The American Crisis: November 2012

2012 November 8

On Christmas Day, George Washington ordered that The American Crisis by Thomas Paine, published as a pamphlet only two days earlier, be read to the troops. I told the story of that momentous Christmas of 1776 in the “…the acts and choices of ordinary people…”.

Sergeant R. described what happened almost a week later on December 31.

Three or four days after the victory at Trenton, the American army re-crossed the Delaware into New Jersey. At this time our troops were in a destitute and deplorable condition. The horses attached to our cannon were without shoes, and when passing over the ice they would slide in every direction and could advance only by the assistance of the soldiers. Our men, too, were without shoes or other comfortable clothing; and as traces of our march towards Princeton, the ground was literally marked with the blood of the soldiers’ feet. Though my own feet did not bleed, they were so sore that their condition was little better.

While we were at Trenton, on the last of December, 1776, the time for which I and most of my regiment had enlisted expired. At this trying time General Washington, having now but a little handful of men and many of them new recruits in which he could place but little confidence, ordered our regiment to be paraded, and personally addressed us, urging that we should stay a month longer. He alluded to our recent victory at Trenton; told us that our services were greatly needed, and that we could now do more for our country than we ever could at any future period; and in the most affectionate manner entreated us to stay. The drums beat for volunteers, but not a man turned out. The soldiers, worn down with fatigue and privations, had their hearts fixed on home and the comforts of the domestic circle, and it was hard to forego the anticipated pleasures of the society of our dearest friends.

The General wheeled his horse about, rode in front of the regiment and addressing us again said, “My brave fellows, you have done all I asked you to do, and more than could be reasonably expected; but your country is at stake, your wives, your houses and all that you hold dear. You have worn yourselves out with fatigues and hardships, but we know not how to spare you. If you will consent to stay only one month longer, you will render that service to the cause of liberty and to your country which you probably never can do under any other circumstances. The present is emphatically the crisis which is to decide our destiny.”

The drums beat the second time. The soldiers felt the force of the appeal. One said to another, “I will remain if you will.”

Others remarked, “We cannot go home under such circumstances.”

A few stepped forth, and their example was immediately followed by nearly all who were fit for duty in the regiment, amounting to about two hundred volunteers.

An officer enquired of the General if these men should be enrolled. He replied: “No! men who will volunteer in such a case as this need no enrollment to keep them to their duty.”

On January 3, 1777 Washington and his men and the forces of those generals under him captured the British garrison at Princeton.

At that point, some of Colonel Cadwalader’s troops came up over Orchard Hill, but the more experienced British pushed them back too, leaving bayonet-pierced bodies in their wake. A rout of the Americans seemed to be in the offing, but then their commander suddenly appeared on the scene. While Maj. Gen. Nathanael Greene rallied and reorganized his troops, Washington advanced to within 30 yards of the British line. A round was fired, and suddenly the Redcoats loosed a full volley of musket balls. When the smoke cleared, however, still atop his fine horse was the tall, lean figure of General Washington. ‘Charge!’ he ordered, ‘Charge them! Pull up! Pull up!’

The Patriots regrouped, and soon it was the Redcoats who fell back. Remembering the enemy bugler’s call on Harlem Heights, Washington pressed forward, crying out, ‘It’s a fine fox hunt, boys!’

One of the officers wrote a few days later:

Our army love their General very much, but they have one thing against him, which is the little care he takes of himself in any action. His personal bravery, and the desire he has of animating his troops by example, make him fearless of danger. This occasions us much uneasiness. But Heaven, which has hitherto been his shield, I hope will still continue to guard so valuable a life.

David McCullough said:

Washington wasn’t chosen by his fellow members of the Continental Congress because he was a great military leader. He was chosen because they knew him; they knew the kind of man he was; they knew his character, his integrity. . . .

Washington was not, as were Adams, Jefferson, Franklin, and Hamilton, a learned man. He was not an intellectual. Nor was he a powerful speaker like his fellow Virginian Patrick Henry. What Washington was, above all, was a leader. He was a man people would follow. And as events would prove, he was a man whom some—a few—would follow through hell.

