Ryan's Money Tree; Texas Senate Race; Mexican Election; Lexington & Concord

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Good morning, it’s Thursday, April 19, 2018. In yesterday’s newsletter I wrote about a famous chapter in America’s founding -- the midnight ride of Paul Revere -- and today, in a passage reprised from my recent book, I’ll continue the story of “the shots heard ’round the world.”

Alarmed about the militancy blossoming in Boston and surrounding towns, British Gen. Thomas Gage decided to seize the Americans’ cache of rifles, artillery, and ammunition stored by the Massachusetts militia in Concord. On the night of April 18, 1775, Gage dispatched two regiments.

Before the sun rose on that spring morning 243 years ago today, America and Great Britain would be at war. I’ll have an observation about that historic pivot point in a moment. First, I’d point you to RealClearPolitics’ front page, which presents our poll averages, videos, breaking news stories, and aggregated opinion columns spanning the political spectrum. We also offer original material from our own reporters and contributors, including the following:

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Lame Duck Paul Ryan Still Fundraising Bigly. James Arkin reports on the speaker’s haul yesterday as he headlined three events for House candidates.

Poll: Cruz, O’Rourke Neck and Neck in Texas. James has the details.

The Coming Mexican Election: It’s Not All About Trump. Chris Jackson and Clifford Young outline the findings of a recent Ipsos poll.

Trump Should Follow His Instincts and Get Out of Syria. Jerrod A. Laber explains his rationale in RealClearDefense.

To Get the Market Back on His Side, Trump Must Be Boring. In RealClearMarkets, Michael Cannivet asserts that errors made by the president caused previously ebullient markets to reverse course.

Tax Day and “Deficit Hawks.” Also at RCM, editor John Tamny argues that Treasury collects too much in revenues.

America's Anti-Innovation Culture. In RealClearPolicy, Devon Westhill worries that a trend away from risk-taking will disadvantage the U.S. economically.

Congress Should Learn From the Past in Opioid Fight. In RealClearHealth, Ron Hosko urges lawmakers to not let politics to get in the way of solutions.

Insurers, Don't Curtail Copay Coupons. Also in RCH, Terry Wilcox defends a program that helps patients meet their copays and deductibles.

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The 700 British regulars who arrived in Lexington on April 19, 1775 found a rival legion of American militiamen -- who had been warned by Paul Revere and several other riders -- assembled on the town green. This show of force angered British Maj. John Pitcairn. He not only ordered the “damned rebels” to disperse, Pitcairn also insisted the Colonials lay down their arms.

This demand did not go down well. Although American militia commander John Parker instructed his men to fall out, they would not part with their guns -- the issue that brought the crisis to a head in the first place -- so war came to these shores. Not just over taxation and freedom, but also over firearms. Topics we are still arguing about.

No one knows who fired the first shot in Lexington, but soon eight Americans lay dead, with no fatalities on the British side. Later in the day, the Americans would even up the score in Concord and on the road back to Boston.

In Concord, British troops under the command of Lt. Col. Francis Smith torched some gun carriages they discovered under a town meetinghouse. The flames soon engulfed the meetinghouse itself, and as they saw smoke rising, the American militiamen on the town’s North Bridge were engaged in a tense standoff with a squad of redcoats.

As in Lexington, the Colonial commander, Col. James Barrett, instructed his men not to fire first. Directly questioning this order, an American lieutenant, Joseph Hosmer, shouted, “Will you let them burn the town?”

Such second-guessing would have been unthinkable in the British ranks. But by 1775, these were proud and autonomous Americans. Capt. William Smith of the Lincoln militia chimed in: He and his men were ready for battle. Col. Barrett asked another captain, Isaac Davis of Acton, if his men were willing to be the point of the spear. Drawing his sword, Davis replied, “I haven’t a man who is afraid to go.”

“The New England men,” wrote historian David Fischer Hackett, “were thus consulted -- not commanded -- on the great question before them.”

Carl M. Cannon 
Washington Bureau chief, RealClearPolitics
@CarlCannon (Twitter)

Carl M. Cannon is the Washington Bureau Chief for RealClearPolitics. Reach him on Twitter @CarlCannon.

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