William J. Federer is a nationally known speaker, best-selling author, president of Amerisearch, Inc.—a publishing company dedicated to researching America’s noble heritage—and creator of the daily American Minute blog. The following story may be found in Miracles in American History: 32 Amazing Stories of Answered Prayer, by Susie Federer. Read more stories like this one in the Miracles in American History series Hardback Gift Edition and Volume 2.

Through 6,000 years of recorded history, empires have risen and empires have fallen, but we keep seeing the same thing repeating itself: power concentrates into the hands of one person.

I believe it goes back to the fall in the Garden of Eden, selfishness infecting human nature, Cain killing Abel, followed by one king attacking another.

We may call a king by different names—nimrod, ceasar, khalif, chairman, chieftain, communist dictator, tsar, despot, emir, kaiser, khan, king, maharaja, shogun, or sheik—but the function remains the same. One person ends up with life-and-death power over everyone under their rule.

President Truman wrote in his Memoirs, 1956: “The men who wrote the Constitution knew . . . that TYRANNICAL government had come about where the powers of government were united in the hands of ONE MAN.” 

At the time of America’s founding, the most powerful ruler in world history was the king of England. At one time, he controlled 13 million square miles and a half a billion people. It was said the sun never set on the British Empire.

In the 1770s, Americans decided to break away from this most powerful king, but we started with no navy and no army—just people with faith and courage.

In the summer of 1776, Gen. George Washington’s troops were in New York as the harbor filled with the largest invasion force in world history—32,000 British troops on 400 ships. The thousands of wooden masts in New York Harbor looked like a forest of trees.

Earlier that year, the Continental Congress declared a day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer:

[We] do earnestly recommend, that FRIDAY, the seventeenth day of May next, be observed by the said Colonies as a day of HUMILIATION, FASTING, and PRAYER; that we may with united hearts confess and bewail our manifold sins and transgressions, and by a sincere, repentance and amendment of life, appease his righteous displeasure and through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, obtain his pardon and forgiveness.

Washington received this proclamation and ordered, “all officers, and soldiers, to pay strict obedience to the Orders of the Continental Congress, and by their unfeigned, and pious observance of their religious duties, incline the Lord, and Giver of Victory, to prosper our arms.”

On August 27 at the Battle of Brooklyn Heights, a British loyalist led 10,000 British troops through Jamaica Pass and they attacked Washington’s troops from behind. This was the largest battle of the entire Revolutionary War, and it involved the entire American army—there were no reinforcements who could come to their rescue. About 3,000 Americans died in comparison to only 300 British.

Washington watched as 400 soldiers of the First Maryland Regiment charged directly into the British lines six times. Just about all the men died, but they allowed the rest of the army to find cover. Washington exclaimed, “Good God, what brave fellows I have lost this day.”

As night fell, Washington’s back was against the water with 400 British ships behind him and 10,000 troops coming at him. So, faced with the prospect of surrender, capture, and possibly death, the general called for every American boat that could be found to ferry his troops across the East River to safety on Manhattan Island. Boats carried men, horses, cannons, and supplies through the night, but as the sun started coming up the next morning, only half the army had been evacuated and the troops that were left were not in a position to fight.

Washington’s chief of intelligence Major Ben Tallmadge wrote:

As the dawn of the next day approached, those of us who remained in the trenches became very anxious for our own safety, and when the dawn appeared there were several regiments still on duty. At this time a very dense fog began to rise (out of the ground and off the river) and it seemed to settle in a peculiar manner over both encampments. I recall this peculiar Providential occurrence perfectly well, and so very dense was the atmosphere that I could scarcely discern a man at six yards distance. . . . We tarried until the sun had risen, but the fog remained as dense as ever.

Washington was on the last boat that left. When the fog finally lifted, the British charged but no one was there. This was the last chance they had to capture the entire American army all at once.

Washington later wrote, “The Hand of Providence has been so conspicuous in . . . the course of the war that he must be worse than an infidel that lacks faith, and more wicked that has not gratitude to acknowledge his obligations; but it will be time enough for me to turn preacher when my present appointment ceases.”

Earlier that summer, when the Declaration of Independence was signed, a copy was rushed to Washington and he had it read to his troops.

The Declaration mentions God four times, including the passage that says, “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” That is the most revolutionary political statement in world history, because for most of its existence the world was ruled by kings.

Kings ruled by what they called “divine right,” a view where God gives power to one person—a king, who then dispenses it to the people as God’s lieutenant. In the Declaration, America’s founders bypassed the king by saying the Creator gives rights directly to the people, and we get to rule by choosing representatives from amongst ourselves.

In America, the people are king!

Learn More

Learn more about William J. Federer and the American Minute by visiting their website.

Explore the Truth & Liberty website and visit our Research Center for great practical resources, including a Timeline of Miracles in American History. Also learn how you can become a Truth & Liberty Coalition member and join us in standing for truth in the public square.