Do you know when the revolutionary war ended? Think twice. Is it:

  1. December 16th, 1773
  2. April 18th, 1775
  3. July 4th, 1776
  4. October 19th, 1781
  5. September 3rd, 1783
What may have crossed your mind at first glance was choice 3, July 4th, 1776. Some may have thought it the date we won our freedom. Most Americans would recognize July 4th, 1776 as the date the Declaration of Independence was signed. As to the end of the Revolutionary War, for most of us it's a crap shoot.

Now, most internet savvy readers have either "googled" the answer or are planning to do so just after finishing this article. For those who are feeling lazy, here's a nice Revolutionary War timeline. Notice that July 4th, 1776 is near the beginning of the war, not the end.

As my profile states, before I became a PHP developer I was a pastor. I've asked many congregations to identify the date the Revolutionary War ended. Not once has anyone been able to provide a date, much less the last two dates in the list above. I got this little exercise from another minister who has also asked this same question of many more audiences. Not even his son in law, an American History major, was able to accurately answer the question. Why is that?

Because we value the day we decided to be free more than the day our oppressor said we were free.

We value the freedom in our heart more than the freedom a peace treaty provides us.

Ideas, such as the concept of freedom that pervaded the atmosphere during the Revolutionary War, pack more power than any bomb, weapon, or technology that has been or will be invented. Ideas drove the Continental Army to take on the British Military, the most powerful standing army and navy of the time. Ideas inspire men and women to take a dark and twisted view of the Islamic faith and kill themselves and their fellow man in suicide bombings. Ideas empowered Mother Teresa and Ghandi to fight oppression without ever picking up a weapon.

But it is not the ideas themselves that have the real power, it's the belief in the idea that makes the idea powerful. If the idea is a bad one, it can cause a great deal of damage. If the idea is a good one, it can change the world if passionately heralded by it's proponents.

Your idea may not be on par with world peace or the end of poverty. However, if you are able to passionately pursue your idea as the participants of the American Revolution did, you can accomplish a great deal. Here are some suggestions to help you get started.

  1. Have a good idea. Without an ideal to pursue, passion dies a quick death. If you don't have a good idea, find someone who does and follow them.
  2. Believe in the idea when things are bad. Anyone can be a standard bearer for an idea when things are going well. If the idea is sound, stand by it when times are tough.
  3. Let the Idea Grow. The United States government as it is described in the Constitution was not the original intention of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Their first try, the Articles of Confederation, was a flop. However, they allowed the idea of freedom to grow and change as they hammered out the U.S. Constitution, paving the way for the longest standing purely democratic government in the world.
Most important, if you don't believe in your idea, no one else will either. If you believe in your idea and pursue it with passion, you may find people willing to follow you through thick and thin to see it come into reality.