September 23, 2016

Winning Against the Odds--7 Examples

Everybody loves stories of winning against tremendous trials. The most heartwarming stories in current events and history are those that deal with victorious underdogs:

  •  The minority race that finally wins equality
  •  The regular citizens who finally win their freedom from an oppressive government
  •  The minor country that achieves freedom from a powerful country
  •  The kid from the ghetto who becomes famous

Many prominent people fight huge battles to get where they are. 1 Corinthians 1:27-28 (KJV) says this:

But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yes, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are…

Recently, I wrote a blog post about inspiring events from World War II.
I would like to focus on The American Revolution in this article. That whole time period is an unending source of case studies in the weak confounding the mighty.

Boston, Massachusetts

The Sons of Liberty, the masterminds of the Boston Tea Party, are some of the most famous patriots we know. Many of them came from the working classes. However, they were financed and led by some of the most prominent men in Boston, even in New England.

None of these leaders were professional warriors. On the contrary, they were the pampered, rich sons of some of the most well-known families in New England. Yet, they started a movement that blossomed into a revolt against the most powerful nation in the world. Let’s meet them up close and personal:

John Hancock

He came from a family of money and prestige. He was also one of the richest men in New England in his own right. Hancock was a merchant and smuggler who owned a fleet of ships. He financed the Sons of Liberty.

Oh, yes. He was also President of the Continental Congress. His signature is the largest one on the Declaration of Independence.

Dr. Joseph Warren

This young, charming man was the most prominent doctor in all of Boston. He helped to organize and lead the local militia. Warren died fighting in the Battle of Bunker Hill.

Samuel Adams

He also came from a well-known family. His second cousin, John, was a lawyer who became the third President of the United States.  Samuel was educated at Harvard University. He was the architect of some of the ideas of the new government. He also organized “committees of correspondence” throughout the thirteen colonies to keep information flowing.

Paul Revere

He was a wealthy Boston silversmith and engraver. He helped organize an intelligence and alarm system to keep watch on the British. Of course, he’s famous for his ride to warn the patriots in Lexington and Concord of the impending arrival of the “Redcoats”, or “Regulars”.

The four men listed above financed, gave information to, led, and gave medical attention to the staunchest of patriots. They risked their fortunes, reputations, and lives in the cause of liberty.  We know them and love them. But, there were many everyday people who also contributed in a miraculous way to the building of the new country:


We will probably never know the full extent of female unsung heroes of the Revolution. History books concentrate on men.  Here are some interesting facts:

A woman helped about 200 prisoners escape from the horrific prison ships in New York Harbor.

A mother of eight dressed as a man in order to repeatedly infiltrate British camps and get crucial information. 

16-year-old Sybil Ludington rode 40 miles round trip, overnight, to gather every member of her father’s militia in New York. This was twice as far as Paul Revere’s ride.


There were African-American spies entrenched deep in British General Cornwallis’ camp. They were servants and laborers. They risked their lives taking messages back and forth to American ally, the Marquis de Lafayette. He was stationed nearby with American troops. This fearless service paved the way for the pivotal surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown, Virginia.

New York/Connecticut

Culper Spy Ring was George Washington’s personal brainchild. It was based mainly in British-occupied New York City. The recruits included people from every level of society, including, possibly, an aristocratic lady. They stopped Benedict Arnold from handing over West Point to the British. That’s important because the site was strategic in a military and geographic way. These fearless individuals also helped entice the British army to leave New York City permanently.

My Conclusion

History is full of minor and major miracles. It is alive, exciting, and pertinent to us all. Beyond what some people consider to be the boring facts are the more interesting lesser-known stories. This is the realm of larger-than-life figures who risk everything, and fight tremendous odds, to change their world.

Every country has stories of men, women, and children who sacrificed literally everything to give their fellow countrymen the comfortable lives they lead. It’s the uplifting part of history. It’s worth knowing.

Please see more uplifting stories in my book, Accept No Trash Talk: Overcoming the Odds.

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What heroes inspire you?

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