Throughout history, weather and other natural and sometimes supernatural phenomena have affected the course of history. Today we’re going to take a look at how events beyond human control impacted the American Revolution.
From 1765 to the end of the Revolution, Britain stationed a standing army in the colonies, and the colonists were required to provide the soldiers food and lodging. For the British to add more mouths to feed to families who already faced a shortage of food didn’t endear them to the colonists. Smith said, “My guess is there would not have been a revolution if the weather had been different. There were other things exercising an influence on colonists and events, but when you look at the weather, it makes a compelling statement.” Other researchers think Smith and Baron overstate their case, but crop failures certainly didn’t help the situation.
Siege of Boston
|By John Christian Schetky
Battle of Long Island
Battle of Yorktown
Evacuation of Long Island
|Copyright The Granger Collection, New York
Battle of Trenton
THE BIG CHILL
Battle of Princeton
|George Washington Rallying His Troops at Princeton
by William Ranney
The next morning the British raced after them, but when they caught up the battle was fierce and short, lasting less than an hour. Defeated once again, the British pulled back to their garrisons in the New York area, while Washington settled his army in Morristown for the rest of the winter. The news of the triumphs at Trenton and Princeton swept through the new nation, encouraging the populace and ultimately bringing in new recruits for the Continental Army. It also proved to the French that their old enemy England might just be vulnerable after all and along with the victory at Saratoga ultimately resulted in France allying with the United States in the war against Britain.
An earthquake shook eastern Pennsylvania on November 21, 1777, unsettling both the Americans and the British with concerns about such phenomena heralding impending disaster.
The Northern Lights were visible in Boston and other places unusually far south on November 27, 1777. For the superstitious, these lights were a bad sign.
Interestingly, both the earthquake and the display of the aurora occurred within a fortnight of the murder of the great Shawnee chief Cornstalk by militia soldiers at Fort Randolph that turned his tribe and other native nations into the Americans’ implacable enemies and extended the Indian wars into the 1800s.
Many people believe that phenomena that occur in the natural world are under God’s control. Do you think that He sometimes uses things like weather events, earthquakes, volcanoes, and other means to redirect the course of history, to punish those who do evil, or to protect others? In some instances could the psychological effects have as much impact on people’s reactions as the physical effects. Please share why you think so and any examples you may know of.
~~~J. M. Hochstetler is the daughter of Mennonite farmers and a lifelong student of history. She is also an author, editor, and publisher. Her American Patriot Series is the only comprehensive historical fiction series on the American Revolution. Book 6, Refiner’s Fire, releases in April 2019. Northkill, Book 1 of the Northkill Amish Series coauthored with Bob Hostetler, won Foreword Magazine’s 2014 Indie Book of the Year Bronze Award for historical fiction. Book 2, The Return, received the 2017 Interviews and Reviews Silver Award for Historical Fiction and was named one of Shelf Unbound’s 2018 Notable Indie Books. One Holy Night, a contemporary retelling of the Christmas story, was the Christian Small Publishers 2009 Book of the Year and a finalist in the Carol Award.