Don’t get the idea that all of those who marched off to serve under Washington were heroes. They deserted the army by the hundreds, by the thousands as time went on. When their enlistments came up, they would up and go home just as readily as can be, feeling they had served sufficiently and they needed to be back home to support their families, who in many cases were suffering tremendously for lack of income or even food. But those who stayed with him stayed because they would not abandon this good man, as some of them said.

What Washington had, it seems to me, is phenomenal courage—physical courage and moral courage. He had high intelligence; if he was not an intellectual or an educated man, he was very intelligent. He was a quick learner—and a quick learner from his mistakes. He made dreadful mistakes, particularly in the year 1776. They were almost inexcusable, inexplicable mistakes, but he always learned from them. And he never forgot what the fight was about—“the glorious cause of America,” as they called it. Washington would not give up; he would not quit.

We stand again in an American Crisis. Whatever men may say, it is a crisis not of finance, but at root a crisis of character and faith in God. The question to ask ourselves is not whether we have contributed to the ruination of our country’s finances, but whether we have contributed to the ruination of the American soul. Cynicism and contempt for our fellow citizens is also one of the paths to the bankruptcy of our nation.

Over the last few years as I have written numerous posts on fortitude and perseverance with the purpose of encouraging others, I have done so at a time when my family has had no home of our own and has been forsaken by both friends and relatives, and I have noted with irony the wallowing in the luxury of pessimism by some in circumstances of ease. We all have our moments of discouragement and even despair when we need the help of others, but what is the overall pattern and thrust of your days? Of your words? Of your deeds? The day of small things will lead to the day of larger things, only if we encourage and influence others to act rightly even as we do the same.

THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.

To stand by our country today means first to fall to our knees before Almighty God in humility and repentance, praying mercy not only for ourselves, but for all. It is no coincidence that Mel Bradford found that of the 150 to 200 principal Founders, almost all were “ordinary Christians . . . members in good standing of the various Christian communions found in early America.” The key to their perseverance of character was not in their circumstances or background, but in the Lord Jesus Christ.

So I ask you, as we live in these times that try our souls, how does your soul fare? Do you act in righteousness, love kindness and walk humbly with God?

Those men of 1776 did not know the future. Neither do we. Pray God in Him mercy to raise up leaders like Washington. Pray God in His mercy to enable you to honor Him with your words and your deeds whatever the outcome of events.

…as traces of our march towards Princeton, the ground was literally marked with the blood of the soldiers’ feet.

Paine wrote of times “in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive.” Summer and sun never try men’s souls—only the cold and dark of December and January nights. Those men marked the snow with the character of their soul. With what are the traces of your march towards your battles marked?

General George Washington rallying his troops at the Battle of Princeton, William Ranney: Public Domain.
Sergeant R——, “Battle of Princeton,” Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, vol. 20 (1896), 515–16. The Sergeant also wrote, “(About half of these volunteers were killed in the battle of Princeton or died of the small pox soon after.)”
Source: Henry Steele Commager and Richard B. Morris, eds. The Spirit of ‘Seventy-Six: The Story of the American Revolution as Told by Participants (Edison, 2002), 519-20.
Battle of Princeton,
The George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, The American Revolution, 1776, 1777, January 5, 1777.
David McCullough, “THE GLORIOUS CAUSE OF AMERICA,” BYU Magazine, Winter 2006.
M. E. Bradford, “Religion and the Framers: The Biographical Evidence,” Original Intentions: On the Making and Ratification of the United States Constitution.

Crossposted at Upstream Politics.

If any of you are interested in learning more about becoming a Christian or about me, you can read my story here.

Original Content Copyright © 2012 I. N. Carpenter

42 Responses leave one →
  1. 2012 November 8 11:55 pm

    Thanks, MPT.

    Slavery was a difficult compromise—and I think a heinous one. At the time I believe each state considered itself to basically be sovereign in determining its own laws, and more power resided in the state than in the federal union.

