Happy Birthday America?

This year I noticed a lot of folks using the phrase “242 years ago” and then making some statement about the start of the American Revolution.

One Facespace pal took the opportunity to point out folks picked up guns 242 years ago and that’s why freedom is earned.

Here’s the thing: July 4th revolves around the signing of the Declaration of Independence in July, 1776. Not the start of the war.

The first battles of the War are considered to be the Battles of Lexington and Concord. You may associate it with Paul Revere’s epic ride rallying the Minutemen of Massachusetts alerting them “the British are coming!”

Revere was sent from Boston to Lexington on the evening of April 18th, 1775. Revere made it to Lexington, where he alerted Sam Adams and John Hancock that the British troops were on the move. Revere did not finish his ride to Concord, however. William Dawes had also been dispatched from Boston with the alert of the British troop movements for Adams & Hancock. After meeting up with Revere in Lexington, the 2 men were going to ride to Concord together. On the road outside Lexington they met up with Dr Samuel Prescott of The Sons of Liberty. The 3 men were overtaken by a British patrol and decided to split up to increase their chances of one of them getting away. Revere was detained, while both Dawes & Prescott evaded capture, only Prescott managed to continue on to New Hampshire.

The first battle of the American War for Independence started as the sun rose on April 19th, 1775.

Though one could argue it was not a war for independence at that point as much as a conflict over representation. Most of the “rebellious” colonists were looking to have a role in the government they lived under, not form an entirely new one.

Over the year between the battle of Lexington and the Second Continental Congress signing the Declaration of Independence, things occurred that moved sentiment away from reconciliation: Thomas Paine’s Common Sense was published, Parliament passed yet another punitive Act, and King George went and hired Hessians (it was very bad form hire foreigners to fight people you considered your citizens.)