A Couple Independence Day Tidbits

As we celebrate Independence Day, be it with family at a BBQ or just as a quiet day of relaxation it is worth taking a little time for reflection on the history behind the holiday.

We’ve all read books or watched movies about the Founding Fathers but have you ever wondered about the average colonist in those days ?

The Wall Street Journal gives us an interesting look at what everyday life was like in 1776.

In the northern colonies, according to historical research, the top 10% of the population owned about 45% of the wealth. In some parts of the South, 10% owned 75% of the wealth. But unlike most other countries, America in 1776 had a thriving middle class. Well-to-do farmers shipped tons of corn and wheat and rice to the West Indies and Europe, using the profits to send their children to private schools and buy their wives expensive gowns and carriages. Artisans—tailors, carpenters and other skilled workmen—also prospered, as did shop owners who dealt in a variety of goods. Benjamin Franklin credited his shrewd wife, Deborah, with laying the foundation of their wealth with her tradeswoman’s skills.

On the other hand the Revolution might well have failed if one man had made a different decision.

As told in American History Magazine there was a moment in September 1777 that may well have turned the tide.

Captain Patrick Ferguson, a 33-year-old Scotsman reputed to be the finest shot in the British army, commanded the British marksmen, who were equipped with fast-firing, breech-loading rifles of Ferguson’s own design. He whispered to three of his best riflemen to creep forward and pick off the unsuspecting officers. But before the men were in place, he felt disgust at the idea of such an ambush, and ordered them not to fire. He shouted to the American officer, who was riding a bay horse. The American looked his way for a moment, and turned to ride on. Ferguson called again, this time leveling his rifle toward the officer. The American glanced back before slowly cantering away.

A day later, after he had been seriously wounded himself, Ferguson learned that the American officer he let ride off was most likely General George Washington. “I could have lodged half a dozen balls in or about him, before he was out of my reach,” Ferguson recalled, “but it was not pleasant to fire at the back of an unoffending individual, who was acquitting himself very coolly of his duty—so I let him alone.”

Of course things did not turn on that day and The United States Of America did become a free nation.

So to celebrate a couple of patriotic videos

         

Author: PATRICK EDABURN, Assistant Editor

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