There are a lot of angry people in this country right now. People are upset about what the government seems to be doing to this once-great nation. It seems like our government is broken...
We are being taxed at a rate that is unthinkable - while our government continues to call for more taxes.
We are financially supporting endless government programs that interfere with every area of our lives.
We continue to have more programs and "solutions" (i.e. nationalized healthcare and business bailouts) shoved down out throat whether we want them or not!
Our constitutional rights to free speech, free practice of religion, and the right to keep and bear arms continue to be restricted and limited.
In particular, this latest push for tighter restrictions on firearms seems to be pushing red-blooded Americans over the edge. The call seems to be going out for people to rise up and fight any new restrictions or regulations on gun ownership. Let me be clear on this, I am a firm believer in the right to keep and bear arms - personal firearms that are equal to anything that is carried by a typical soldier. I believe that this was the intent (and the clear statement) of the second amendment, and that this right should never be infringed.
Having said that, there are many angry people in this nation that are taking this fight for gun rights to the extreme. Just look around, and you'll see fed-up people crying out for a "second American revolution." They've made their point very clear: they're tired of the government interfering with their lives, and if it doesn't stop, they're going to rise up and literally fight for their freedom to do what they want. After all, wasn't this the spirit of the American Revolution? Weren't our founding father a group of angry men that were tired of an oppressive regime?
Actually, no. Our revolution was anything but an outburst of anger. It was a well-structured, long-postponed, last resort for freedom. Revolution wasn't our founding fathers first choice. They considered themselves Englishmen, and did everything they could to preserve the bond between the colonies and London. They only moved towards independence when there was no other option available.
But there was another revolution in the eighteenth century. This was one that was orchestrated and carried out by angry, discontented men. It was the French Revolution, and it couldn't be any more different from the American Revolution!
The French Revolution - Chaos Disguised As A Revolution
Throughout the 1770's and 80's, France had some rough times. The cost of several simultaneous wars had effectively bankrupted the nation. Several poor harvest years had raised the price of food tremendously. The loss of several French colonies throughout North America resulted in a dramatic loss of revenue. In essence, France was broke - the French people were becoming very desperate.
At the same time, the French monarchy was living in its typical opulence. It wasn't necessarily the case that the nobility was being oppressive - there was simply a disconnect between them and the rest of the country. The French royalty didn't seem to understand the difficult times that their nation was going through, and they continued to live the same lifestyle that they were living before the hardships struck.
By 1789, the people were desperate and angry. They were intent on overthrowing the monarchy and taking vengeance on the people that they perceived were responsible for their disasters. Very quickly, Paris degenerated to a violent, mob-controlled town. Rioting was rampant and widespread. Mobs ruled the streets. This was the beginning of the Revolution - very noble, right?
The first battle of the French Revolution occurred on July 14th, 1789 - the storming of Bastille. Sadly, this bloody event set the tone of the rest of the Revolution. Mobs of revolutionaries stormed the French prison/fortress of Bastille and engaged in hours of fighting with the fortress guards, under the command of Governor Launay. When Launay realized that the violence was only escalating, and that both sides were taking heavy losses, he ordered his guards to cease-fire. How did the French mob repay Launay for his rational decision? By torturing and decapitating him, then parading his head around on a pole!
Throughout the next ten years, the Revolution continued its bloody, irrational, and violent rampage through France. It's well-known that King Louis XVI and his wife were executed at the guillotine. But what is often overlooked is that anyone who had any type of connection to French nobility was also executed over the course of this decade. After this, when the mob had run out of its declared enemies, it turned on itself. Thousands of revolutionaries were themselves declared to be enemies of the revolution and beheaded. Within ten years, 40,000 French people were publicly executed as enemies of the French people.
In the end, these lawless people who thought they were fighting for their freedom installed a popular general as their leader - Napoleon Bonaparte.
This is what a revolution of angry, discontented people looks like. It's violent, bloody, and chaotic.
John Green Teaches About The Reign Of Terror
The American Colonies' View Of Mobs
By contrast, the American Revolution was thoughtful and well-reasoned break away from a tyrannical government. Americans, it seemed, would have nothing to do with a mob mentality.
