Our country has been engaged in military actions since the 1600’s when the Colonies were engaged in governing themselves by taking actions against the British, the French and the Native Indians. The “hallmark” of early military actions however was in this month of April in 1775, when delegates from the 13 American colonies of British America in Congress took action against Great Britain because of their objection to Britain’s taxation and lack of allowing colonial representation. That action became known as the American Revolutionary War (from 1775-1783). It was also known as the American War of Independence, and the Revolutionary War. The cost of victory in the 1754 to 1763 French and Indian War and the 1756 to 1763 Seven Years War left the British government deeply in debt; the colonies where the war was fought equipped and populated the British forces there, at the cost of millions of their own funds. The Stamp Act and Townshend Acts provoked colonial opposition and unrest, leading to the 1770 Boston Massacre and the 1773 Boston Tea Party. When Parliament imposed the Intolerable Acts upon Massachusetts, twelve colonies sent delegates to the First Continental Congress to draft a Petition to the King and organize a boycott of British goods.

There are many reasons that we as American Citizens should learn about and appreciate the actions and consequences that our early founders embarked upon. One reason would be how they forged a system of government that allowed ordinary citizens to be a part of the political process.

The harsh restrictions on trade and manufacturing imposed by the British were now over so new markets and trade relationships could be established.

I don’t know about you but I think that markets and trade are one place that our World might have a common ground, for the development of peace and tranquility? If each Nation had to depend on its neighbors for trade, markets and goods without the interference of government intervention just maybe wars and conflicts might lessen. We can then work on the different religious conflicts, territorial wars, revenge wars, civil conflicts (what is happening right now in our own Nation), nationalism (trying to prove superiority by force), revolutionary conflict (scary but this occurs when a large part of a nation revolts against the rules and leadership- might again hit close to home), or the one that gets me thinking is the ‘just’ war (one that would be considered defensive).

Fighting broke out on April 19,1775: the British garrison at Boston was harassed by Massachusetts militia at Lexington and Concord after destroying colonial Assembly powder stores. In June, the Second Continental Congress appointed George Washington to create a Continental Army and oversee the capture of Boston. The Patriots sent their Olive Branch Petition to the King and Parliament, both of whom rebuffed it. In response, they invaded British Quebec but were repulsed. In July 1776, Congress unanimously passed the Declaration of Independence. Hopes of a quick settlement were supported by American sympathizers within Parliament who opposed Lord North’s “coercion policy” in the colonies. However, after the British were driven out of Boston the new British commander-in-chief, General Sir William Howe, launched a counter-offensive and captured New York City. After crossing the Delaware, Washington engaged and routed Hessian forces at the Battle of Trenton and the British at the Battle of Princeton. After British General Burgoyne surrendered at the Battles of Saratoga in October 1777, Howe’s 1777–1778 Philadelphia Campaign captured that city. Washington retreated to Valley Forge during the winter of 1777-1778 where Prussian allied General von Steuben drilled the largely untrained Continental Army into an organized fighting unit.

French Foreign Minister Vergennes saw the war as a way to create an America economically and militarily dependent on France, not Britain. Although talks on a formal alliance began in late 1776, they proceeded slowly until the Patriot victory at Saratoga in October 1777. Fears Congress might come to an early settlement with Britain resulted in France and the United States signing two treaties in February 1778. The first was a commercial treaty, the second a Treaty of Alliance; in return for a French guarantee of American independence, Congress agreed to join the war against Britain and defend the French West Indies. Although Spain refused to join the Franco-American alliance, in the 1779 Treaty of Aranjuez, they agreed to support France in its global war with Britain, hoping to regain losses incurred in 1713.

This quote today is reality: “I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

Ronald Verini is a local veterans advocate who writes a weekly column for The Argus Observer. He can be contacted at (541) 889-1978, help@veteranadvocates.org or 180 W. Idaho Ave., Ontario, OR 97914. The views and opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily represent those of The Argus Observer.

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