An Amazing End Begins with a Bold Story

Boldness is the calling card of independence.

On September 5, 1774, fifty-six men convened in Carpenter’s Hall to discuss the proper response to the Intolerable Acts of British Parliament. Representatives traveled to Philadelphia from 12 of 13 American colonies (Georgia sent no one) and focused the debate on a very basic question: to boycott or not?

Having been subject to various taxes on goods of all kinds, the delegates wanted to hit the mother country in the pocket book as hard as possible–a long philosophical distance away from any concept of separation from her. Considering a ban on imports or exports or both, they went about the diplomatic business of appealing to King George for redress.

These are the early days of the American Revolution, some 22 months before the Declaration of Independence, when tensions on this side of the Atlantic just started to simmer.

This First Continental Congress sowed the seeds of an inconceivable idea.

Thomas Jefferson’s autobiography describes the agreements reached during the meeting. Among the many resolutions passed, 25 prescient words foretold the future:

…France & Spain had reason to be jealous of that rising power which would one day certainly strip them of all their American possessions…

These men could hardly agree to refuse British ships entry into their ports, let alone come together to take up arms against the best trained and most experienced fighting force in the world.

This handful of words–out of thousands recorded–are the first reflection of what we know today, a republic stretching from sea to shining sea.

Appreciate the audacity: a few dozen men proposed that potential allies–two old monarchies competing with England for supremacy in the Western hemisphere–might be put off by the prospect of helping a nascent nation out from under tyranny because it represented a challenge to their own territories.

The concept is not far-fetched, until you consider the “rising power” had no army or navy to speak of.

Though it may have been intended to puff out the chests of colonists riding the fence, it amounted to a rough sketch of the result possible when “government for the people, of the people, and by the people” was given free reign on these shores.

The formation of a more perfect union arose from a more perfect vision.

The lesson reverberates through the ages: those willing to proclaim the fruits of their labor will harvest them.

The challenge was great, yet the opportunity was unmatched.

Pulled from the heart by the promise of unrestrained freedom, an unpolished rabble defeated all the King’s men.

This “light of the world” shines bright because someone first thought it might.


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