America’s formation as a sovereign nation did not happen instantaneously, and the cost was dear.
In 1584 Queen Elizabeth granted a charter to Sir Walter Raleigh to establish a colony in North America. Following an earlier failed expedition and attempt to colonize in 1584, Raleigh dispatched a new group of colonists in 1587 who (re)established a colony in Roanoke — also known as the Lost Colony.
In 1606, King James issued two charters one to the London Company (which became the Virginia Company) which included the southern territories on the eastern seaboard of “America,” one to the Plymouth Company, which included the northern territories. In 1607, the a colony was established in Jamestown, Virginia.
The remainder of the colonies followed:
- New Hampshire (established in the 1620’s)
- Massachusetts Bay (established in the 1620’s)
- Rhode Island and Providence Plantations (established 1636)
- Connecticut Colony (established 1636)
- Province of New York (proprietary colony 1664–1685)
- Province of New Jersey (proprietary colony from 1664)
- Province of Pennsylvania (a proprietary colony established 1681)
- Delaware Colony (a proprietary colony established 1664)
- Province of Maryland (a proprietary colony established 1632)
- Colony and Dominion of Virginia (proprietary colony established 1607, a crown colony from 1624)
- Province of Carolina (a proprietary colony established 1663)
- Divided into the Province of North Carolina and Province of South Carolina in 1712 (each became a crown colony in 1729)
- Province of Georgia (a crown colony established 1732)
King George III looked to the nascent colonies to alleviate Great Britain’s debt (much of which was incurred by the French and Indian War) by imposing a series of taxes/acts: The Stamp Act (1765), The American Duties Act (aka The Sugar Act, 1764), and The Currency Act (1764).
The Stamp Act taxed every piece of printed paper, including ship’s papers, legal documents, licenses, newspapers, other publications, even playing cards. The American Duties Act/Sugar Act taxed every gallon of imported molasses. The Currency Act regulated all monies printed in the colonies and disallowed payment of debt with said money — an attempt by England to bolster the British pound sterling.
A pivotal tax was The Tea Act of 1773, which granted the British East India Company Tea a monopoly on tea sales in the American colonies.
With each crippling tax and act, resentment among the colonies grew, proportionate to their desire for freedom. And concurrent with the exorbitant taxes (without representation, at the whim of King George and British royals), was the proposed disarmament of the colonies and seizure of gun powder stores.
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
Stephen P. Halbrook (foremost authority on the Second Amendment in America) writes in his excellent (and indispensable) book, The Founders’ Second Amendment: Origins of the right to Bear Arms:
From the Boston Tea Party through the Powder Alarm, a period taking place in the months just before through just after 1774, repressive measures against the increasingly troublesome Americans sharply escalated.
. . .
General Thomas Gage’s troops seized gunpowder in the powder houses, cutting of the supply of that essential commodity. Searches and seizures, including alleged entrapment, were instituted against those attempting to obtain and distribute arms.
Well aware that the colonists were making every effort to arm themselves, George III sought to cut off all arms and ammunition at the source, by prohibiting the export of these articles from Britain and elsewhere and the import thereof into the colonies. This arms embargo was combined with stepped-up search and seizure operations in Boston…
The “shot heard round the world” at Lexington and Concord in 1775 involved the Redcoats’ attempted seizure of arms being hoarded by militiamen and the repulse of these troops by the local citizens armed with their own muskets and sporting arms.
On the morning of Wednesday, April 19, 1775, a published account at the time recounts:
“Disperse you rebels! Damn you, throw down your Arms and disperse!” shouted British Major John Pitcairn at the militiamen gathered on Lexington’s common.
The militiamen of Lexington and Concord consisted of all able-bodied males aged 16 through 60, from its gentlemen and yeomen to its laborers and apprentices, excluding the town’s Harvard students and a dozen African American slaves. All provided their own arms except for a few poor men who had to borrow them.
Women and children assisted the militiamen in preparing for the conflict. On the eve of the clash, Militia Colonel James Barrett’s 15-year-old granddaughter Meliscent taught the other young women of the town how to assemble cartridges.
. . .
The patriots made good many shots at various distances. The Redcoats fired more rounds per hit than did the Americans. Some 50 Americans were killed, 39 wounded, and 5 missing, for a total of 94 casualties. According to Gage, the Redcoats suffered 65 killed, 157 wounded, and 27 missing, for a total of 272 casualties.
The patriots exhibited excellent marksmanship for shooting flintlocks in anger, many for the first time in their lives.
That opening salvo at the Battle of Lexington marked the beginning of the American War of Independence. And to this day patriots remember April 19 as “Patriots’ Day,” or “Shot Heard Round the World Day,” and commemorate the bravery of our forebears at ranges and in ceremonies across of the nation.
ROBAR President (LtCol USMC Ret.) Freddie Blish notes:
At this moment it is more important than ever to influence public opinion about our God given, Constitutionally affirmed civil liberty to keep and bear arms.
The “Shot Heard Round the World Day” is just that event. It allows us as firearms owners and industry representatives to share the message that without April 19, 1775 there would have been no July 4, 1776. If Colonial Militiamen had not stood their ground against a tyrannical government that sought to take their cannons, arms, powder, and ball, then we would still be subjects of a King and not citizens of a Republic.
The “Shot Heard ‘Round the World Day” is about going to a shooting range with family, friends, preferably bringing someone who has never shot before, and sharing our love of freedom.
What is Shot Heard Round the World Day?
It is an annual event held on April 19th, or the following Saturday for maximum audience, to commemorate the first shot of the American Revolution. It’s designed to be a light hearted event to draw new participants to public ranges, providing a safe opportunity to celebrate the birth of a nation. It provides enthusiasts and patriots an inviting destination to gather and learn about responsible firearm ownership
This event began quietly here in Arizona three years ago and has grown into ranges in 14 states last year. This is a non-profit grass root effort to help positively improve public opinion about our 2nd Amendment Right with every range in all 50 states celebrating this day with safe, responsible, firearm use.
The Shot Heard Round the World Day Mission Statement and Concord Hymn (by Ralph Waldo Emerson) below:
Join ROBAR and others as we remember and commemorate Shot Heard Round the World Day: this is a time to renew our fierce commitment to protecting our Second Amendment rights which those brave, early Americans fought for.
At a time when The Left seeks to strip us of our God-given right of self-protection, our U.S. Constitution codified right to keep and bear arms, let’s remember the price that was paid for our independence. And also remember that, “The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave.” (Patrick Henry, Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death speech, March 23, 1775)
Find a range near you to join in the stirring event:
A mere 243 years ago, brave farmers and other militiamen stood their ground, paid the price, and set us on a course to become the grandest experiment in liberty the world has ever known.
On April 19, 2018, join us in recommitting to the words of our 16th president, “…highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
Author’s note: It’s amazing how, even the most patriotic among us, can at times forget America’s astounding and providential history. I found re-reading Halbrook’s fine book, as well as other accounts of the opening skirmishes at Lexington and Concord, extremely moving, and challenge all of you to do the same. Too many in our nation take our freedoms forgranted and strive daily to undo the great works and sacrifices of our Founders. God help us to count the cost and continue the sacred duty of safeguarding liberty. Tami Jackson