Dominoes…. Keep thinking dominoes. What happened that started a chain of events called history? Where did the chain of events start and who tipped the domino where it all began? It almost makes history like a detective story! Think “CSI” …collecting the evidence and building a case for why things happen. Nothing happens in a vacuum.
American history didn’t just start one day in the early 1600’s at Jamestown or Plymouth. It didn’t start in the 1770’s as the Revolution unfolded. We need to look back at where the seeds for the Revolution started. What were the events that tipped the first domino? First, what was at the core of the American Revolution?
It was the idea that people could rule themselves, and that rights did not come from kings. They didn’t need a king! The Declaration and Constitution declare that the rights of man come from God. Government is to serve the needs of the people, not make them subjects of the government. It was a government “of the people, for the people and by the people”. Kings had no part.
This was a really radical and revolutionary idea! It had not been tried before. The ideas that needed to be thought for the Revolution to occur did not just pop up overnight. Events occurred over time. The seeds of those thoughts were sown over 200 years earlier and it took that time for the dominoes to fall, one at a time, until the domino called the American Revolution fell.
Throughout the centuries prior to the 1700’s individuals had little in the way of rights. Kings, emperors and tyrants ruled. There was no voice of the people. Government was by decree. What the king said became law. Occasionally the rulers would be benevolent and care for the common folks, but more often they were despots who ruled for their pleasure and power.
The folks (peasants) were there to serve the king. There were essentially the rulers (king with their nobles), the armies to enforce the will of the rulers, the church and the common folk or peasants. It was all very segregated and people knew their place.
Look back to this time and people were not educated; they had no books and did what they were told. The rulers and the Church had a pretty sweet thing going on, as well. If the kings didn’t have enough power with their armies, they also had the backing of the Church.
The Church came up with an idea called the Divine Right of Kings. Not only did the kings have armies, they had the Church telling the folks that the king was king because God ordained it. It was the way God set it up and they had to follow.
At that time, people did what they were told. They listened especially to the Church because they didn’t want to go to hell. This life was hell enough, and they looked forward to the hope that the afterlife held something better. AND, the Church told them they had the power to get a person into heaven, or keep them out. That was pretty much a lock on power over the people.
It stayed this way as long as people didn’t know better. We say today that “ignorance is bliss” but back then, ignorance kept people locked in the chains of kings and the Church ruling over them. This lasted for over 1,000 years and we call that period the Dark Ages. People lived in the dark because they didn’t know better.
The events that led to the end of the Dark Ages, is the first domino that fell which led to the revolutionary idea that became the American Revolution. More on that in the next blog.