On March 5, 1770 - a few years before the revolution - a small mob did form in Boston. This anti-British crowd egged on and taunted a group of nine British soldiers, throwing rocks and snowballs at them. The mob dared the British men to fire at them, actually trying to spark an incident between the colonists and the British. In a panicked response, in order to defend themselves, the British soldiers fired into the crowd - resulting in the deaths of five people.
What would the French Revolutionaries have done? No doubt they would have slaughtered every one of those soldiers and then storm the British garrison!
What did the Americans do? They held a fair trial of the soldiers - the soldiers being represented by none other than John Adams himself. The verdict? The soldiers had reason to defend themselves and most were acquitted. Only two soldiers were convicted of the lesser charge of reckless manslaughter and had their thumbs branded. After the soldiers' trial, the Americans then held trial for the mob that was taunting them. The message was clear, mobs wouldn't be tolerated and everyone would be treated the same under the law.
During the time leading up to the American Revolution, the most mob-like behavior occurred on December 16, 1773 - the Boston Tea Party. This "mob" was a response to the British's overwhelming tax burden on the colonies and their newly passed Tea Act of 1773. During the Tea Party, Samuel Adams and a group of men boarded a British merchant ship and threw its cargo of tea overboard. That's it. No one was injured. No one was killed. There was absolutely no violence involved whatsoever. Clearly, if this was a mob, it was vastly different than the mobs that would terrorize France!
What was the American response to the Boston Tea Party? Well, it was a mixed reaction. Samuel Adams presented his case defending his actions. He argued that this wasn't the actions of a lawless mob, but a principled stand for the rights of the colonies. At the same time, Benjamin Franklin declared that the loss of the tea should be repaid. Four colonial businessmen actually offered to repay the amount that the East India Company lost in tea!
Whatever one might say about the American Revolution, it was clearly not the result of a mob mentality!
An Awesome American Historian - David Barton
No Hard Feelings
What most people don't understand is that our Declaration of Independence wasn't a declaration of war. The Americans fought to defend their independence, not to make king George pay for what he did to them. At any point during the Revolutionary War, if the British would've just stopped fighting, that would have been the end of it. We would've given every British soldier passage back to Great Britain in peace.
How do I know this? Because this is exactly what happened when the British finally did surrender! There were no hard feelings, no last stand and slaughter of the British soldiers, and no revenge executions. After the war was over, around 65,000 men and women who were still loyal to Great Britain simply left the new states! Even the British general Cornwallis had a great amount of respect for George Washington, the American General he surrendered to.
You see, the Americans meant what they said about the British in the Declaration of Independence - "In war enemies, in peace friends."
The Declaration Of Independence
There's a reason that the American Declaration of Independence is still a powerful document. This wasn't the manifesto of disillusioned people. It wasn't the creed of angry peasants. It wasn't the written outrage of slighted people. The Declaration was a well-reasoned and rational response of civilized people to an oppressive dictator.
King George viewed the colonists as second-class citizens. He abused and even nullified the rights of these people as British citizens. He laid enormous tax burdens on them to bring more revenue to the crown. He denied their own right to govern themselves. All of these reasons, and more, were laid out in order inside the Declaration of Independence.
But American Independence wasn't a snap decision. The Colonies spent decades trying to reason with the British government. They did absolutely everything they could to continue as a part of the British empire. Yet, for all their effort, king George only insulted and oppressed them further.
When every other option was used up, when every other path was blocked, when it was clear that there was no other way for Americans to be free - our founding fathers declared that the time had come to be Independent.
I'm curious about how many of our own citizens have read this all-important document? How many of the people who are calling for a second revolution truly understand the first? Read this text carefully and do your best to look past the old-fashioned grammar. I guarantee you, if you pay attention to what's being said, it's not hard to understand at all!
This document explained why we were justified in breaking ties with Great Britain. This is the document that birthed our nation!
(Note: This was where I had the text from the Declaration, but because of Hubpages duplication rules, I had to post a link instead. Please, please, please go here to read it!)
