captured and imprisoned by the British. Seventeen lost part of their fortunes.

America is not a country for servile men and women. We not only have a right to be free, but a duty to be free. For “when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.” Free as we are, we have no liberty to choose despotism—even if it is sugarcoated, as it is today, with material comfort and license.

[…]Two centuries later, the American character endures, battered and bruised though it may be. It has been corroded by the Progressive faith in government, the sixties ethos of “if it feels good, do it,” and the mindlessness and vulgarity of pop culture. But we can still readily discern among many Americans the habits of mind and the virtues of a free people. For this, we should be grateful on this Fourth of July.

To love liberty means to be willing to stand up for liberty, and that can mean something as simple as 1) not voting for bigger government just because they are handing out money to you and 2) not voting for bigger government because they are letting you do immoral things.

Standing up for liberty means standing up for your own personal responsibility. It means looking primarily to yourself for earning a living. It means choosing to behave morally so that you don’t create a situation where you need the government to bail you out of your own immoral decisions with someone else’s money.

Friday night movie: The Crossing (2000)

Here’s tonight’s movie:

IMDB mean rating: [7.5/10]

IMDB median rating: [8/10]

Description:

The drama is about George Washington crossing the Delaware River and the Battle of Trenton during the American Revolutionary War. The film opens with the retreat of the Continental Army across New Jersey after repeated losses and defeats during the campaign of 1776.

After the army narrowly escapes across the river to the Pennsylvania shore, Washington, realizing that something must be done or the Revolution will collapse, conceives a plan to cross the river and conduct a surprise attack on the Hessian garrison at Trenton.

Despite their own fatigue and the winter weather, Washington manages to lift his weary soldiers’ spirits, allowing the army to cross the river on Christmas night. The crossing is done in one night, allowing the troops to attack Trenton at eight o’ clock on December 26, 1776.

If anyone reading this blog wants to understand the true character of America, a very good thing to do is to read the book “1776” by David McCullough. It covers all of the events leading up to the crucial turning point of the American Revolution: the Battle of Trenton on December 26, 1776. I really recommend the audio version of the book. David McCullough also wrote the famous biography of John Adams which was shown on HBO, then turned into a DVD series.

Here’s a quick history of the American Revolution preceding the Battle of Trenton:

September 1774: Delegates from each colony met in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in order to form the First Continental Congress. It was designed to discuss colonial grievances.

April 1775: Battles of Lexington and Concord: An organized Massachusetts militia (“Minutemen”) defended colonial munitions and forced British regulars to retreat back to Boston. Mother England was stunned.

May 1775: The Second Continental Congress convened in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

June 1775: The Continental Congress appointed George Washington as commander-in-chief of its newly established Continental Army. Soon after, British troops achieved victory at the Battle of Bunker (Breed’s) Hill but suffered severe casualties during three assaults against the determined colonial troops.

March 1776: Washington commanded the American siege that eventually forced the British to evacuate Boston. The British departed by sea for Halifax.

April 1776: The Continental Army left Boston and moved south to take a defensive position in New York anticipating a British landing. Washington had hoped to keep the British from occupying this locale. New York was a familiar base of operations from the French and Indian War. The colony of New York also had a strong Loyalist population. Additionally, the force which occupied New York would be centrally located and therefore able to keep New England cut off from the south.

July 1776: The Declaration of Independence, adopted by the Second Continental Congress, officially severed American ties to Great Britain.

Summer of 1776: Though the American were successful at making a worthy stand at Lexington and Concord as well as in Boston, they soon discovered that this was only the beginning as 30,000 British troops (including their Hessians allies) arrived in New York harbor. The next few months were filled with disastrous defeats and demoralizing retreats.

August 27-30 1776: The British win the Battle of Long Island (Battle of Brooklyn)

September 15, 1776: The British occupy New York City

September 16, 1776: The British win the Battle of Harlem Heights

October 28, 1776: The American army retreats at the Battle of White Plains

November 16, 1776: The British capture Fort Washington, NY

November 20, 1776: Fort Lee, NJ falls to the British

December 1, 1776: Washington’s troops retreated past New Brunswick, New Jersey and headed toward Princeton with the British following closely behind.

