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Many Voices, One Freedom: United in the 1st Amendment

July 12, 2024

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The lessons of The Battle of Bunker Hill teach us about certain virtues, such as perseverance, fortitude, and courage, along with an unwavering determination to face tyranny and refute it.

These were the prevailing attitudes that built America, attitudes that were on full display during the Battle of Bunker Hill.

On the morning of June 17, 1775, General Gage awoke to find he had been out-maneuvered by the Americans during the night. He discovered the Patriots had taken control of the two hills across the Charles River – Breed’s Hill and Bunker Hill.

Gage could not let the Americans’ bold move go unchallenged. He ordered General Howe to storm the hill and drive back the rebels.

Howe did so twice but was twice driven back as General Putnam gave his now famous command: “Don’t shoot until you see the whites of their eyes!”

Two Bad Assumptions

In his book, The War Before Independence, Derek Beck gives an account of Howe’s assessment after his retreats:

“Howe quickly reassessed the situation . . . both attacks failed . . . because he had based his strategy on two bad assumptions. First, he had expected the Americans to cower or scurry before him rather than risk an open, pitched battle. Instead, the Yankees had steadfastly held their ground” (p. 128).

His second faulty assumption was akin to the first:

“Second, and especially disconcerting, he found British troop discipline to be unreliable. Despite their orders, the regulars had failed to charge ahead once American musketry began taking its toll . . .” (p. 128).

There are many lessons to be learned here, including ones about not holding yourself in too high of esteem so that it distorts your judgment of those around you.

One Steadfast Response

However, the lesson of the day upon which I would like to focus is one of steadfastness, in the form of Peter Salem, a free black man and the hero of the battle.

After the third British assault proved successful (if only because the Americans had run out of powder), Major Pitcairn and his marines had crested Breed’s Hill. An eyewitness account from Aaron White of Connecticut reports what happened next:

The British Major Pitcairn had passed the storm of our fire and had mounted the redoubt, when waving his sword, he commanded in a loud voice, the rebels to surrender. His sudden appearance and his commanding air at first startled the men immediately below him. They neither answered nor fired, probably not being exactly certain what was to be done. At this critical moment, a negro soldier stepped forward and, aiming his musket at the major’s bosom, blew him through.”

While others around him stood in silent shock with mouths agape, Peter Salem steadfastly took charge of the situation by quickly disposing of the enemy.

Even though the battle ended as a victory for the British, news of Salem’s bravery spread throughout the camp and boosted the morale of the rebels. They realized they could go toe-to-toe with the most imposing military force on the planet.

Fast forward to the present day, and we still see the same lessons of unwavering steadfastness unfolding around us.

In June of 2023, Texas A.G., Ken Paxton, sued the Department of Education and the Justice Department because he correctly predicted they would use a distorted view of Title IX to “deny federal funding to schools that don’t comply with federal interpretations of gender identity and sexual orientation.”

Texas District Judge Reed O’Connor found that the defendants failed to follow the proper Constitutional procedure in their new interpretation of Title IX.

By granting Paxton’s motion for permanent injunction, the judge has effectively declared Texas schools do not have to comply with the Biden Administration’s distortion of Title IX.

“To allow Defendants’ unlawful action to stand would be to functionally rewrite Title IX in a way that shockingly transforms American education and usurps a major question from Congress. That is not how our democratic system functions,” Judge O’Connor stated.

Just as Peter Salem’s actions benefited the entire nation-to-be, Paxton’s actions have done the same: “Threatening to withhold education funding by forcing states to accept ‘transgender’ policies that put women in danger was plainly illegal,” Paxton stated. “Texas has prevailed on behalf of the entire nation.”


The Dean’s List with Dean Bowen on America Out Loud Talk Radio can be heard on weekdays at 2 pm ET. Listen on iHeart Radio, our world-class media player, or our free AppleAndroid, or Alexa apps. Listen to all the episodes of The Dean’s List, available on podcast.

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MANY VOICES, ONE FREEDOM: UNITED IN THE 1ST AMENDMENT

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