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by Miss Elliot

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In Johnny Tremain, there is a scene where the leaders of the Revolution in Boston have a meeting upstairs in the Lorne house. It is going to be their last meeting for a while, so they have invited one of the founders of their society, James Otis, to join them, even though a blow to the head from a fall has taken some of his wits from him. He comes a bit late, and Sam Adams is already in the middle of a speech. As Otis enters, Adams is saying, “…and we will fight.” Otis asks, “Why do we fight?” Some answer, “To rid us of these infernal redcoats”, “To rid ourselves of these taxes”, but Otis says no, that’s not enough reason for blood on our land. He asks again, “Why do we fight?”

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Johnny speaks up: “For the rights of Englishmen!” Yes, says Otis. But why stop at Englishmen? These rights extend to the peasants of France, the serfs of Russia. We fight so they know, and the whole world must know, that a man can stand up.

This is the spirit of the Declaration of Independence– all men are created equal, and they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.

True, the outer cause of the Revolutionary War was the fact that we were being taxed without being represented in England. But it’s about more than that. The leaders of the Revolution knew that all men are created equal, and they were ready to die to prove to the world that a man can stand up.

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