Here Once The Embattled Farmers Stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world…
April 19, 1775
What made the farmers fight in 1775?
Judge Millen Chamberlain in 1842, when he was twenty-one, interviewed Captain Preston, a ninety-year-old veteran of the Concord fight: “Did you take up arms against intolerable oppression?” he asked.
“Oppression?” replied the old man. “I didn’t feel them.”
“What, were you not oppressed by the Stamp Act?”
“I never saw one of those stamps. I certainly never paid a penny for one of them.”
“Well, what then about the tea tax?”
“I never drank a drop of the stuff; the boys threw it all overboard.”
“Then I suppose you had been reading Harington or Sidney and Locke about the eternal principles of liberty?”
“Never heard of ’em. We read only the Bible, the Catechism, Watts’ Psalms and Hymns, and the Almanac.”
“Well, then, what was the matter? And what did you mean in going to the fight?”
“Young man, what we meant in going for those redcoats was this: we always had governed ourselves, and we always meant to. They didn’t mean we should.”
Follow the links for the story of the people of that April morning with timelines, commentary, videos, and maps.
“…for we must Consider that we shall be as a City upon a Hill, the eyes of all people are upon us; so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword through the world…”John Winthrop, 1630
Hover your cursor across the phrases, because a few have more than one link!
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Concord Hymn.
Samuel Eliot Morison, The Oxford History of the American People, (Oxford University Press: 1965) 212-213. Emphasis added.