    You may remember that Romney was not my 1st, 2nd, 3rd or even 4th choice. I had many disagreements with his past record. J. E. Dyer, who used to blog infrequently at Hot Air, wrote this back in July, and some of her thoughts described my thinking:

    . . .In 2012, however, conservatives simply can’t make of Romney a “what we believe in” choice. He is instead a “prudent tactics” choice: a placeholder who will basically not be Obama for the next four years.

    The only strategically significant point of having a placeholder is so that the people themselves can regroup. Romney cannot be a savior, and in policy terms, he is not the answer to our problems. In the foreseeable future, we have to do the heavy lifting.

    What I would like to suggest is that it has been unrealistic all along for American voters to imagine that we can find, every four years, a political avatar of all our hopes and dreams. That is an unrealistic view of politics, and a dangerous view of the role government should play in our lives. It is essentially the role defined by the left for its favorite sons.

    Too many voters have fallen prey to wanting a combination of a celebrity and a savior. While I don’t believe most on the right have succumbed to this, I do think things have been so bad, and we have suffered so much from politicians who do the opposite of what they promise that we’ve longed for one person to get in there and clean house. People wanted a “what we believe in” choice, and from some stats I’ve read it seems they weren’t able to overcome their disappointment that there was no ABR and their suspicion of Romney’s liberal record. They didn’t think through why we needed to get rid of Obama even with a flawed candidate.

  2. 2012 November 9 5:42 am
    MI Conservative permalink

    Great Post INC. And the one before this.

    Real busy today and wanted to post a couple of items.

    Got football picks in bc from Penn St. And I’m staying away from the showers.HAHAHA

    justrand and justmary—

    Do not keep this site open if you cannot afford it. And do not keep it open if the stress of running it is too much. I do not want you getting sick over it.

    If it is open I will continue to post when possible. I know I am hot and cold in my posts depending on my schedule. This past 2 years I published two books with the help of 10 hockey players. Visited most of them. In 12 months I have been to MSU 3 times (close). Colorado College, Denver University, University of New Hampshire, UMASS-Lowell, Amarillo, Texas, Indianapolis, and in the middle of Penn St. and Youngstown. Plus a 5 day road trip on team bus to Dubuque and Chicago. And met players three times in Detroit in the summer to finish the book. Plus, worrying about book and pictures which I do most of and then players add and change things. While doing this I sub at the local Catholic high school and I have my 95 yr old mom move in with me to keep her out of nursing home. Upkeep of house and yard. No wonder I talk to myself!!!

    My point is I could not have done such a great job that you do with the site. I really do appreciate it.

    My last thought is you might be totally lost and depressed after you close down. This might be good for you health wise too. Keeps your mind sharp and keeps you looking forward. Whatever is decided I understand.

  3. 2012 November 9 6:12 am

    What a great reminder.

  4. 2012 November 9 6:14 am
    drdog09 permalink

    This is a reminder too of why the Repubs are not an effective force in American politics anymore — — Just roll over and take it.

  5. 2012 November 9 6:24 am
    justrand permalink

    KH, thank you for your kind words and support. “Something” will be in this space…we’re working on it.

    INC, thank you for this post…magnificent!! I have a Price of Freedom that I will schedule to go up in a couple hours. This post deserves to be at the top so everyone can read and absorb it.

  6. 2012 November 9 6:24 am
    drdog09 permalink

    Fear of the State — — Just look at the list of layoffs! If BLS says we have job growth in 4Q they have an excellent pharmacist.

  7. 2012 November 9 6:33 am
    bc3b permalink

    It appears the Romney/GOP Get Out the Vote Election Day Effort was one huge clusterf#ck

    In addition to the Breitbart column (above) I have read accounts by volunteers at Lucianne and other sites describing how things were totally screwed up foe much of the day.

  8. 2012 November 9 6:36 am
    bc3b permalink

    In case you needed a reason not to listen to Sean Hannity (other than he is boring, repititous and a GOP establishment tool):


    “It’s simple to me to fix it,” Hannity said. “I think you control the border first. You create a pathway for those people that are here — you don’t say you’ve got to go home. And that is a position that I’ve evolved on. Because, you know what, it’s got to be resolved. The majority of people here, if some people have criminal records you can send them home, but if people are here, law-abiding, participating for years, their kids are born here, you know, first secure the border, pathway to citizenship, done.”

