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tv   Legends Lies The Patriots  FOX News  July 2, 2016 9:00pm-10:01pm PDT

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now. >> previously on "legends and lies: the patriots"... >> there is no more justice left in britain than there is in hell! >> under our plan, we remain part of england. >> one part of the empire makes slaves of the other. >> our dead brethren, who were cruelly massacred! >> remember every detail. >> you are all found... not guilty. >> if they mean to have a war,
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let it begin here. >> cease fire! [ sea gulls squawking ] >> ooh. run, fetch a carriage. i doubt these gouty old legs will carry me all the way home. thank you, my good boy. >> hey! it's franklin! it's him! he's back! [ all murmuring ] >> dr. franklin. what news from london? >> well, parliament -- >> tory bastard! [ echoing ] tory bastard! king-loving scum! go back to england, you traitor.
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[ echoing ] traitor. >> traitor! >> traitor! >> go to hell! >> get out of my way! [ indistinct shouting ] >> parliament can burn in hell! >> traitor! >> go to hell! king-loving scum. >> after 10 years in london, this is how i'm received? >> i apologize for the reception, dr. franklin. ever since lexington and concord, all of america has been on edge. >> lexington and con... >> of course. you've been at sea. america is at war, dr. franklin. welcome home. >> good god. >> ♪ my country, 'tis of thee
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♪ sweet land of liberty ♪ land where my fathers died ♪ land of the pilgrims' pride ♪ from every mountainside ♪ let freedom ring >> pushed to their limits by an oppressive empire, a determined group of rebels unites under the cause of liberty. their quest for freedom will unify a people, ignite a revolution, and forge a new
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system of government. in time, these brave men and women will come to be known as the american patriots. benjamin franklin -- brilliant renaissance man, world-renowned genius, and enduring symbol of america's potential for greatness. but behind every genius stands a man, and behind every legend lies the truth. [ indistinct conversations ] >> is this the pennsylvania delegation? >> maryland, sir. >> mm. close enough.
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>> benjamin franklin is an entrepreneur, scientist, and politician, but he's also a devout british loyalist. his success invents the american dream. but for franklin, it's not enough. his obsession with entry into british high society takes him on a 10-year mission to london, where he's forced to embrace his american identity. now he must convince the most ardent patriots that he, too, is willing to fight for liberty. >> dr. franklin. how good of you to tear yourself away from the bosom of britannia to join our quaint provincial congress. >> mr. adams is it? oh, yes. oh, i have so missed the puritanical wit. [ chuckles ] >> ben franklin is literally world-famous at this point. on the other hand, he was considered very close to the parliament and the brits. he had been spending years in
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london and had cozied up quite nicely to the powers that be there. there were some people who thought that either he was a british spy or he had sort of gone over to the british. and they looked at him with considerable suspicion. >> while you were busy cavorting in london, we have been dragging these colonies towards liberty. and no up-jumped printer grasping for royal table scraps is going to stand in my way. >> printer? yes. but there was no jump. it was a long climb. i came to philadelphia with barely a dutch dollar in my pocket. and through a regimen of hard work, i made a success of myself. >> franklin borrows money to buy a printshop, the beginning of a
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successful franchise. printing leads to writing "poor richard's almanack," a bets-selling yearly collection of franklin's witty sayings and useful advice, making him one of the wealthiest, most famous men in america. >> i still earned a living with my hands, and because of that, some doors were closed to me. >> the america colonies still share in the rigid class system of the mother country. to be a gentleman in the 18th century, you must be independently wealthy and devote your time to philanthropy, public affairs, or politics. this is the path that franklin follows -- become a gentleman and seek acceptance from the british elite. >> franklin retires from printing at 42 and takes the first steps toward the life he truly desires. >> so, franklin takes his money and uses it to get involved in
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all sorts of other enterprises. [ thunder crashes ] >> franklin's facility with science, particularly his investigations into electricity, ends up being a calling card that he uses as an entrée to high society. [ thunder crashes ] >> [ laughs ] if you will indulge me, an exhibit of natural properties. >> ben franklin inferred, with tremendous accuracy, that metal conducts electricity. but the early experiments could have killed people. [ zap ] >> you'll be all right, gentlemen. slight shock. [ laughs ] >> his experiments in electricity won him his generation's equivalent of the nobel prize. that changed things dramatically. he became this world-famous figure as a scientist. >> to this day, we use ben franklin lightning rods on our buildings. he also came up with the first bifocals.
