This Week's Story

Only in America would "such people" mix and argue about the government they wanted.

This Week’s Story relives American history and the Bible through brief inspiring stories presented on mp3 audio recordings and text for reading.

A Strange Grand Mixture, part one

A man wandered down the streets looking and wondering.  Where else could you find streets filled with people like these? He saw Native Americans wearing bright blankets and smoking clay pipes, wooden-shoed Dutchmen, hunters with six-foot-long rifles and leather jackets, Quakers in grey, slaves, and gentlemen in silk.  People from all Thirteen Colonies were here buying and selling in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1775. He heard Dutch, English, Scotch, Swedish, French -- too many languages and accents to sort out. Only here in America would such people mix.

Men were arguing business deals in coffee houses and taverns.  Some spoke loudly; some spoke quietly. Another subject lurked and erupted at a few tables. The man from the streets stepped into a coffee house.  He wanted to hear the talk swirling in the room.  How bold were these men in expressing anger against Britain?  He overheard many angry statements.

“For one hundred and thirty-four years we did not have a king disturbing our lives with unreasonable demands. We are free men. We can survive without the king.”

“Don’t be hasty, my friend.”

“Hasty? Are we to bow before the king’s demands just because he needs money?”

“No, we won’t bow.”

“We’ve been taxed unfairly, even ordered to buy manufactured goods only from England.”

“Taxation without representation, that’s wrong.  We should be able to send representatives to the Parliament.  We’re not slaves.”

“I don’t need to be told what I can buy, who my customers will be, how I will worship God, and where I will live.  I left England to get away from that domination.”

“My home has been violated. I’ve been forced to house soldiers.  I have a right to privacy in my home.  Yet the king insists that we find room for his soldiers.”

“We must obey his orders. We owe allegiance to King George and the authorities God has placed over us.”

“Don’t be simple. God expects us to work for justice.”

“Yes, we have been patient too long with injustice.  We haven’t worked together.  Each colony has had its own government and been under the king. We must unite.  We can send representatives from all thirteen of the colonies to our own Continental Congress.  There we will decide what to do.”

A voice agreed, “Let’s hope that works better than the Boston Tea Party.  Remember what the British did afterwards. Sure they had been putting our merchants out of business. We dumped 342 chests of their tea into the Boston harbor.  King George was so furious, he closed the harbor so people could not get enough food and supplies. Shipping was forced to stop; town meetings halted; and soldiers placed in our homes.”

An old man declared, “I’m a loyal subject of King George and I will not tolerate this treasonous talk.”

Another person asserted, “I’m American, not British.”

“What are you saying? Do you want war?”

“If there is no other way, yes!!”

Men got up and left.  This talk was getting too dangerous.

The curious stranger had watched and listened.  He concluded, “This strange grand mixture of people is moving towards war.  They have experienced enough freedom to know they are created to be free.  How will they work together to achieve justice?

This is Barbara Steiner.  Each year on July 4th Americans celebrate the Declaration of Independence, which we will explore in part two.

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