    “You can’t let the problem continue — it’s got to stop,” the conservative radio host added

    Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.

  9. 2012 November 9 6:39 am
    bc3b permalink

    I have already written my Congressman, pleading that he vote for someone other than John Boehner as Speaker. I suggest you do also (assuming your rep is a Republican):

    Boehner offered optimism that his party could come to an agreement with Obama on immigration, a subject that has hurt the GOP with Hispanic voters.

    “This issue has been around far too long,” Boehner said in the ABC interview. “A comprehensive approach is long overdue, and I’m confident that the president, myself, others can find the common ground to take care of this issue once and for all.”

    Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ

    When did I hear that an amnesty would solve the issue of illegal immigration “once and for all?” Oh, yea. 1986.

  10. 2012 November 9 6:46 am

    It appears the Romney/GOP Get Out the Vote Election Day Effort was ond huge clusterf#ck

    After 4 years of the messiah, one would think that any special GOTV drive would be unnecessary.
    If the GOP base wasn’t motivated by then, they never would be.

  11. 2012 November 9 6:51 am
    justrand permalink

    Amen, IP!

  12. 2012 November 9 6:53 am
    drdog09 permalink


  13. 2012 November 9 6:56 am
    drdog09 permalink

    The US by the time Obama is through —

  14. 2012 November 9 6:59 am

    8 – Wow, what a clust-f*.

  15. 2012 November 9 7:08 am

    Romney made an appeal for more “jobs”. Unfortunately for the great unwashed, there was a greater demand for free shit than jobs. Promising jobs in today’s milieu is casting pearls before the swine.

  16. 2012 November 9 7:13 am
    mulletover permalink

    INC, thank you for returning and posting yet another message of inspiration. This was an uplifting read, and I will be the first to admit I have been very despondent the past few days. It seems the last bit of hope dissolved Tuesday night. If the Roberts decision was a roundhouse to the jaw, the reelection of obama was a total gut punch. I was devastated.

    While I care not for myself, I fear for my children and the children of others. We are not the country we once were. The evolving “give me mine now” culture in the country weakens us as a nation, and distracts us from thinking of the Founders dreams of liberty and happiness. What kind of country are we leaving?

    I have always been a person of faith, and in the past few months, I’ve prayed a lot. Perhaps I was too materialistic in my conversations with the Almighty, or expected instant gratification. I should move away from my daily worries and ascend to a higher plane, and cleanse myself in His promise to us.

    We can rise to the challenges. Your post is a great reminder of why we must.

    God Bless you and all here at BJG.

  17. 2012 November 9 7:14 am
    bc3b permalink

    KH #16 –

    Unlike most IT issues, with elections there is an extremely small time frame in which to get it right.

  18. 2012 November 9 7:19 am
    bc3b permalink

    Nothing could hasten the destruction of the United States more than amnesty for 12 – 25 million illegal aliens. If John Boehner and others think that supporting amnesty will motivate Hispanics to vote Republican, they are even more delusional than I think they are.

    As long as the Dems give more “free sh!t,” they will overwhelmingly vote Democratic (especially illegals that become citizens).

  19. 2012 November 9 7:20 am

    stranger in a strange land: (heinlein)

    I think it may be helpful for some of us to look upon the

    situation as though we were just visiting a foreign country

    as an observer. Think of yourself as visiting Greece or Spain,

    just to see what happens next, not being too concerned because

    it really isn’t your country anyway. This isn’t our country anymore,

    so just sit back and watch what unfolds with as much detachment

    as possible. It’s tough to do,but if you just consider yourself a

    visitor here,it may be more palatable to watch. If your own daughter

    becomes a whore, it is heartbreaking for you, but if the neighbor’s

    daughter becomes the whore,it may be upsetting but not near as bad.

    If someone’s daughter three blocks over becomes the whore,

    It matters little. Try to think of yourself as living three blocks

    away from the current fuster cluck, and consider yourself a stranger

    in a strange land.