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>> franklin's inventions, including the strange musical instrument the glass harmonica, enhance his stature even further. but franklin wants more, and his ego and ambition change the way many americans see him, even decades later. [ clinks ] >> shall i play you a tune? >> "god save the king," perhaps? >> mr. adams, your japes are unwarranted. i have done nothing that you are not doing now. i tried to unite these colonies against an outside threat. >> the next step in franklin's climb is politics, landing a seat in the pennsylvania assembly. but when western pennsylvania becomes an easy target for french-aligned natives, franklin
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tries to unite the colonies for the first time to share in the defense of the frontier. >> though the "join, or die" cartoon becomes a famous revolutionary symbol, benjamin franklin actually creates it two decades earlier. it's an attempt to persuade the colonies to come together -- not as an independent nation, but as a stronger member of the british empire. when the colonies reject his plan, franklin turn to britain for protection. >> franklin was never much of a soldier, per se, but he was a good organizer. he could help set up colonial defenses on behalf of the british empire. and so he gained a certain prominence, at that point, as a good, loyal englishman. >> well, there's a lovely sight! [ cheering, laughter ] >> thanks to help from the mother country, franklin builds a string of defensive garrisons, securing pennsylvania's frontier
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and vital territory for british america. [ cheering, laughter continue ] [ fire crackling ] >> when my home soil was invaded, i took up arms to defend it. history is repeating itself, mr. adams. open your eyes. >> my eyes are open, dr. franklin. and what i see is an old man obsessed with the past, who still keeps a portrait of the king on his wall. >> ben franklin has already fought a personal revolution. now, as war threatens to consume america, the colonies need him to help lead the way. but to do so, he must shed his british ties and prove himself a true american patriot. >> you see, mr. adams, i can be a firebrand, too. what's it like to be in good hands?
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[ indistinct shouting ] >> the rebellious american colonies are thrust into war at lexington and concord, and benjamin franklin's loyalty is called into question.
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>> you'll have to do more than burn a portrait of the king to convince me of your commitment to american liberty. >> what is it about me, mr. adams, that you so detest? >> i do not believe that you have the stomach for rebellion. you have lived a decade in london, growing fat of the crown's largesse. your son is the king's own appointed royal governor of new jersey. >> i did only what i thought was best -- for the empire and for america. >> i, william franklin, do sincerely promise and swear to be faithful and bear true allegiance to his majesty, king george iii. so help me, god.
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>> congratulations. >> most excellent, sir. >> william franklin does wind up getting this very powerful, influential position, and so there's a great deal of suspicion about benjamin franklin, given his son's allegiance to the crown. >> i must thank you, father. i know this was your doing. >> well, i merely mentioned your talents to the right people. you earned this honor, william. >> franklin is finally achieving the level of status and influence he's always craved, but he's doing it at exactly the wrong time. to pay their enormous debt from the french and indian war, britain hits the colonies with oppressive taxes. as americans turn against the crown, franklin's british loyalties make him a natural target. [ indistinct shouting ] >> this is the moment when the expectations of the british and the americans begin to diverge dramatically.
