This week, Americans celebrate our anniversary as a nation. But did you know that when the initial battles in the Revolutionary War broke out in April 1775, few colonists desired complete independence from Great Britain, and those who did were considered radical.
Although some politicians advocated independence from England—the average American, from any of the original colonies—wasn’t too hot on the idea.
Just one year before Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence, the desire for complete independence from the “mother country” was a radical idea. Those who embraced it were outliers, on the margins, living on the edge.
That’s usually how change takes place.
It starts with a few people who step forward with a radical idea. It’s so different from mainstream thinking that others mock it or laugh at it or consider it preposterous. People certainly did back in 1775 as the initial conflict ignited. Over time, however, things evolve. The idea gets some airplay. More folks buy in. Eventually, it doesn’t feel quite so radical. People consider the possibilities, especially if their current reality becomes increasingly tough.
So what changed people’s minds about independence in those early days?
- American’s witnessed a confirmation of those radical thoughts as British soldiers mistreated colonists.
- American’s began consuming pamphlets, like “Common Sense” written by Thomas Paine in 1776 that offered logical rationale to readers.
- American’s had enough time to get used to the idea, and the original small group became a critical mass of people.
Reflect on the progress we’ve made in our land due to this sequence of events:
- The American Revolution.
- The Abolitionist Movement.
- The Women’s Rights Movement.
- The Civil Rights Movement.
So—what marvelous and radical ideas do you have today? Have you collected a small group of people who buy into it like you do? Have you written anything that explains why the idea is an improvement? Have you given people enough time to embrace it?
As you celebrate Independence Day this week, don’t forget we still need positive change. Maybe you’re the person who needs to step up.