Today Should be a National Holiday, a Big One: starting an annual tradition.

I’m not kidding.

Back in the 1770’s unrest was growing in the American colonies, at least those along the Atlantic Seaboard from New Hampshire down through Georgia.  Protests over taxes imposed without the taxed having any voice in the matter, complaints about a distant monarch and legislative body making rules and laws over people to whom they are not beholden.

There had been clashes which fed that unrest, including the famous “Boston Massacre” where British troops fired into a rioting mob resulting in several deaths.  Think of it as the Kent State of the 18th century.

In an effort to quell the unrest, or at least have it be less of a threat to British officials, General Thomas Gage, Military governor of Massachusetts, under orders to take decisive action against the colonists, decided to confiscate firearms and ammunition from certain groups in the colony.  His forces marched on the night of April 18, 1775.

The colonists, forewarned of the action (the Longfellow poem, which children learn in school–or they did when I was in school–is historically inaccurate, but it sure is stirring, isn’t it?), first met the British troops at Lexington Massachusetts where John Parker, in command of the local Colonial Militia said, according to the recollection of one of the participants, “Stand your ground.  Don’t fire unless fired upon.  But if they mean to have a war, let it begin here.”

Whether Parker actually said those words, the first shot was fired.  No one knew who fired it, whether British or Colonial.  In the ensuing, brief battle the British regulars put the Colonial militia to flight.

The British then turned toward Concord.

A small unit of militia, hearing reports of firing at Lexington marched out but on spotting a British unit of about 700 while themselves only numbering about 250 they returned to Concord.  The Colonial militia departed the town across the North Bridge to a hill about a mile north of town where additional militia reinforcements continued to gather.

The British reached the town and began searching for the weapons they came to confiscate.  They found several cannon, too large to be moved quickly, and disabled them.  Other weapons and supplies had been either removed or hidden.

On seeing the smoke of the burning carriages from the cannon, the Militia began to move.  It is not my purpose here to go into detailed description of their movements but in the end the British regulars found themselves both outnumbered and outmaneuvered.  They fled, a rout that surprised the Colonial Militia as much as the British regulars.  Again, I simplify but in the end they marched back to Boston continuing to suffer casualties from what amounted to 18th century sniper fire from the surrounding brush.  The frustration of the British soldiers led them to atrocities, killing everyone they found in buildings whether they were involved in the fighting or not.

Eventually the British forces fought their way back to Boston where they were besieged by Militia forces numbering over 1500 men.

And the Revolutionary War had begun.

And so, on this day in 1775, the nascent United States took the course that would lead eventually to Independence.

And that’s why April 19 deserves to be a National Holiday on a par at least with Independence Day.  The latter was recognition of what became fact on the former.

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4 thoughts on “Today Should be a National Holiday, a Big One: starting an annual tradition.”

  1. I never even learned about this. So, I guess tptb don’t want the people to be familiar with a piece of history that shows the truth about why a government disarms a population and why the people should resist and be organized. Thank you for expanding my mind!

  2. 243 years ago, Americans confirmed they would not tolerate tyranny!

    We should call that holiday National Second Amendment day.

    It is also the day which we should celebrate as proof that when in the course of human events tyrants emerge, Americans will stand and fight to the death for the ideal of liberty. It is their God-given right to self-preservation and self-defense which the Second Amendment affirms. They met the British with the main battle rifles of the day, and after an initial defeat routed the enemy, and chased them back to Boston.

    Small fledgling peoples had decided that they were willing to take on the most powerful nation on earth, to assure their liberty. From that inauspicious beginning …

    Read the post it is a nice summary of the British attempt to disarm Lexington and Concord.

