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aileron
12-07-2007, 6:55 AM
Well, I must say, I was surprised at the depth and breath of the militia back in 1773. It was bigger and more pervasive than I thought in colonial times.

I was reading the preface to Red Dawn at Lexington. I thought I would share it here. It makes me wonder if the supreme court even has a clue as to how pervasive the militia was in that time and what it means to us as citizens. Basically I am more convinced that we should be training as citizens in the militia and the government shouldn't be interfering other than assigning officers and the like. As Hoffmang put it, positive regulation, not negative regulation.



From the Preface in the book "Red Dawn at Lexington."

.... During the first 150 years of colonial experience, which spanned seven or eight generations, intermarriages between the original English colonists and the descendants of German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, French and Danish cultures created a distinct cultural mix that, by 1773, was only partially loyal to Britain in tradition and attitude.

From the inception of the English colonies in 1607, a continuous series of conflicts between England and France created a permanent state of warfare between English and French colonists. The latter were usually supported by their fierce Indian allies. Out of necessity, the predominantly British colonists created a military society in which every able-bodies male from age sixteen to sixty automatically became a member of the organized militia. He was required to furnish and care for his musket or, if he were fortunate enough to possess one, the new Pennsylvania or Kentucky rifle. Battling French and/or Indian encroachments of colonial settlements, the average American experienced years of service in the field as a combat soldier.

Parliament and King George III consistently failed to understand this simple truth. They did not realize they were dealing with and armed population. In the letters sent home to their families, British army officers recounted the details of their shocking discovery regarding the military preparedness in the northern colonies. particularly in Massachusetts. New England had been the major area of conflict with the French and Indians for nearly a century and a half, and most men were veterans of provincial regiments.

The new England colonies had created a prosperous economy in which employment was available for anyone who wanted a job. There was a tremendous shortage of labor, and free workers were highly paid. Thousands of indentured servants were able, upon receiving their freedom, to save enough to open their own shops or businesses and become prosperous artisans or farmers. Land was cheap and plentiful and produced abundant foodstuffs. Forests teemed with wild game, and rivers and inlets were alive with fish easily caught by the use of hand nets.

Given and abundant diet of wide variety, Americans grew taller, stronger, and healthier and they lived longer than their European counterparts. The birth rate was the highest in the world, and families of ten or twelve living children were not uncommon. In 1775 the population of Massachusetts alone was 349,094; in Connecticut it was 197,856. The letters and diaries of British soldiers are filled with descriptions of these large, well-built Americans and their clear, unblemished skin. The women of the colonies received special tribute from the British, who described their lithe, slim bodies, and beautiful complexions. When French troops arrived to aid the Americans late in the Revolutionary War, they delightedly described American women as the most beautiful in the world.

British officers throughout the war were hard-put to prevent wholesale desertions among their men. The life that could be theirs as deserters in America was so much better than they could hope for in England that thousands deserted to the Americans despite brutal punishments meted out to those who were caught.

It was a life of comparative freedom. Before 1765, the colonies had, in actual practice, lived without any serious interference of regulations from the mother country. The long distance from England discouraged attempts to control the colonists, so long as the products of the colonies continued to enrich British merchants. Royal governors sent to oversee the colonies discovered upon arrival that their pay depended upon decisions of local colonial legislatures, and they quickly found it expedient to accept the situation of local autonomy rather than jeopardize the regularity of their income.

It was only in 1765, when king and Parliament attempted to collect money in a new manner to help defray the immense cost of the recently ended Seven Years war, that difficulties arose. Instead of asking the legislatures to vote funds to England ad previously had been done, the combined power of the king and his ministers was used to pass a stamp tax that would be gathered by tax collectors not under the control of the colonial legislatures. Although the Stamp Acts were soon repealed in the face of violent colonial protest, the British decided to send additional troops to America to maintain a semblance of authority and to shift onto the colonies the burden of feeding some of the numerous regiments of the British army.

