Whenever I read a book about the history of the United States of America, I am impressed with the amazing hand of God. Some may call it what they will (some called the recapture of Boston luck while others called it the hand of Providence), but I see the mighty hand of God interjected into human affairs. And they want me to believe that God doesn’t work today. Hah!
I find it mind blowing to see how God uses little events to change the course of history. In “Flags of Our Fathers,” it was an accidental photograph on top Iwo Jima that inspired the nation to finish the war. In 1776, it was the capture of Trenton New Jersey. I find my reaction to the story that McCullough tells to be simply: Wow. Not sure that there’s anything more to say.
By the way, if you haven’t ever read David McCullough, you must. This is history like you haven’t read it before. He weaves a masterful tale that blends historical quotes, letters, and documents together along with his commentary and overview into a page turner. Mind you, this is history but not boring history. People have told me that McCullough was good, but let me say this: you haven’t read history written this well.
The story of 1776 is a story of an army’s birth. Washington took over the army in the middle of 1775 while the Continental army had the British bottled up in Boston. The Americans sought a resolution with England not independence. On December 31, 1775, most of the army was relieved of their contracts. Then as the army was disbanding before his eyes, Washington received, nay the army received the proclamation of King George. King George had declared that his army was to do whatever was necessary to squelch the rebellion. That proclamation stopped the exodus of the army, inspired the Declaration of Independence and breathed new life into the army.
And they want to say the timing was luck? Hah! God intervened in the history of this nation.
I won’t spoil the story for you, but suffice it to say, the year 1776 was about as bleak as life becomes. In fact, those immortal words, “these are the times that try men’s souls,” were penned during this time. The nation was fast losing faith in Washington for his indecision, bad judgment and inability to strategize. Yet, when it got blackest, the Lord intervened on December 27th, 1776. That was the turning point in the rebellion. If God had not granted a miraculous victory that blackest of nights, the war for independence would have been lost.
McCullough traces the first 18 months of Washington’s command. The war would continue for another six and half years, but after the brutal year of 1776, the rest was uphill.
Do yourself a favor this July. Read this book and appreciate what God has done to birth this nation. What other nation has ever had men willing to struggle and die through such terrible times? What other nation was birthed successfully with such great stress? This is truly a nation founded under the guiding hand of almighty God.