Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Liberty Day History Display from 2010--pt. 13

Beginning: Lexington and Concord

The American War for Independence began when the British regulars wanted to search for hidden weapons in the cities of Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts. The British knew that arms are necessary to keep and defend liberty, and they wanted to seize and destroy them to protect their unlawful abuse of the law.

Paul Revere warned the local “minutemen” in his famous midnight ride, and John Parker rallied the group of them on Lexington Green to oppose this unjust search. Major John Pitcairn of the Royal Marines ordered the colonists to disperse and lay down their arms. They began to move off the battlefield, but kept their muskets. Someone (historians have no clue who he was, nor even to whom he owed allegiance) fired “the shot heard ‘round the world,” and the British regulars opened fire. Eight minutemen were killed with shots in the back, while only one Britisher was wounded.

Beginning: Storming the Bastille

Just as the American War for Independence began with a search for weapons, so did the French Revolution. The Paris mobs were rioting, but they had no arms. It was proposed that the mob storm the Bastille, tear it to pieces, collect the weapons, and free whomever the hated queen Marie-Antoinette had sentenced to imprisonment. Oddly enough, only six prisoners tenanted the Bastille, and none of them were imprisoned for revolutionary ideas (most were in there for forgery). The Bastille was a financial drain on the King, and was about to be closed, but it represented the power of the French crown. Reenforced by treacherous soldiers, the mob agreed and attacked, suffering ninety-six casualties. At last the defenders surrendered to the mob and gave up the Bastille. The soldiers lost their heads when they surrendered, and the Governor was murdered as well while he was escorted to a “trial”.

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