As the western border of the colonies temporary cooled due to the ending of Pontiac’s
rebellion, colonial passions were aroused by new outrages, real or imagined, emanating from the mother country. This time in the form of the Stamp Act. Read more >>
England needed money and Prime Minister George Greenville knew it. Greenville decided that the colonies would support the stationing of redcoats in the colonies, and measures were soon discussed to determine how to financially support such an arrangement. Read more >>
Around the same time Parliament passed the American Duties Act, Parliament also addressed concerns of the moneyed classes of England’s wealthy merchant houses as it related to American fiscal policy. Specifically, the issue of fiat currency not backed by specie. To finance the war, many colonies resorted to issuing paper money that could be used as legal tender for all transactions, including payment of taxes and the retirement of debt. Read more >>
With the conclusion of the French and Indian War, the money saving postwar policies were challenged by a coordinated assault on territories occupied by the British Army. A confederation of tribes, typically credited to have been led by Pontiac commenced hostilities by sieging Fort Detroit. Read more >>
No taxation without representation! This is the catch phrase that is commonly taught as the impetus for independence. A colony, devoid of parliamentary representation, buckling under the yoke of excessive taxes and a King indifferent to the will of the colonies. But what taxes were being levied? Why did Great Britain need to tax the colonies in the first place? Read more >>
History unravels around us daily. Often times it goes unnoticed, remembered by some, forgotten by most. Occasionally, history manifests itself in unforgettable ways. Those who are alive today, those that can remember the attack on Pearl Harbor or the Apollo moon landings, would neither doubt nor deny they witnessed events that changed the course of human history. Sometimes, history is made and its significance unnoticed. Few would have guessed that the rise of the Ottoman Empire would unleash a chain of events that ultimately led the collapse of the Roman Empire in the East.
All that said, we now turn to April 19, 1775. Today, we recollect the Battle of Lexington, and the opening of what became the American War of Independence, as the “shot heard ‘round the world.” It is doubtful the participants of this small skirmish recognized the full implications of the exchange. Only the most clairvoyant would have foreseen that this one armed altercation portended eight years of war, a historic defeat of the British Empire, and perhaps, the collapse of the French state to revolution less than twenty years later. War was not universally welcomed, both in the Colonies and in Great Britain. And yet, we remember the shot heard ‘round the world, a phrase coined by Ralph Waldo Emerson in the Concord Hymn, sixty-two years after the event as a decisive, perhaps inevitable moment in history.
It is my hope that by bringing context surrounding the events that led to the opening battle of the American War of Independence, a greater appreciation of the event itself may be gained. The event itself, attitudes, how it has been remembered and portrayed all tell an interesting story about the birth of American and how American has viewed itself in the world. And I hope you will join me on this journey.