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Showing posts from January, 2016

The black-sheep founder

These are the times that try men’s souls.
That phrase is a stark truth from the American Revolution, yet most people can’t tell you who said it and where.  It’s not as if it didn’t deserve better.
Even if you believe the Revolution was a bad idea, given the inflation that funded it and the Hamiltonian government that emerged from it, it would be hard to find words more influential in determining our history.  
The argument in their favor goes something like this: In late 1776 Washington’s troops were chased from New York City and fled across New Jersey, finally settling across the Delaware River near Philadephia. Not only the British but many colonists were certain of their surrender, and only a Christmas break and snow were delaying the inevitable.  Legend has it that while the troops were camped out waiting for their enlistments to expire, one of them, Thomas Paine, a British expatriate who had arrived in the colonies only two years earlier, borrowed a fellow soldier’s drum to use a…