Ross’ History Week Series-Lesson 1: The Revolution Begins
I did some deep thinking this past weekend. It probably didn’t help that I listened to a couple of thought-provoking podcasts but none the less I got to thinking. One thing that I really thought about was history. I thought about American history, World history, really anything to do with the subject of, you guessed it, history.
Why does this matter to you? Well, in the midst of my deep thinking I couldn’t help but notice that there are some crazy similarities between what has happened in the world and what is currently going on. Now, this may just be me totally overthinking things but I do have this weird feeling that people don’t care as much about history as they should.
As you have probably guessed, by my opening rant, I am a believer in the phrase, “Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” So, this week in honor of that lovely phrase I thought we all could use a bit of a refresher on some of history’s most significant events. Here’s lesson number one.
The American Revolution Officially Begins Today
Oddly enough, the first thing we will look at this week just so happens to have occurred today, April 19. The American Revolution began on April 19, 1775, at the Battle of Lexington. Essentially, British troops were sent to Lexington Massachusetts to acquire weapons that American Colonists had stockpiled there. What ended up taking place, however, kick-started the war for American independence.
Now, a lot of different things occurred before the Battle of Lexington that pushed the American Colonies towards a revolution. After the French and Indian War, the British Empire was in a lot of debt. To relieve some of that debt the British government decided to pass different tax acts that directly affected the American Colonists. You may remember these as the Stamp Act, the Townsend Act, and the Tea Act. All of these were ways that the British Empire used to remind colonists that even though the crown was thousands of miles away, it still was in control.
A few more significant events took place like the Boston Massacre in 1770 and, of course, the Boston Tea Party in 1773. Each event getting a response from not only the British government but the American Colonists as well. One side wanted to keep tightening the leash and the other wanted it ripped off completely. Eventually, it all comes to a head.
Case in point the morning of April 19, 1775. Somewhere between all these significant events on the timeline of the Revolution, Colonists decided that it may be a good idea to form small militias to defend themselves against British troops. Especially in Massachusetts. Clearly, news of this did not go over very well with the British Crown. So, it was ordered that British troops were to take control of the colonists’ weapons and arrest different Colonial leaders.
Somehow colonists heard the news of the British plan and this leads to Paul Revere’s famous midnight ride. He was able to warn different militias that the Red Coats, not British, were coming. This gave the men at Lexington enough time to scramble together before the British arrived at Lexington.
700 British troops eventually arrived around five in the morning. They were met by the Colonial militia but not a fight. Not right away at least. British Officer, John Pitcairn, had ordered the militia to stand down and disperse. At first, the orders were followed. There were only 77 Colonial militiamen present so it was probably the right move. However, a shot was fired. To this day no one knows for sure if it was a Colonial soldier or British who fired the “Shot Heard Round the World” but that started the war for American Independence.
There is a lot that follows this early spring morning but I’ll let you look that up yourself. For now, I hope you enjoyed this little American History refresher. As I said, I’ll do something like this every day this week so get ready.