Profile of an American Patriot
There are many unsung heroes in American history, men and women who laid everything on the line despite facing seemingly insurmountable obstacles and overwhelming odds. Without their efforts, it is certain that today we would be less free, less prosperous, and less safe. They took action at extreme personal cost to themselves and their families when the easy course was to keep their heads down and their mouths shut.
Here at Joe for America, we will highlight one of these heroes every week in a series entitled Profiles of an American Patriot. We hope you will enjoy these stories, and we encourage you to share them with your social networks, and especially, your children. In order to face the challenges ahead, we will need a new generation of American Patriots to put everything on the line. Through these articles, we hope to learn from those before us who changed our history by doing just that.
Doctor Joseph Warren (1741-1775), the Father of the Tea Party
It is hard to put into words the level of sacrifice some individuals endured in order to ensure that we would live in a country free of tyrannical rule. Nowhere is this more true than in the case of Doctor Joseph Warren. Born in 1741 the son of a wealthy Massachusetts farmer, Warren attended Harvard College, obtained a medical degree, married an heiress, and regularly practiced medicine. In Colonial America, Warren not only prospered, he thrived. By today’s logic, Warren would be considered the last person one would expect to not only advocate revolutionary change, but to put his life and entire fortune on the line to achieve it.
Yet, Joseph Warren was no ordinary man. Leading up to the Revolution, Warren spearheaded the efforts of many liberty minded political organizations. He wrote for pamphlets, spoke at public forums, organized meetings, and fervently pursued life as an activist, all the while maintaining a busy medical practice. In 1772, his wife passed away, leaving him the single father of their four children.
Despite this loss, Joseph Warren pressed on. He performed an autopsy on a victim of the Boston Massacre, and authored a report on the event which exposed English hostility. When the time came to take drastic action against British rule, Warren risked his career and reputation in order to participate in the Boston Tea Party. As President of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress, Warren thumbed his nose at the Crown by resisting the Intolerable Acts, a major instigator for the Revolutionary War. On April 18th, 1775, it was Warren who enlisted Paul Revere and William Dawes to warn of the coming British raid on Concord. It is fair to say that without Joseph Warren, we may never have had a Revolution, making him a clear example of how one man’s resolve can change the course of world history.
Dr. Warren’s actions up to this point earn him a place among the most honorable American heroes. He could have lived a very comfortable, care-free existence, but choose instead to fight for liberty and good government. Warren’s subsequent actions, however, demonstrate why he is a true American Patriot. When war broke out in 1775, Warren could have easily remained in the safety of Massachusetts state government. He chose instead to accept a military commission as Major General. At the Battle of Bunker Hill, Warren opted to forgo his rank and to serve as a soldier on Breed’s Hill, the heart of the battle. On June 17th, 1775 Warren was killed by a bullet to the head.
Dr. Warren’s story is one of heroism, patriotism, and sacrifice. He is not commemorated, however, by statues, songs, or even textbook mentions. It is incumbent upon us to ensure that the story of Dr. Warren lives on in the hearts and minds of our generation and the next. If we wish to preserve our liberty, we must strive to match his level of dedication, or else we will surely lose what those before us sacrificed so much to achieve.