Despite occasional outbreaks of violence, including the so-called Boston Massacre, tensions gradually lessened, and by 1773 it appeared that the troubles in New England were over. Just at this time, the fatal decision was made by Parliament to revive the tax question as a means of saving the nearly bankrupt East India Company. This move may have been hastened by the fact that most Tory members owned shares in the huge import-export company. The colonial response to the British monopoly and tax on tea came in December 1773, when a horde of disguised militiamen of Boston and the surrounding towns destroyed Boston's allotment of tea in what came to be known ad the Boston Tea Party. The entire affair was organized by England's greatest enemy, Samuel Adams, one of a handful of colonists who dreamed of eventual independence from England.

The ministry's angry reaction was to close the Port of Boston and send additional regiments there to overawe the population and quell opposition. Shortly thereafter, a series of laws that the Americans called the Intolerable Acts abolished trial by jury, town meetings, and other privileges that Americans had enjoyed for a century and a half, privileges they thought of as the "the rights of Englishmen." The Intolerable Acts were followed by other laws that soon destroyed the economy of New England, largely by prohibiting American fishing rights on the Grand Banks in the north Atlantic. In a move certain to give the Southern colonies common cause with New England, Parliament surprisingly extended the same prohibitions to them.

Inevitably, thousands of unemployed sailors, fishermen, stevedores, shipbuilders, craftsmen, clerks, warehousemen, and wagon drivers were available for the Massachusetts militia. Gradually New England became and armed camp, with hundreds of militia companies drilling along village greens. British officers stationed in Boston watched the developments with growing apprehension, and they wrote of the burgeoning power and size of a New England army.

Back in London, the colonial militia was ridiculed as a bad joke. The British ministry apparently had forgotten the colonial contribution to victory in the French and Indian War. Americans had furnished nearly 100,000 troops during the war, many of whom were now ready to use again what they had learned. Hundreds of Americans had risen from the ranks to become officers, and some were recognized as superb combat officers by the British themselves. Such men as George Washington, Israel Putnam, William Prescott, Artemas Ward, William Heath, and John Stark represented many years of military experience. Also, a sense of military pride had developed among the officers and men during the successful conclusion of the French and Indian War, which ended in 1763. The science of supplying large numbers of men had been developed to a high degree by American military planners, and the strategy of eighteenth-century warfare had been refined under combat conditions to relate to American terrain and circumstances.

During the eighteenth century, battlefield differences between the trained soldiers of the king and American militiamen were not great. Modern weapons that give industrial nations of the twentieth century immense advantages, such as trucks, tanks, and planes were unknown, Consequently, military decisions depended on men carrying muskets into battle, with the occasional use of field cannon. If the British had any advantage, it was in the massed firepower created by close formations of highly disciplined men supported by the Royal Artillery.

It has been estimated that over 700,000 men of military age were available to the American forces during the Revolutionary War, most of them trained members of militia companies scattered throughout the colonies. Although most of those men never saw combat, they were available whenever needed. And in fact, two of the greatest American victories of the war, Bennington and Kings Mountain were won by quickly organized, local militia regiments. The British armies at Bennington and King's Mountain did not realize that there were any American forces nearby until the moment of attack....

cartman
12-07-2007, 9:27 AM
Reading that just reminds me why I love being an American.

Patriot
12-07-2007, 9:35 AM
That got me thinking, anyone want to hazard a guess as to the total theoretical strength of modern America's militia (unorganized +organized) based on:

(a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.
(b) The classes of the militia areó
(1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and
(2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.


Of course arms availability and "abled-bodied" :eek: would pose substantial obstacles to the effectiveness of modern militias.

Can'thavenuthingood
12-07-2007, 9:49 AM
A hard number to come with since an individuals attitude or mindset plays a large role in facing a foe.
Able bodied would encompass the mindset.

Going to add this book to my list of things to read. Have you finished it?
Is it a good read all the way through?

Vick

aileron
12-07-2007, 11:12 AM
Going to add this book to my list of things to read. Have you finished it?
Is it a good read all the way through?

Vick

I'm about to read it, and hear it is a great read. Really, really good.

Dr. Peter Venkman
12-07-2007, 11:26 AM
Sources for the "first-hand" accounts?

Can'thavenuthingood
12-07-2007, 2:23 PM
This is from a critic in 1986. Says first hand accounts are from journals etc of people who were there.

