The American Revolutionary War of Independence

John Adams concerning the Constitution and Christianity

John Adams concerning the Constitution and Christianity [Click to enlarge]

The American Revolution profoundly influenced the later development of the United States. To appreciate that influence and understand the relevance of the Revolution to our own times is a challenge to every citizen. To respond to the challenge is vital, for an understanding of the past is necessary to meet the problems of the future. It is not given to a single generation to acquire wisdom if it ignores those who came before. The men of the Revolution knew this. When they faced the revolutionary crisis, they sought guidance from the past, from the writings of Roman historians and philosophers and 17th-century Englishmen—Algemon Sidney, Sir Edward Coke, and, above all, John Locke.

John Locke Quote Concerning the Bible

John Locke Concerning the Bible

As the founders profited from history, so may we. Almost before the Revolution ended they began to write its history—to record the events and clarify the ideals for posterity. We are posterity. If we would attain to wisdom and to an understanding of our heritage, we must understand the American Revolution. For surely an awareness of the magnitude of the sacrifices and an appreciation of the timeless quality of the ideals that brought our country into being will strengthen us as a people.

Many paths lead toward historical understanding. If they are true paths, they enter into the reality, into the presence, into an intangible yet authentic feeling of historic events and the men who made them. Of all the approaches to history, perhaps none communicates the past more directly and universally than physical evidence. An authentic structure or historic object in its original location can convey a sense of history unmatched by books or pictures. To stand in Independence Hall is to become a part of what happened there. To visit Morristown or Valley Forge is to enter into the lives and hardships of the soldiers of the Continental Army.

Great historians have recognized the importance of historic sites and have used them to impart a special life and authenticity to their works. Francis Parkman, for example, writing in the 19th century about the epic Anglo-French struggle for the North American continent, sought out the places where it happened. He followed in the footsteps of the armies and absorbed a feeling of the battlefields. He timed his visits and site studies to coincide with the season of the year in which the events occurred. The warmth or chill of the air, the sounds and colors of the woods and landscape, even the shades of night that were relevant to the historic event he tried to capture. By making the physical environment of his subject a part of his experience he added a new dimension to his histories. In them is a quality, an expression of the drama and meaning of the events, that has seldom been duplicated.
John Milton Quote Concerning Truth & Christianity

John Milton Concerning Truth & Christianity [Click to enlarge]

Few have the imagination and genius of a Parkman, but nearly all of us respond to the great scenes of the past. Visiting them heightens our awareness. It is our good fortune that a substantial number of the places associated with the history of the American Revolution have been carefully preserved. The people of the United States, acting as individuals, in private groups, and through their local, State, or national government, have wisely set aside historic sites and buildings or erected memorials where the Americans of almost two centuries ago acted out the drama of the War for Independence. Because of the foresight of all those who have contributed to the preservation of American Revolution historic sites and battlefields, we may look forward to the opportunity during the Bicentennial to recall the events that brought us independence and freedom and to reflect on their modern relevance.

The American Revolution was more than a war—more than colonies declaring separation from the mother country. It was genuinely a people’s revolution, a painful conflict that took its toll in divided communities as well as on the field of battle. The force of its ideas carried to many lands, and America became a model for men seeking a better world. The end of the war did not diminish the impact of these ideas. As Tom Paine foresaw, “The cause of America is in great measure the cause of all mankind. . . . ‘Tis not the concern of a day, a year, or an age; posterity are virtually involved in the contest, and will be more or less affected even to the end of time by our proceedings now.”

Young men predominated among those who made and fought the American Revolution. Their ideas appeal to youth today. Their strength emanated from beliefs that still underlie American ways: that all men are by nature equal, that liberty is “inhered naturally in the people,” and that the power to govern is legitimate only when given by those over whom it is to be exercised. Consequently, it is in the tradition of America to question authority, to distrust it, and to give it constant scrutiny; to restrict the use of power over the lives of men; to grant status to men for their personal qualities rather than their lineage; and to raise institutions that express human aspirations rather than deny them.

Source: Report of the Secretary of the Interior to the American Revolution Bicentennial Commission:  Published by American Revolution Bicentennial Commission 1970

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2 thoughts on “The American Revolutionary War of Independence

  1. There are several stories, battles which all serve as examples of tyerney which brought on the once Kings subject to become revoluntionarys. Few started out wanting conflict with England, but actions of the crown, sending troops to “squash” the rebels went to far and impacted then loyalists in a way that they had to resist, then later fight. One such story is of my ancestry, Abraham Davies ( Davis) from Chestnut Neck New Jersey. See the history written on “The Battle of Chestnut Neck”. Once owning 3 ships, the Davies family turned to Privateering when his ships were run off, served in the colonial Militia as a captain. This little township served the revolution by breaking the supply line to the British.
    Submitted by
    Rick Dean, Proud Grandson and Patirot

    Like

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