June 24, 2016
America had won its independence from England. Cornwallis surrendered in Yorktown almost two years earlier. (see ) States were moving forward with their newfound freedom. For the majority of citizens, the war was over. However, for many of the remaining soldiers, their fight had only moved from the battlefield to the state house.
The third United States in Congress Assembled (USCA) convened in Philadelphia in June of 1783 for their scheduled session under the . They were expecting to iron out issues plaguing the nation, including their enormous debt, which contributed to military men still awaiting their pay. Instead, Congress found themselves the objects of a mutiny.
At the time, 400 Continental soldiers were stationed in Philadelphia. Frustrated and angered by Congress' lack of action regarding their back pay, these soldiers decided to take matters into their own hands. Joined by 80 soldiers from neighboring Lancaster, these patriots sent word to Congress on June 17th, demanding the wages due them. Despite the fact these soldiers controlled the weapons and ammunition supplies, Congress chose to disregard their threats of action.
After being ignored again by Congress, 400 soldiers stormed the State House (now Independence Hall) on June 20th, refusing to allow the members to leave until their demands were addressed. (see ) Alexander Hamilton, then a New York State delegate, approached the protestors in efforts to produce a compromise. He listened to their grievances and convinced them to allow Congress to assemble the following day to discuss it. Led by Major General Austin St. Clair, the delegates were escorted from the building that afternoon without incident.
Hamilton met with a small group that evening, not to discuss the soldiers' complaints, but to appeal to the Pennsylvania Council for protection. Under the , Congress had no authority over the military during times of peace. Congress was resolved to rely on state militias for security.
Pennsylvania President John Dickinson declined repeated requests to call his men to protect the Congress. (see and ) In fear for their safety, USCA President Elias Boudinot announced on June 24th that Congress would continue their business at the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University). (see )
Over the next several years, the country's capital met in Annapolis, Maryland, and Trenton, New Jersey, finally settling in New York City. Congress did not return to Philadelphia until the 1787 Constitutional Convention. (see )
The Pennsylvania Mutiny of 1783 convinced the Founders a state could not or would not protect the national institutions of the United States. It was decided an area separate from all states would be selected for federal business where Congress would provide their own security. As designated in of the , Congress was given the power "to exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular states, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States."
After President George Washington was sworn into office in New York City, Congress made Philadelphia their temporary home as plans were finalized and construction was completed in the new national capital of the District of Columbia. On May 14, 1800, Congress moved for the last time to its permanent home. (see )
While our national leaders do need protection from forces desiring to harm and overthrow them, we can argue that D.C.’s move to isolation has had its own drawbacks. In separating themselves for security reasons, they have also detached themselves from their fellow countrymen. In doing so, they have lost touch with the everyday citizen. They are also once again neglecting the brave men and women who served our country as more scandal surrounds Veteran’s Affairs.
Liberty, we must always pray for the protection and safety of our leaders as the Bible tells us government is still under God’s control. When that government goes against God, though, we have an obligation to speak out. Gay marriage, transgender bathrooms, abortion, and illegal immigration are just a few of the egregious positions our federal government has taken that spit in the face of God. (see , , , and )
While I’m not advocating violence, the governments of this country, both state and national, are one nudge away from Americans as a whole crying mutiny. They have bankrupted our mortality for their own reward and benefit. As they have removed God from our culture, He is not there to guide our actions of response as He once did. Because of this, those progressive politicians will again be on their own when they find America on their doorsteps this time.
That’s my 2 cents.
MUTINY ON THE CONGRESS