Fifty-six of our leaders signed this paper. In the eyes of the king, they were criminals. But history now shows that they were right in severing their ties with Great Britain. This kind of thoughtfulness, this kind of reasoned response has never been seen in any other revolution around the world!
What's Really Missing In The "Second Revolution" Movement
Did you know that twenty-four out of fifty-six signers of the Declaration of Independence were Christian Pastors? Did you know that fifty-three of the signers were born-again Christians? And by "Christian" I mean committed, sold out, reading-their-Bible-every-day believers! Only three men (Jefforson, Franklin, and possibly Adams) are called deists - though they were still far more religious than most people today.
Take a look at some quotes from the least religious of our founding fathers:
"I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus. I have little doubt that our whole country will soon be rallied to the unity of our Creator." -Thomas Jefferson
"You desire to know something of my religion. It is the first time I have been questioned upon it. But I cannot take your curiosity amiss, and shall endeavor in a few words to gratify it. Here is my creed. I believe in one God, Creator of the Universe. That He governs it by His providence. That He ought to be worshiped. That the most acceptable service we render Him is doing good to His other children. That the soul of man is immortal, and will be treated with justice in another life respecting its conduct in this. These I take to be the fundamental principles of all sound religion, and I regard them as you do in whatever sect I meet with them." - Benjamin Franklin
"Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." - John Adams
Again, these are considered to be the most secular of our founders!
Patrick Henry said this about the founders of this country, "It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great Nation was founded not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For that reason alone, people of other faiths have been afforded freedom of worship here."
You see, the founders were solid, devoted believers in Jesus Christ. They didn't have this "me and God have a good thing going" attitude that so many professing Christians have today. Whether they were clergy or not, our founding fathers believed in the God of the Bible. They knew the doctrines of Christianity such as redemption, justification, and sanctification - how many believers today know about these things?
Our founders knew the God of heaven, and they committed their cause into His hands. Let's look at the most famous quote from Patrick Henry to illustrate this point: "An appeal to arms and the God of hosts is all that is left us. But we shall not fight our battle alone. There is a just God that presides over the destinies of nations. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone. Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it almighty God. I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death."
This firm conviction is almost completely absent among our generation. Very few people are as acquainted with God's Word as the most secular of our founders were. This commitment to the God of the Bible - to Jesus Christ - kept the Revolution on track. Their loyalty to the scriptures kept them in the right and never allowed them to cross moral lines.
Firm commitment to God and His Word - where did it go?
Another thing that set our revolutionaries apart is their view of the future. You see, the French were fighting for today. They wanted freedom, prosperity and equality instantly. This is why they pillaged castles and churches. This is why looting and ransacking were so common during the French Revolution. They were committed to making their own lives better.
But our founders were different. They weren't severing ties with Great Britain for themselves only. They had the future in mind! They knew that they were fighting for their children and grandchildren. They were fighting to give their families and descendants a better life than they themselves had. Many of these men gave their lives for this dream. Soldiers supplied themselves. Men willingly marched through the snow with no shoes, endured freezing nights with no blankets, and went for months eating only what they could muster themselves. Why did they do this? What did they get out of it? The answer is, they believed that they were paving the way to a bright future.
How many of our own citizens have this mindset? How many people in our own country are willing to lay down their own happiness and sacrifice the things they need to provide something better for two and three generations in the future? When was the last time you planned for your children's future, let alone your grandkids and great grandkids?
Vision for the future - completely lacking in our generations today...
Just like you, I am outraged at what our own government is doing to us. Just like you, I believe that we are less free now than we were fifty years ago. Like you, the shortcomings of our politicians are blindingly obvious to me. But listen when I tell you, there is nothing broken in our government that can't be fixed with the right people! We haven't even come close to exhausting every option we have.
So you decide. If a second revolution were to happen tomorrow, which pattern would it follow?
Would it be fashioned after the angry mob of the French or would it be like our own selfless founding fathers? I tend to believe it would be like the former. Why? Because "I'm angry that you took my money and my guns" is not even close to what's written in the Declaration of Independence.