The phrase caught my fancy. And it got me to thinking. I have just begun watching the HBO series on John Adams. Based on the book by David McCullough, which I read several years ago, this series covers the life of John Adams, second President of the U.S. and one of the architects of the American Revolution.
The convergence is that the same amount of time—five years—is what it took for the 13 colonies to achieve their independence. They declared their independence from King George III in 1776, and achieved military victory, with the surrender of General Cornwallis in 1781—five years.
As the 5 year anniversary of the war in Iraq was noted, President Bush asserted his absolute personal conviction that the goal of freedom for Iraq is worth whatever the cost. And as I watch the John Adams series, I can’t help but ponder the differences.
The colonial leaders who fought their way toward freedom from King George III anguished over the right course. The Continental Congress debates pitted the fiery New Englanders, who were front line in protesting the unfair tariffs imposed by England, against the pacifist conflict-avoiding Quakers in Pennsylvania. John Adams was thoroughly disgusted with the seeming hesitancy of the Pennsylvania delegation. But he knew, in his bones, that they ALL had to unite to achieve their independence.
When the Declaration of Independence was finally adopted, all 13 colonies had united in their opposition to King George III. Freedom was not an idea that some external entity suggested they try. They had experienced the increasingly unjust governing by the crown, and worked their way toward a new way of governing as 13 different colonies all united in one goal.
Five years on. Freedom is not fairy dust that you can grab a handful of and sprinkle it over a country. Enough said.