Right around eight a.m. on an icy winter morning, over two hundred thirty seven years ago, George Washington and the Continental Army reached the outskirts of Trenton, New Jersey. Much like Americans in today’s world, no-one wanted to go to New Jersey… But they were forced by circumstances to make the arduous trek. Washington’s force of 2,400 men surprised, and ultimately defeated, the 1,400 Hessian mercenaries who were fighting on behalf of the British Crown. A much needed win was tallied under the Patriot’s side of the scoreboard, emboldening the Continental Army and our quest for freedom.
Washington had lead his men through the icy waters of the Delaware and into an unforgiving snow storm on the evening of Christmas in 1776. (Kinda makes your family Christmas last year look like a picnic… Right?) The Hessians, who had greatly underestimated the Continental Army’s capabilities, was unaware and still groggy from an evening of Christmas festivities. (Way to go George: Sneak up on those crafty Germans when they’re hung-over… Churchill, take note.)
By the end of the battle at Trenton, four Americans had lost their lives. Over a thousand Hessians were captured. And while Washington was unable to hold onto the town (he had no artillery), the victory bore tremendous significance for the freedom of the colonies. In New Jersey, on December 26th in the year 1776, George Washington and his men cemented the concept of American exceptionalism and dedication to freedom.
The historical event is worth a few minutes of recollection as we trudge beyond July 4th, 2014, with an increasingly apparent devolution of freedom in America. After all, in the days of our founding, a simple tax on our breakfast beverage resulted in massive protests in Boston Harbor – and ultimately a few gunshots. Our founders were tired of being ruled by a body of “representatives” hundreds of miles away. They were fed up with the dictatorial nature of King George’s executive action, and disregard for individual property rights. (After all, the Third Amendment wasn’t about housing soldiers nearly as much as it was about protecting the sovereignty of Individual property rights.) Just imagine living in a land where one man in the executive branch could unilaterally alter law… It’s not that hard to imagine, is it?
Sure, King George never shoved universal healthcare down the throats of our Patriot founders; but he did enact taxes, regulation, and tariffs, with little more than a stroke of a pen. (No word, yet, on how often he decided to play golf. Obama just wrapped up round 180 of his Presidency.)