Introduction to The Will of the People
Americans who decided to fight for liberty faced an army generally believed to be the best-trained fighting force in the world. Epaphras Hoyt of Deerfield recalled that many residents “saw danger & ruin approaching: they could see perceive no probability of success in an armed opposition to the mother Country, whose powerful army and navy might crush us at a blow... To plunge into a war with a powerful military nation, as while we were, without… munitions of war and without a revenue, was thought by them little short of insanity.”
Americans' willingness to challenge the British government was echoed in challenges to local community leaders. Such challenges were often highly personal and served to threaten existing social and political hierarchies, redefine communities, and introduce fundamental questions about the relationship between people and government.
When the struggle for liberty became a war for independence in 1776, the outcome of the struggle was often in doubt dues to supply shortages, defeats, and internal controversies. Americans had to create new constitutions for their states and the new national government, all the while struggling to clothe, feed, and arm fellow citizens who served in the Continental army and state militias.
Explore artifacts and documents on this website to learn more about risks taken and sacrifices made by individuals, families and communities, without which the Revolution could not have happened, let alone succeeded.