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Episode 11 - America Is Back At Valley Forge

It’s December, 1777.

General George Washington stops his horse on the side of the road to watch his army march past. “March” is a loose term for what the soldiers were actually doing. Many didn’t have proper shoes. Most didn’t have coats or blankets. Many had to be supported by their comrades as they walked.

The enemy—the British Army and Navy—had taken the capital of Philadelphia and sent the Continental Congress into exile. These Congressmen weren’t the heavy hitters of 1776—John Adams and Benjamin Franklin were in Europe desperately trying to get loans and alliances. Thomas Jefferson and John Hancock had gone home. The ones who were left were unable to raise money or keep the army supplied. Their priorities were foreign money and foreign alliances—not the army. And once the British drove them from the capital, their priorities narrowed down to their own survival.

Washington had 11,000 men left, and they had spent most of the year getting beaten by the British. Their enlistments were running out, and without food, clothing, or shelter, they wouldn’t stay. A powerful enemy force was twenty-five miles away, waiting out the winter so they could crush them once and for all in the spring.

There wasn’t much hope.

246 years later, in an election year that looks distressingly familiar, we keep talking about the time the light of America was a mere flicker and it looked like all was lost. 

I wonder why?

It may be because we know, despite our country's apparent power and success, that America is back at Valley Forge. 


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