The Tyrant Falls to Pieces
On May 10th, 1775 the Second Continental Congress convened in Philadelphia to figure out what was going on. Less than a month before British troops and Massachusetts militia met in a running battle at Lexington and Concord. The King’s troops now were penned up in Boston. Surrounded by thousands of militia from all the colonies. The simmering tensions between the two sides had now become a real war. Congress now was tasked with figuring out how to govern the colonies and fight a war. The bigger question that was debated became what was the end game for the colonies?
Some wanted a peaceful resolution and full integration into the British empire. Some wanted full-on independence. The debate ran through the august body until June 7th, 1776 when Richard Henry of Virginia presented his famous resolution.
Resolved: That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.
The question was now on the table and less than a month later the resolution was passed. The fear and uncertainty gave way to jubilation as the Declaration of Independence was read throughout the colonies. Nowhere was it greeted with more enthusiasm that New York City.
On July 9th, 1776 General Washington, currently in New York with the army, had the declaration read to the troops and people. The assembled crowd was so moved that they immediately headed to a park in Bowling Green. There they found what they were looking for.
A few years earlier a large statue of King George III had been erected. Astride a horse, wearing Roman garb, made of lead gilded in gold, it hovered over the park. The assembled crowd proceeded to tear the statue down. The gold peeled away and the lead melted down for musket balls. They would take the tyrant down and use his body to defend their new nation.
In the photo above we have two pieces of the actual statue that have survived all these years. Symbols of the new-found spirit of independence that was sweeping the land. The gold still covers them. The perfect representation of what came into being that day. The glint of gold from the old world, peeled away for the earthy strength of the new world.