Stories, Music and Film

Diagramming Our First Revolution, The “Redcoats” Are Coming, Again

The War for Independence, the Revolutionary War, was not a spontaneous fire, set by a bolt of lightning.

I don’t know how, or even if, school children are taught the story of America’s leap for freedom in 1776. I doubt there’s as much brass bands and fanfare in the teaching of it as when I was a kid. But California teaches American History in 5th grade. I’ll skip the “God only knows how they teach it” question and just note that this is the general age, 11-12, at which American children are first introduced to the formative patriotic event in our history. And that’s an important age, for children are still wide-eyed and receptive then…which explains why children of Christian families are introduced to the Creation, Noah’s Flood, Jesus’ birth, crucifixion and resurrection, and little songs, “Jesus Loves Me”, by the time they are 6. By the time they are 11, kids are on to heavier stuff, like how to pronounce “in-i-quity”.

But at 11 it was understood that kids would see larger-than-life heroes, and larger-than-life truths, and at this age those images are supposed to stick, perhaps for a lifetime, since the next time they’d read of the American Revolution would be 11th-12th grade, where the lectures and readings would be as dull and dry as a Methodist sermon on stewardship.

Unless you are a self-taught patriot, what I want you to pause and understand is just how sparse and child-like has been our understanding about 1) how bad tyranny can be even when administered under what was reported to be the most civilized nation on earth (a chink in the armor of England’s self-image still) and 2) how colonial Americans went about organizing themselves to free themselves from that tyranny.

Modern Americans have never stopped to consider that “organizing” the Revolutionary War didn’t just happen. The Continental Congress wasn’t just sitting there in Philadelphia, waiting for someone to declare a war. George Washington didn’t just have thousands of troops waiting in the wings to swoop down on the British. Any American who has started and successfully run a small business knows all the different aspects of planning for it and managing it, and that knowledge did not come immediately, but was learned, as it went along.

For instance, the Continental Congress was not formed to declare independence. Ben Franklin got the idea going in 1774 to discuss dealing collectively with various intolerable acts by British Parliament. But this Continental Congress was illegal, even treasonous, just in meeting the way they did, out of sight and knowledge of their Crown-appointed governors, or, as we would call them today, the “Executive.” Philadelphia was just that place. They were “conspiring”, and although no one had thrown down the sword of independence yet, they were already beginning to risk their “lives, fortunes and sacred honor.”

Now what all those men did between 1774 and 1776 would be too lengthy to list here, but each networked with his local legislatures, to determine the availability of local militia and troops they could muster. They would have to have some idea of “who would be for us” and “who would be agin’ us” in each and every colony, and develop a secure communication line in each colonial capital and major town. With no power to tax, they also had to consider how they could pay for things, from cannon, to uniforms, to lead for bullets, to wages.

These would all be the same things you would have to do today if you had a great business idea, but no credit line at the banks, and needed to raise say $50,000 to get your business off the ground. Two years’ advanced planning sounds just about right. I’ve given this same sort of advice to American clients as well as Russian and east European enterprises where secrecy was an even higher necessity. Even today, business there often has be carried out like a covert operation.

So by the time the Continental Congress affirmed the language of the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776, most of the advanced planning had been done. And since the war had already begun at Lexington, Concord and Breed’s (Bunker) Hill, all in Massachusetts, the Continental Congress knew the British were coming…for them.

On a dime, so to speak, the Continental Congress had to turn from being a purely deliberative body to a wartime body, handing the major source of wartime operations over to George Washington, with only an educated guess as to where and how the British would strike first. Boston and New York seemed the most likely places.

With an 1100 miles front line, Washington’s initial strategy seemed to be to seize a major port, and then build and train his new Continental Army until it could be battle-worthy to meet the world’s best-trained and best-equipped (and thankfully poorest-led) army in the world. The American’s greatest asset was that the British officers believed they were fighting a bunch of rube local yokels, and if you don’t believe me, just read the comments on any HuffingtonPost, Reuters, Yahoo News, AP, Daily Beast or news story about Ted Cruz or Scott Walker.

Washington decided to try to capture the port of New York, while opening a second front along Lake Champlain in the north, and the Carolinas in the south, under militia command, in a kind of guerrilla warfare. New York quickly proved to be a bust, which began a series of retreats and advances to the rear just to put as many miles between himself and the British as he could while he could train his army.

Enter God. In the book I’m working on, The Devil’s History of the United States, I mention the times God may have intervened directly in our history, and the Revolution had several…just in case you’re wondering which dog He had in that fight: The first was Washington’s miraculous escape from Brooklyn Heights, under a sudden fog that covered his army’s retreat, then, on Christmas Eve, his ability to cross the Delaware at Trenton and take the Hessian command stationed there, all because the Hessian commander was deep in a game of cards (and likely his cups) so when the written message that the Americans were crossing the river, instead of reading it, Colonel Rall put it in his pocket. But if there was any question about the involvement of Providence in the War, it was confirmed when the French fleet met the British fleet at sea and defeated them in the only victorious sea engagement by the French navy in their entire history, thus denying Cornwallis his escape at Yorktown, and handing the battle, and the war to the Americans. (I’m certain Satan seethed at the irony of God using his chief client state in such a warped manner.)

valley forge

Obviously, I didn’t write this as a history lesson, but rather a planning lesson, and quite frankly, I hope it is at least three-four years in the planning phase already. Millions of Americans are praying delegates from the many states have already begun laying the groundwork, and while I know many are waiting for that “tipping point” – I also know many prominent American analysts already believe we have passed it, and we would be giving up the element of surprise by waiting for Obama and his kind to suddenly declare martial law, or begin their Elian Gonzalez-invasions of our homes and offices. We need plans that can be acted upon immediately. Just watch those emails and cell phones. Loose emails can sink the best laid plans. You’re probably being monitored already.

I’ve included here a link to a how-to guide “conspiracy” for citizen activists, but even for grand planners, you may find the use of paper messages, and face-to-face meetings, or phone calls over land lines or burner phones, more secure methods of communications that emails. Ask Lois Lerner.

Lastly, I want to inject the expanded role of the citizen here, for unlike the Revolution of ’76 there is much we can all do at the local level to blight the path of the Redcoats (Fits, doesn’t it?) that wasn’t available to colonials.

A how-to guide to Sam Johnson’s “blight their path” can be found here. (It works, by the way.) Read especially What to do at Home, since, if the bad guys get the jump on us, these dark alley sons of liberty may be all there is left to keep the Redcoats hiding in  their houses.

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