Vick

-------------------------------------------------------------
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A0DE4DE1138F934A15754C0A9609482 60&n=Top/Reference/Times%20Topics/People/H/Herron,%20Caroline%20Rand

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/misc/logoprinter.gif (http://www.nytimes.com/)

July 27, 1986
IN SHORT: NONFICTION

By CAROLINE RAND HERRON
RED DAWN AT LEXINGTON: ''If They Mean to Have a War, Let It Begin Here!'' By Louis Birnbaum. (Houghton Mifflin, $18.95.)
''My intent,'' wrote Louis Birnbaum in the preface to this account of how king, Parliament and the colonies of New England stumbled to irreconcilable conflict, ''is to enliven the events recounted here, events that too often seem to be stale folklore.'' And when it works, that is exactly what ''Red Dawn at Lexington'' does. Mr. Birnbaum, who died in 1983, was for many years a social studies teacher in the Los Angeles school system. He brings the indefatigable enthusiasm of a buff to bear on the three years from April 1773 to March 1776, extracting from participants' journals and letters, contemporary chronicles and later histories the kind of lesson in history only a buff can convey. From the pell-mell mess of colonial Boston, to the inner councils of generals and gentlemen farmers, to the panicked (or was it purposeful?) shot fired at Lexington Green and the blunders of Bunker Hill and Dorchester Heights, the book is full of wonderful detail. But while all detail is interesting, some details are more interesting than others. A useful thread through the thicket might have been Mr. Birnbaum's sympathies, clearly stated. He would, one suspects, have liked Cincinnatus. He didn't seem much to like Samuel Adams, whose resentment at a familial loss of fortune and reputation, and understanding of ''the use of political power'' turned Britain's battle with Boston into ''the first successful colonial revolution in history.''

metalhead357
12-07-2007, 5:42 PM
A hard number to come with since an individuals attitude or mindset plays a large role in facing a foe.
Able bodied would encompass the mindset.

amen on that. But if the stats are true about 80 million gun owners....say even *only* 10% are within the age and mindset....that still 8 million:eek: Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase- Bring it on!;)

G17GUY
12-07-2007, 6:17 PM
:hurray::gunsmilie::38::cheers2::grouphug::37:

davedog665
12-19-2007, 10:14 PM
i think im goin to get this book tommorrow any others i should look for?

Forever-A-Soldier
12-19-2007, 10:28 PM
OK, I'M DOING ALL CAPS SO EVERYONE HEARS ME. THIS IS A MUST HAVE BOOK! I read it a couple of years ago and then bought my own copy. It is one of the best books on the colonial militia and the beginning of the Revolutionary War I've ever read. In fact, I think I'll read it again this holiday.

I can't recommend it enough.

F.A.S. Out

Rhys898
12-19-2007, 10:41 PM
good luck on that, amazon doesn't even carry it (although it is available used from other sellers on amazon). As far as I can tell it was only printed the one time in 1986. We should get a copy to pass around though.

Jer

Liberty1
12-20-2007, 1:20 AM
the real "Red Dawn"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SERn6ADLPTE&feature=related


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UyL-skCrYF4&feature=related

aileron
12-20-2007, 5:19 AM
i think im goin to get this book tommorrow any others i should look for?


Get it from here, its usually cheaper; this is where to find good used books on the cheap.

http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?sts=t&tn=Red+Dawn+at+lexington&x=0&y=0

OTHER BOOKS

A Right to Bear Arms: State and Federal Bills of Rights and Constitutional Guarantees (Contributions in Political Science) (Hardcover)
by Stephen P. Halbrook (Author)

I actually need to read this one myself.
That Every Man Be Armed: The Evolution of a Constitutional Right (Independent Studies in Political Economy)
by Stephen P. Halbrook (Author)

My favorite
To Keep and Bear Arms: The Origins of an Anglo-American Right (Paperback)
by Joyce Lee Malcolm (Author)

Its good too.
Guns and Violence: The English Experience (Paperback)
by Joyce Lee Malcolm (Author)


I read a lot. Another one that I sometimes carry wherever I go is:


The Second Amendment Primer
A Citizens Guidebook to the History, Sources, and Authorities for the Constitutional Guarantee of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms
http://www.palladiumpress.com/primers.asp#2

They also have,
The Bill of Rights Primer.

