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 Amanac.”
“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.“
The Oxford History of the American People by Samuel Eliot Morison (212-213).