National Geographic : 1974 Jul
it~JAnWQ~JtJ~fL July 1974 THE NATIONALGEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINEVOL. 146, NO. 1COPYRIGHT© 1974 BY NATIONALGEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY,WASHINGTON,D. C. INTERNATIONALCOPYRIGHTSECURED IT SOUNDS all too familiar: Voices raised in protest. Confused events. Emotion charged crowds. Slogans and banners. A populace fearful yet hopeful. The year was 1776, but it could have been many another year since. The issue, instead of independence, could have been secession, slavery, the right to unionize, war in Asia. Our long and vigorous tra dition of dissent is one of the reasons the events and person alities of the Revolution seem so familiar. Those gifted leaders bequeathed not only the pre cious right to speak freely, but also a system capable of change in the light of such freedom. We are celebrating, as the Bi centennial approaches, not sim ply a birthday but a continuing birthright. It is, further, a birth right that much of the world now regards as belonging to human ity. Nearly every government some cynically, it is true-justi fies itself in terms that became familiar to the world in the founding documents of the United States: equality, inherent dignity, and opportunity. When NATIONAL GEOGRAPH IC began to plan for the nation's Bicentennial, we knew we wanted to convey both the im portance of what happened here 200 years ago, and the charac ters of the men who left such an indelible mark upon history. The Raiion's 200th Birthdag Our series opens in this issue with vivid portraits of three leaders who helped create the foment-those Firebrands of change, Sam Adams, Patrick Henry, and Thomas Paine. The article is by one of our country's eminent historians, Eric F. Goldman, Rollins Professor of History at Princeton University. Dr. Goldman's comments may surprise some readers-and per haps shock a few, for even now the Firebrands can kindle argu ments. So I learned not long ago when my wife and I escorted a lady from Sri Lanka, as Ceylon is now called, on a tour of Co lonial Williamsburg. In the re built House of Burgesses we heard quotations from Patrick Henry's flaming rhetoric. "But it really was treason!" gasped our guest. And, after all, the independence of her lovely island from the same British Crown had come with neither war nor rancor. To her, Patrick Henry seemed a wild agitator. Future articles will acquaint us with the human side of such men of patience and principle as Franklin and Washington, who first tried to avoid war, and then doggedly fought it to victory. We will call, too, on the "other side," those sometimes heroic Tories who remained loyal to the British Crown. The often overlooked role of women in the liberation of the Colonies-epitomized by Molly Pitcher carrying water on the sweltering Monmouth battle field, then loading a cannon her self-will have a special place. We will also continue our popular map series "Close-up: U.S .A." to help you plan your travels through the nation's his toric regions. We hope that by the time our Bicentennial coverage is complete in 1976, you will agree with a fellow member in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Commenting on the first of the Close-up maps, she wrote, "Thank you for bringing us closer to home."