    ~~~Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.
    Robert A. Heinlein

  20. 2012 November 9 7:37 am
    mulletover permalink

    Difficult to do when the cloak of oppression is over all of us. If your neighbor three blocks over has his 401k confiscated in return for a 2% annuity, they are going to get yours too. If your neighbor is denied an expensive cancer drug, what is going to happen to your knee replacement? Also, his tax burden proportionately is your tax rate. His price of gas and heating oil is the same for you. You may have more food, but he may have more ammo.

    Nevertheless, a good thought. I will try it.

  21. 2012 November 9 7:42 am
    mulletover permalink

    I read this morning that Romney went to his concession speech in Boston in an entourage of 15 cars including the secret service protection he was entitled to as a presidential candidate.

    Right after his concession speech, the secret service protection was withdrawn upon order from the white house, and he returned home in his own car accompanied by no one.

    The politics of revenge?

  22. 2012 November 9 7:45 am

    19 – BS they had all year, I’d heard about Orca since the summer. Limited time is all the more reason to ensure you don’t have fuck ups like that, were not talking about a overload here – how do you issue bad pins nation wide twice?…wtf.

  23. 2012 November 9 7:50 am

    23 – I don’t know what the standard protocol is but I would think he’d normally be covered through the night, unless he specifically asked otherwise. I wouldn’t put that past Obama though we know he and those around him are vindictive asses.

  24. 2012 November 9 7:56 am

    20 – They really are that delusional we saw it in 2006. The only thing about this is I only hear Boehner talking about it so it might be a head fake to get the Dems to offer up something the American public would not like, because I would think Boehner knows dem’s want _theissue_ more than any particular ‘solution’.

  25. 2012 November 9 8:00 am
    JustMary permalink

    #23 While infuriating (and, btw- it explains why SS didn’t give two craps about the threats against him), he is well enough off that he can hire the best of the best private security.

  26. 2012 November 9 8:01 am


    There once was a crybaby named boehner,
    As a man he still needs a potty trainer,
    A pretty orange colored dandy,
    He keeps a supply of fresh pampers handy,
    That he will cave in is a no brainer.

    There once was a nancy boy named boehner,
    A limp wristed lace pantied political entertainer,
    He would cry at the drop of the hat,
    Would this linguine spined sh!t house rat,
    As a saleman for depends he is a great campaigner.

  27. 2012 November 9 8:02 am
    JustMary permalink

    #22 401k confiscation is on my mind nearly every day. It is only a matter of time, imho. For the good of the Country, don’tchaknow.

  28. 2012 November 9 8:05 am

    Wishful thinking: If some other portion of obammercare was challenged and reached SCOTUS,
    they would have another shot at declaring the whole thing unconstitutional via the non severability clause. Roberts might want to redeem himself. A pipe dream I guess.

  29. 2012 November 9 8:08 am
    JustMary permalink

    #30 Roberts probably is sitting of a fat stack of cash, or has some secret to protect. I don’t hold out much hope for him to suddenly remove his cranium from his posterior.

  30. 2012 November 9 8:11 am

    # 29

    Joe blue collar sixpack would take a very dim view of that methinks.
    The only way to mollify that group would be to have
    a complete market meltdown, and then promise
    the great unwashed that their 401k”s would be
    made whole again by a gubmint buyout.
    You would of course have to sign it over
    to them to “manage” for you.

  31. 2012 November 9 8:11 am
    justrand permalink

    mullet: “We can rise to the challenges. Your post is a great reminder of why we must.”

    and my Price of Freedom coming up in a bit, is a reminder of what the Price will be when we finally do (IF we do) “rise to the challenges”…hint: EVERYTHING

  32. 2012 November 9 8:15 am
    justrand permalink

    well, this about covers the “getting to the bottom of the Benghazi disaster”:

    yup, LIMITED TIME…just TWO DAYS…must be present to win!! Farce…but farce that gives the media all the excuse they need to claim: “hey, EVERYTHING was made available”

  33. 2012 November 9 8:17 am
    JustMary permalink

    #32 They’d have to do something, that’s for sure. I know I have mentioned it before here, but we lost a ton of money in ours a couple years back (everyone did, but I’m just sayin). If there was another massive loss, that might comfort the masses…but…having said that…

    We have had so many multiples of issues that we said “If this happens, Joe Sixpack won’t stand for it”, and Joe yawned and yawned again and again. Our populace is so lazy and apathetic right now, that unless they cancel the Superbowl, they won’t do a d#mn thing about anything.