December 7-8, 1776: Washington’s army crossed into Pennsylvania from Trenton. They were deployed to guard the River for a 25 miles stretch. All boats remained with Washington’s army, making it impossible for the British to follow.

December 9, 1776: “All shops ordered to be shut; the militia to march into the Jerseys; all in hurry and confusion; news that General Howe is on his march….” Washington ordered, “Spare no pains or expense to get intelligence about the enemy’s motions and intentions.”

December 12, 1776: The Continental Congress abandons Philadelphia as they fear the British approaching.

December 13, 1776: Washington received the news that General Charles Lee was taken prisoner by the British at White’s Tavern in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. Lee’s troops were slowly marching to meet Washington when Lee made a personal side trip which caused his capture. With the loss of Lee, some assumed that America would be forced into complete surrender as he was considered a highly valuable soldier.

[British commander] Howe announced that his campaigning season was over and he intended to winter in New York. Cornwallis intended to return to England for the winter, and, like Howe, he departed from the troops.

December 14, 1776: Col. Johann Rall’s (known as the Hessian Lion) regiment was left in Trenton as one of a loosely connected string of outposts which was to guard the king’s subjects in New Jersey and keep watch against an American raid. 1500 troops were stationed at this location while the bulk of the British army wintered in New York.

December 19, 1776: “The American Crisis” was published in Philadelphia. Thomas Paine wrote… These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it NOW deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.

This essay rekindled the American people’s desire for independence and renewed the spirit of the troops.

December 20-22, 1776: Taking Lee’s place as commander, General John Sullivan delivered Lee’s remaining troops to Washington in Pennsylvania.

December 21, 1776: The Hessians thought little of the Americans, but they thought even less of their strategic position in Trenton. Thought criticized for not constructing defensive works, Rall felt Trenton was next to impossible to defend. He stated his concerns about his position as well as his troops fatigue to his British Commanders.

Rall’s regiment remained alert and concerned as to their tenuous position. They intended not to remain in Trenton but rather wait for the Delaware River to freeze allowing the Hessian troops to march across the frozen river and directly toward Philadelphia.

As you can see from the timeline, Washington has been losing battle after battle leading up to Christmas of 1776. His troops are tired, ill-equipped, sick and they must be released at the beginning of 1777 when their contract is up. Many have deserted already. What will George Washington do? Is this the end of the American Revolution? Watch the movie, and find out. Then read David McCullough’s book!

Happy Friday!

Friday night movie: The Crossing (2000)

Here’s tonight’s movie:

IMDB mean rating: [7.7/10]

IMDB median rating: [8/10]

Description:

The drama is about George Washington crossing the Delaware River and the Battle of Trenton during the American Revolutionary War. The film opens with the retreat of the Continental Army across New Jersey after repeated losses and defeats during the campaign of 1776.

After the army narrowly escapes across the river to the Pennsylvania shore, Washington, realizing that something must be done or the Revolution will collapse, conceives a plan to cross the river and conduct a surprise attack on the Hessian garrison at Trenton.

Despite their own fatigue and the winter weather, Washington manages to lift his weary soldiers’ spirits, allowing the army to cross the river on Christmas night. The crossing is done in one night, allowing the troops to attack Trenton at eight o’ clock on December 26, 1776.

I own the DVD of this movie.

If anyone reading this blog wants to understand the true character of America, a very good thing to do is to read the book “1776” by David McCullough. It covers all of the events leading up to the crucial turning point of the American Revolution: the Battle of Trenton on December 26, 1776. I really recommend the audio version of the book. David McCullough also wrote the famous biography of John Adams which was shown on HBO, then turned into a DVD series.

Here’s a quick history of the American Revolution preceding the Battle of Trenton:

September 1774: Delegates from each colony met in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in order to form the First Continental Congress. It was designed to discuss colonial grievances.

April 1775: Battles of Lexington and Concord: An organized Massachusetts militia (“Minutemen”) defended colonial munitions and forced British regulars to retreat back to Boston. Mother England was stunned.

