Whenever one visits eastern US states it’s easy to step back in time. Driving into the Philadelphia area signs feature familiar names like Brandywine, Valley Forge and the like. In the city there is a virtual adoration of the American Revolution, Ben Franklin, the Liberty Bell, etc. The first two are self-explanatory; the last photo is courtyard surrounded by Ben Franklin’s
including a post office with remnants of colonial streets. Franklin was the first postmaster:
A few short blocks from the Delaware River stands a new museum called the “Museum of the American Revolution”. Facing out from the building were guns taken from a colonial era man-of-war.
Filled with many interactive displays, artifacts and beautiful diaramas the museum makes the case for the war starting with a discussion of Britain as the preeminent world power:
Then showing how the Union Jack became the symbol of English dominance–by combining the flags of England and Scotland:
In fact the king’s coat of arms include visual references to Ireland–a harp, England–three Roses and lions, Scotland- the unicorn and the ancient right to govern France- with the Fleur-de-Lis:
From this point forward each exhibit tells the story of the how, what, which and why the colonies broke away. The colonists sought equality–a relatively new concept:
power over the purse–their financial condition:
liberty and equality for women:
and African Americans:
and for Native Americans who feared any war would hurt their desire to be left alone:
Religious freedom was also important especially for Roman Catholic and Jews:
These are symbols of the religions practiced in the colonies at this time:
Of course, you’re thinking that this is so darn obvious; but 250-years ago it wasn’t. And that’s the point of this museum — the fighting lasted eight years once the Declaration of Independence was signed and publicized.
For war and armament buffs the museum has lots of maps and weapons — one interesting fact is that this was the first “world war”:
For me the importance of the revolution was the spreading of the gospel of life, liberty and the pursuit of (individual and collective happiness) as stated in the Declaration of Independence:
As I pointed out earlier history is everywhere here–so after lunch at the “The Little Lion Tavern” this journey continued to Christ Church Cemetery–to view the grave of Ben Franklin:
and others of note:
I love the inscription on this particular stone:
and this gravestone surprised me:
From here it was off to see the Liberty Bell:
and then tour Independence Hall:
– where the Continental Congress met and settled on the course that eventually led to today’s US of A. The tour was led by Ted a loquacious Park Ranger:
The rooms in the hall are very small — perhaps claustrophobia had a role in the decision making process:
Outside the hall stood George Washington as the protector of liberty–fitting don’t you think?
It was hardly a leap to then visit Valley Forge:
Noteworthy because the mettle of Washington and the continents army was severely tested by natural elements and man-made obstacles:
Valley Forge created the opportunity to instill discipline and military training in the army. This would carry the war forward six more years and lead to alliances with France, the Netherlands and others.
Toward the end of the Valley Forge tour a definitive sign of victory can be seen:
The American Revolution isn’t an abstract series of ideas–it’s the embodiment of individuals who when pressed rose above the pettiness of life. In so doing they wrested control until such time as the tyrants in charge were finally tossed to the wolves.
There is is lesson to be learned should we care to listen.