American Revolution is story of all of us
Published 7:11 pm Sunday, July 2, 2017
There are a few movements out there trying to do something the powerful British Empire couldn’t do: quash the American Revolution. But despite attempts by several with a political axe to grind, the American Revolution was a smashing success. And it’s our story too.
You’ll have folks who believe in some “Old School” whereby only a handful of elderly white males in wigs won the American Revolution, while others see only a fraction of the population (three percent) as serving in the militia, and therefore the only ones deserving of praise. Anyone not fitting that description is dismissed as part of politically correct multiculturalism; such an attack on multiculturalism can be as odious as political correctness itself.
The truth of the matter is that winning the American Revolution was a team effort. It didn’t just take a handful of minutemen. It involved the old and the young, white and the black, male and female, even Hispanics, Jews and Indians. And all were needed to defeat the world’s first superpower.
Perhaps none can compare with the contributions of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Paul Revere, John Paul Jones and LaGrange celebrity the Marquis de Lafayette. And I teach about them in my classes. But they aren’t the only ones we should honor.
Most may not know Joseph Plumb Martin, the youngster who ran away to join the Continental Army, whose account helps us know the experiences of a great soldier, or new Harvard graduate John Trumbull, who served as an officer, and painted the American Revolution for our U.S. Capitol, despite the loss of an eye.
There’s Salem Poor, a freed black and sniper who is often credited with taking down Lt. Col. James Abercrombe and several British soldiers, at Breed’s Hill. Crispus Attacks, another African-American, was the first to die at the Boston Massacre.
Brian Kilmeade of Fox News made the names in Washington’s Spy Ring famous (now part of an AMC TV series “Turn”), and we’re now learning about Abraham Woodhull, Robert Townsend, and Anna Strong, better known as Agent 355.
There’s Sybil Ludington, a 16 year old girl who beat off British soldiers with a stick and proceeded to ride 40 miles to warn the Connecticut militia. Additionally, there’s Margaret Corbin, still manning her husband’s post as he lay dying during the defense of Ft. Washington. Poor Jane McCrae’s death at the hands of Burgoyne’s scouts inflamed all of New England and New York, eventually rallying enough to join in the campaign to defeat the British at Saratoga, bringing the French into the conflict. All LaGrange residents have heard of the Nancy Harts of the Civil War, but do they know who she’s named for, and what she did during the American Revolution?
We probably couldn’t have afforded the American Revolution without the work of Haym Salomon, a Jewish financier. We need to honor Portuguese-born Peter Francisco, the “Virginia Hercules” who killed so many of Tarleton’s cruel dragoons, some with his bare hands! And Indians Tyongajangen and Han Yerry were there to help as well. Foreigners like Casmir Pulaski and Baron Johan DeKalb gave their lives for our freedom. And General George Patton always cited his ancestor, General Hugh Mercer (who perished at the Battle of Princeton) as an inspiration.
So on this Independence Day, celebrate, by all means.
It’s your triumph too, in building our own bastion of freedom, as well as an economic and military superpower, which no foreign country, or domestic naysayer, can take away from us.
John A. Tures is a professor of political science at LaGrange College in LaGrange, Ga. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His Twitter account is JohnTures2.