May 1775: The Second Continental Congress convened in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

June 1775: The Continental Congress appointed George Washington as commander-in-chief of its newly established Continental Army. Soon after, British troops achieved victory at the Battle of Bunker (Breed’s) Hill but suffered severe casualties during three assaults against the determined colonial troops.

March 1776: Washington commanded the American siege that eventually forced the British to evacuate Boston. The British departed by sea for Halifax.

April 1776: The Continental Army left Boston and moved south to take a defensive position in New York anticipating a British landing. Washington had hoped to keep the British from occupying this locale. New York was a familiar base of operations from the French and Indian War. The colony of New York also had a strong Loyalist population. Additionally, the force which occupied New York would be centrally located and therefore able to keep New England cut off from the south.

July 1776: The Declaration of Independence, adopted by the Second Continental Congress, officially severed American ties to Great Britain.

Summer of 1776: Though the American were successful at making a worthy stand at Lexington and Concord as well as in Boston, they soon discovered that this was only the beginning as 30,000 British troops (including their Hessians allies) arrived in New York harbor. The next few months were filled with disastrous defeats and demoralizing retreats.

August 27-30 1776: The British win the Battle of Long Island (Battle of Brooklyn)

September 15, 1776: The British occupy New York City

September 16, 1776: The British win the Battle of Harlem Heights

October 28, 1776: The American army retreats at the Battle of White Plains

November 16, 1776: The British capture Fort Washington, NY

November 20, 1776: Fort Lee, NJ falls to the British

December 1, 1776: Washington’s troops retreated past New Brunswick, New Jersey and headed toward Princeton with the British following closely behind.

December 7-8, 1776: Washington’s army crossed into Pennsylvania from Trenton. They were deployed to guard the River for a 25 miles stretch. All boats remained with Washington’s army, making it impossible for the British to follow.

December 9, 1776: “All shops ordered to be shut; the militia to march into the Jerseys; all in hurry and confusion; news that General Howe is on his march….” Washington ordered, “Spare no pains or expense to get intelligence about the enemy’s motions and intentions.”

December 12, 1776: The Continental Congress abandons Philadelphia as they fear the British approaching.

December 13, 1776: Washington received the news that General Charles Lee was taken prisoner by the British at White’s Tavern in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. Lee’s troops were slowly marching to meet Washington when Lee made a personal side trip which caused his capture. With the loss of Lee, some assumed that America would be forced into complete surrender as he was considered a highly valuable soldier.

[British commander] Howe announced that his campaigning season was over and he intended to winter in New York. Cornwallis intended to return to England for the winter, and, like Howe, he departed from the troops.

December 14, 1776: Col. Johann Rall’s (known as the Hessian Lion) regiment was left in Trenton as one of a loosely connected string of outposts which was to guard the king’s subjects in New Jersey and keep watch against an American raid. 1500 troops were stationed at this location while the bulk of the British army wintered in New York.

December 19, 1776: “The American Crisis” was published in Philadelphia. Thomas Paine wrote… These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it NOW deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.

This essay rekindled the American people’s desire for independence and renewed the spirit of the troops.

December 20-22, 1776: Taking Lee’s place as commander, General John Sullivan delivered Lee’s remaining troops to Washington in Pennsylvania.

December 21, 1776: The Hessians thought little of the Americans, but they thought even less of their strategic position in Trenton. Thought criticized for not constructing defensive works, Rall felt Trenton was next to impossible to defend. He stated his concerns about his position as well as his troops fatigue to his British Commanders.

Rall’s regiment remained alert and concerned as to their tenuous position. They intended not to remain in Trenton but rather wait for the Delaware River to freeze allowing the Hessian troops to march across the frozen river and directly toward Philadelphia.

As you can see from the timeline, Washington has been losing battle after battle leading up to Christmas of 1776. His troops are tired, ill-equipped, sick and they must be released at the beginning of 1777 when their contract is up. Many have deserted already. What will George Washington do? Is this the end of the American Revolution? Watch the movie, and find out. Then read David McCullough’s book!

Happy Friday!

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