  34. 2012 November 9 8:18 am
    mulletover permalink

    30 – I think an obamacare case is currently proceeding through the appeals court based on the (now tax) legislation being originated in the Senate rather than the House as the Constitution requires.

    When Brown was elected as the 41st vote against, the Senate could not take up the Pelosi bill knowing it would be filibustered, so they took the Senate bill which was in shambles and a lousy piece of legislation without i’s dotted and t’s crossed (no severability clause, etc) and substituted it in its entirety. Only the House bill number remained original, and it was passed using reconciliation.

    It was a sham process, and the court case is attacking it on that basis.

  35. 2012 November 9 9:59 am

    36~~if only! Knowing the court, they probably won’t take the case unless roberts wants to make amends.(but then he would have to pay the bribe back)

  36. 2012 November 9 10:10 am

    mullet, is this the one you’re thinking of? I saw this the other day.

    Dismissed Obamacare Lawsuit May Return to Lower Court

  37. 2012 November 9 10:18 am

    bc/#8, that Breitbart column on the GOTV wreckage is simply unbelievable. How could they be so foolish? John Ekdahl’s assessment of the lack of serious planning and testing in telling. It reeks of hubris, and I hate to say it, a really poor ability to assess a situation and come up with the right solution. It sounds as if someone on the campaign who was too young, too unseasoned and/or too cocky was in charge of the GOTV.

    On the evangelical vote, I’ve now seen two columns stating there was better turn out better for Romney than for McCain.

    Evangelicals and the 2012 Election

    Post-election forensics of the religion vote in 2012

  38. 2012 November 9 10:48 am
    mulletover permalink

    I think this is the case challenging the origination of Obamacare.

    This is not where I originally read about it, but it has all the attributes of the case I was referring to, and I doubt there are two so similar.

  39. 2012 November 9 10:54 am

    That’s fascinating, mullet. It looks like the two cases are attacking it from separate angles: its origination and religious freedom.

  40. 2012 November 9 10:55 am

    I quoted J. E. Dyer back in comment #2. She is a retired US Naval intelligence officer, and I highly recommend her blog. This is her latest post.

    2012 election: Time-out from history definitively over

  41. 2012 November 9 11:49 am

    Thanks to all for your thanks for this post. I hope it helped shore you up, and that although you may forget the words, you’ll remember the principles and truths behind it over the next few years, because I think the time will be both judgment and test of the country the likes of which we haven’t seen since the Civil War. That’s not at all to say I know the mind of God, but who we are as a people as evidenced by our acceptance and promotion of abortion on demand and rampant immorality has brought us to this stand of electing a man who openly denigrates truth and righteousness.

    One of my pastors used to say that God has morally underwritten the universe, and a self-centered electorate choosing a man who’s centered on his own hubris will is going to boomerang into its comfort and convenience. To bring in a really old Bob Dylan lyric, you don’t have to be a Weatherman to see which way the wind blows. We bear the consequences of living in a country with rotten moral underpinnings.

    I do dread the next few years. We have a son who’s getting married next year. Our children are young adults. It’s hard. There is a fine line between realism and pessimism, between facing a situation with courage or facing a situation with gloom. Cynicism is a two-edged sword of intellectualized hate that mortally wounds both the cynic and the object of his scorn. Despair is the mark of lack of trust in God and easily creeps in when we feel lonely and abandoned under heavy burdens. I battle these things. Hold your family and friends close and don’t despise those weaker than you.

    Ruin can lead to more rebellion or to revival. I’ve read there were revivals of faith in the Confederate camps, and I hope and pray the same now. I’m quite serious about all that I wrote in the post about Christianity, because I firmly believe that only through faith in Christ will we be able to find the perseverance and courage we need to go on in adversity.

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