And a few more I need to buy.

If I could only get one or two out of this I would go first with Joyce Malcolm's "To Keep and Bear Arms: The Origins of an Anglo-American Right" and then get the 2nd amendment primer.


p.s. Thanks FAS for endorsing Red Dawn at Lexington. ;)

westcoastr
12-21-2007, 7:40 AM
sounds like a good read, and much of what the author wrote about the great life in america vs england appears to be corraborated in other first hand accounts. but lets not re-write history to glorify our founding fathers too much. most were wealthly and had a lot to lose from taxation. and lets face it, washington was a poor general, but really lucked out with good senior officers, unbelievable staying power, and help from the FRENCH. 1776 (the book) was gleamed from washington's own letters and pretty much showed that he constantly wanted to amass large frontal assults, which almost aways led to defeat. while sneak attacks and ambushes were the tactics that led to most of their victories.

and regarding the state of the northern local militias, life was SO good that they were drunk on rum most of the time.

so don't get too drunk on patriotism.....

AfricanHunter
12-21-2007, 8:37 AM
i think im goin to get this book tommorrow any others i should look for?

Unrelated but "Unintended Consequences" is a must read

davedog665
02-26-2008, 9:02 PM
Sweet i had ordered the book before i read your post but i just received it today. Im pretty excited to read i really enjoy history and i find the American revolution to be very interesting. when i was about 9 i went to Boston. we visited all the sites and i actually got to go into the tower at bunker hill that was awesome.

I went to amazon after going to my local bookstores to find out its out of print. i paid about $3 for the book and about the same for shipping but i got a nice hard back:D

Get it from here, its usually cheaper; this is where to find good used books on the cheap.

http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?sts=t&tn=Red+Dawn+at+lexington&x=0&y=0

OTHER BOOKS

A Right to Bear Arms: State and Federal Bills of Rights and Constitutional Guarantees (Contributions in Political Science) (Hardcover)
by Stephen P. Halbrook (Author)

I actually need to read this one myself.
That Every Man Be Armed: The Evolution of a Constitutional Right (Independent Studies in Political Economy)
by Stephen P. Halbrook (Author)

My favorite
To Keep and Bear Arms: The Origins of an Anglo-American Right (Paperback)
by Joyce Lee Malcolm (Author)

Its good too.
Guns and Violence: The English Experience (Paperback)
by Joyce Lee Malcolm (Author)


I read a lot. Another one that I sometimes carry wherever I go is:


The Second Amendment Primer
A Citizens Guidebook to the History, Sources, and Authorities for the Constitutional Guarantee of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms
http://www.palladiumpress.com/primers.asp#2

They also have,
The Bill of Rights Primer.

And a few more I need to buy.

If I could only get one or two out of this I would go first with Joyce Malcolm's "To Keep and Bear Arms: The Origins of an Anglo-American Right" and then get the 2nd amendment primer.


p.s. Thanks FAS for endorsing Red Dawn at Lexington. ;)

troyus
02-27-2008, 9:55 AM
"The women of the colonies received special tribute from the British, who described their lithe, slim bodies, and beautiful complexions. When French troops arrived to aid the Americans late in the Revolutionary War, they delightedly described American women as the most beautiful in the world."

Haha, how things change!!! Well... not everything... the British are still ugly... but the French.. coming here for slim women!!! You don't hear about that anymore. :p

aileron
02-27-2008, 11:31 AM
Sweet i had ordered the book before i read your post but i just received it today. Im pretty excited to read i really enjoy history and i find the American revolution to be very interesting. when i was about 9 i went to Boston. we visited all the sites and i actually got to go into the tower at bunker hill that was awesome.

I went to amazon after going to my local bookstores to find out its out of print. i paid about $3 for the book and about the same for shipping but i got a nice hard back:D

Great to hear it. Glad to help and hope more will read it having seen this thread revived. :D

davedog665
02-28-2008, 9:23 PM
Ya i really don't read much but after reading the first couple chapters i remember why i used to read so often. I've told some friends about the book and they're eagerly awaiting my finishing of the book.