American history is replete with stories of heroism, challenges, failures and successes. These stories create the tapestry on American history. They are our birthright and heritage.
We know the big names like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton and George Mason. We’re familiar with the stories of Lexington and Concord, Valley Forge and the Boston Tea Party.
Some of the more fascinating stories are from unsung heroes whom we’ve never heard of. One of these heroes is Captain Levi Preston.
Captain Preston was a revolutionary soldier in the Continental Line. He fought in the Battle of Lexington and Concord. In 1843, a young Dartmouth student named Mellen Chamberlain set out to gather the stories of the remaining Revolutionary soldiers. Sixty-seven years had passed since the United States declared independence. Chamberlain realized if someone didn’t act, their stories would be lost forever.
Although accounts vary, this was the content of the interview.
Chamberlain: “Captain Preston, why did you decide to leave your farm and fight the British at Concord? We’re you upset with the Stamp Act?”
Preston: “Never bought a one of them. I was told the Governor locked them in the Armory.”
Chamberlain: “Were you upset with the tax on tea?”
Preston: “Never drank the stuff. I heard the boys in Boston threw some in the harbor.”
Chamberlain: “Had you read the writings of Locke, Sidney and Harrington about the principles of liberty?”
Preston: “Never heard of any of those fellows. We read the Almanac, the Bible and the Catechism.”
Chamberlain: “Well, I suppose you were revolting against the oppression of King George III?”
Preston: “Never felt a wit of it. I just farmed my land.”
By this time, Chamberlain was really confused. Everything he had learned of why we fought the Revolution seemed to be incorrect. Finally, Chamberlain asked, “Well, why did you leave your farm to fight the British?
Preston responded, “We had always governed ourselves. We always intended to govern ourselves and them British intended that we shouldn’t.”
What a simple, yet eloquent explanation of why our ancestors decided to fight the War for Independence. Farmers, doctors, lawyers and businessmen left their lives and families behind to fight the best trained, best equipped fighting force on Earth.
What can we learn from Captain Preston? We see that ordinary people can accomplish extraordinary things. As a grassroots organization, this begins with our District Captains. A District Captain (DC) is the leader for COS, in their state legislative district. The DC works directly with the grassroots to educate them about the Constitution and how The Framers provided us a solution to check an out of control federal government.
We hope you will consider being a District Captain or a member of the District Captain Team. Each of us can exemplify Captain Preston’s spirit as a self-governing citizen.
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