    The Second Amendment does not create the right to Keep and Bear Arms. It merely affirms that natural right which preceded the Constitution. As the Declaration of Independence so eloquently said:

    “When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

    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 of 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 Declaration of Independence: Full text

    It is clear that the Bill of Rights enumerates at least some of these inalienable and preexisting natural rights. I sometimes hear commentators pontificating that all that needs to be done is eliminate the Second Amendment through a Constitutional Amendment; this is wrong. The right to self-preservation/self-protection is inalienable, meaning that neither the state nor the individual can divest this right from him.

    But exercising this right comes with a downside. One must be willing to stand and fight, to exercise the right if he wishes to keep the right. The Declaration of Independence did not create the fracture of the British/Colonial Civil War, the British marching on Lexington and Concord, among other actions, did. The Declaration of Independence laid out in no uncertain terms that Americans had decided to dissolve the political bands which connected Britain with the American colonies. The Declaration also described from whom the rights being exercised flowed. It further on provided a list of injuries and usurpations as to why.

    My argument is simple and clear, the Constitution which is a document which allocates rights freely given up by the people to the government in exchange for specific things enumerated in the Constitution cannot involve those rights listed in the Bill of Rights or any other natural rights. These rights are inalienable, and cannot be given up. The state could not accept them, nor can it impair them. If it does, the people have the right to rise, as Americans did 243 years ago, and fight to reduce a tyrannical government which has overstepped its bounds.

    While this sounds subversive, it is not. Jefferson voiced similar thoughts on more than one occasion, as did many of the founding fathers of the United States.

    “the people can not be all, & always, well informed. the part which is wrong [. . .] will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. if they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. we have had 13. states independant 11. years. there has been one rebellion. that comes to one rebellion in a century & a half for each state. what country before ever existed a century & half without a rebellion? & what country can preserve it’s liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? let them take arms. the remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon & pacify them. what signify a few lives lost in a century or two? the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. it is it’s natural manure.” (Bold mine.)

    Extract from Thomas Jefferson to William Stephens Smith, 13 Nov. 1787 [Quote] | Jefferson Quotes & Family Letters

    The progressive movement built for more than 50 years through the latter half of the 19th century before being birthed politically in the form of President Teddy Roosevelt. It has been an empowered political movement for more than 118 years, more than 153 years since the end of the last need for the people to rise against a malign government, take arms, and set the malign government and its supporters to right. And unsurprisingly, we did mostly pardon & pacify them. Unfortunately, it was not just a few lives lost, although as Jefferson implies when amortized over 77 years, the numbers are somewhat less shocking.

    It has now been 158 years since the last need for the American people to rise against internal tyranny (we did rise to fight fascism and Nazism in 1945, but that was an external threat to liberty, although existential). Our progressive government has become significantly authoritarian, bureaucratic, and regulatory. It would not surprise me if the American people were again called upon to throw off the yoke of oppression, whether this means active war, I cannot guess. No one in Colonial America thought there would be a civil war between Britain and the American Colonies in 1770. But by 1775, there was war.

    Notice the cycle, every 80 years, give or take a few, the historical cycle repeats (1775, 1860, 1945, and next 2025). It seems that liberty must fight to renew itself as a reality each time the generation who last fought to do so die out. The first two crises were internal to America, the third was external. I prefer the external, but I am also optimistic that this reduction and resolution of tyranny can be accomplished without war. But then, maybe not.

    Perhaps after the resolution of this crisis, we should implement further reforms guaranteeing liberty, but maybe that will not work. The desire for state authoritarianism is compelling to many people. These people are driven to manipulate and control others often not for venal or corrupt purposes but simply as a reflection of their belief that if people would only do as told their lives would be better. It is the man who comes to help with good intentions and regulations who must be fought; he is the enemy, though quiet and unassuming, he is the one who will steal your liberty and ultimately enslave you. All for your good, and the common good, of course.

    It is our natural rights to practice our beliefs, to speak and write freely, and the ability to enforce rights through arms which is the way we combat the quiet and unassuming thief of liberty.

    Huzzah, National Second Amendment Day, Huzzah!

    Mark Sherman

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