Founding Fathers Blog

The Shot Heard ‘Round the World

April 19th, 2012

On April 18, 1775, the British General Gage decided to send 700 British soldiers to march on April 19, to Concord, Massachussets, to capture two prominent rebels: John Hancock and John Adams, who were hiding in that area. He was also determined to capture the munitions and guns that were then assembling in Lexington.

Joseph Warren, an American Patriot, heard of these plans and so he alerted two speedy couriers to watch for his signal and ride to warn and alert the Minutemen in those towns. The riders were Paul Revere and William Dawes. They were joined by Dr. Prescott. Revere was arrested, his horse confiscated, and he was released. So he actually got to Concord too late. But Dr. Prescott gave the warning that “the British are coming!”

(You should read again the poem by Longfellow, “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere.” It is historically inaccurate in many details, but it remains Longfellow’s most popular poem. By the way, did you know that Longfellow’s home in Cambridge, MA, was used by George Washington and his headquarters for a while during the Revolutionary war?)

When the 700 soldiers arrived in Lexington, there was some agitation among the citizens. Then by the local bridge, a shot was fired (on April 19th). No one knows to this day who fired that shot, but it has become known as ‘the shot heard ’round the world’ becauses it was the first real battle of the Revolutionary War. In the melee that followed, 3 redcoats and 2 minutemen were killed.

Hancock and Adams were not found by the British. Paul Revere arrived and was sent by Hancock to return to his original hiding spot and retrieve some of Hancock’s important papers.

The British re-grouped and began to march back to Boston. All along their trek back to Boston, the American Minutemen and farmers marched along with them, hidden in the forest. They kept up the attack all the way back to Boston. Ninety minutemen were killed by the return fire, and 250 redcoats were killed by the colonials. It was considered a disaster by the British.

I remind you of this part of our history, because it seems to me that it may be time for another ‘shot heard ’round the world’ to rescue our nation from wars in distant lands, entangling alliances, lost respect, reduced morality and reliance on God, and an overwhelming crushing burden of debt. I don’t mean that literally. but some movement or idea that will move like a shot and affect the citizens of this country.

It seems to me that we need a return to honoring the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule. These are the principles on which most of our history and governmental system were at first based. I believe we need some more minutemen and visionary leaders like John Hancock and John Adams.

Like William Keiper stated:  “I am much more optimistic that we can make our way by initiating powerful change at the individual rather than the institutional or governmental level.”  (Life Expectancy, 2011, page 83).

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