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and, so, if franklin had this family connection to the british crown, maybe, indeed, he was suspect. >> franklin loses touch with the common man. the people vote him out of the pennsylvania assembly. but he's as disgusted with them as they are with him. with the clout he has left, franklin secures a post that better suits his interests -- representing the colonies in london. ♪ >> must you really go, ben? >> you can come with me. >> you know i won't cross the water. >> then you must take comfort that i shall return to you next spring. [ chuckles ] ♪ >> franklin leaves deborah in america for a world more attractive to a man of his intellect. >> franklin's wife did not have his education. his wife did not have his abilities. and he virtually left her to manage affairs while he was off
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gallivanting around. >> the transatlantic crossing was a dangerous month-long crossing, especially for a nearly 60-year-old man. but the opportunity to join british high society makes the hardships worthwhile. [ indistinct conversations ] >> gentlemen and ladies... [ chuckles ] >> there is one american celebrity, and that celebrity is benjamin franklin. he's famed as a scientist and inventor in england, and franklin starts to enjoy a little bit of his own legend. i think he's seduced by it a little bit. >> dr. franklin, what a pleasure it is to finally meet you. >> i heard the americans are covered head-to-toe in hair. [ laughter ] >> well, my good woman, as you can see, some reports are greatly exaggerated. [ laughter ] >> of all the enviable things
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england has, i envy its people. why, i say, in that little island, they should have sensible, virtuous, and elegant minds more than we could collect ranging in 100 leagues of our great woods. >> madam. >> you must come take tea with me sometime. >> mm. indeed, i should. [ zap ] >> oh! [ gasps ] tell me, dr. franklin, would sparks fly, also, if you were to kiss my lips? >> well, in the name of science, i propose that we find out. >> [ laughs ] >> benjamin franklin finally finds the elite intellectual world he's been longing for. the british aristocrats love him, especially the ladies. while franklin does flirt -- shamelessly -- there's little evidence those dalliances become anything more.
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[ indistinct shouting ] >> samuel adams and his fellow revolutionaries are outraged by parliament's plan to implement the stamp act, which shifts the tax from merchants to the colonists themselves. >> gentlemen, your colonies have long enjoyed the protection of the british military. is it not proper that you contribute your fair share to the maintenance of said force? >> no one disputes the necessity of taxes, my lord, um, but some may see... [ chuckles ] internal tax as an overreach on parliament's part. >> you mean the usual rabble-rousers? this stamp tax, gentlemen, will be enacted.
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>> [ clears throat ] then we shall comply with the crown's wishes. >> mm. now you're thinking like an englishman. >> franklin understood that empires have their place. for america to be part of this larger world realm could be really good. and things were going well for benjamin franklin. there was nothing of material gain, nothing of greater stature in siding with the revolutionaries. >> the colonists who opposed the stamp act are middle-class tradesmen and artisans, like franklin used to be. they fight back against british oppression, because they, too, want to achieve the american dream. but in his quest for british acceptance, benjamin franklin forgets what it's like to be oppressed. while he's living the high life in london, his fellow americans are taking to the streets.
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>> traitor! >> in the mind-set of the colonists, the stamp act is going to mean the end of liberty in the english colonies. this act gives the stamp collector the ability to outlaw, essentially, pamphlets that they didn't like or newspapers that they didn't like, which would mean it would be a crushing of free speech. [ indistinct shouting ] >> franklin was astonished by the stamp act riots. he had no idea how much the americans wouldn't like it. and folks in america, who thought that franklin was not sufficiently radical, pointed a finger of blame at him. >> with franklin in london, it's his wife, deborah, who suffers the rebels's wrath. >> traitor! >> the stamp act protests are some of the first steps on the long march to war. and in every war, there will be casualties. >> tory bastard! >> king-loving scum! >> i will not be made uneasy by the likes of you!
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but my debbie had a heart of oak. she held them off. as you can see, i know the cost of rebellion. not just our soldiers will fall in this war, but innocents will die. our cities and our homes will burn. >> we have reached a point where we no longer have any other choice. >> this is why i spent 10 years in london. i wanted to prevent war and save the empire. >> and you felt the best way to accomplish this feat was with the hutchinson letters? >> [ groans ] the damn hutchinson letters. >> as tensions between america and britain rise, franklin makes a desperate effort to preserve his status and prevent a war. he obtains shocking letters written to parliament by thomas hutchinson, the royal governor of massachusetts, and he secretly sends them to the rebels in america.
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the letters outline hutchinson's plan to oppress the american colonists. >> mr. speaker. i have obtained letters of an extraordinary nature, written by our own colonial governor. >> the letters find their way to sam adams, who, of course, knows exactly what to do with them -- share them widely with everyone. >> "my dear sir, for the peace and good order of the colonies, there must be a great restraint of natural liberty, an abridgement of what are called 'english liberties.'" an abridgement of english liberties. >> when franklin revealed the hutchinson letters, he probably had the idea that he could pin the problem between the american colonies and the british crown on hutchinson. >> how could you have been so blind? >> i thought that if i discretely shared these letters, perhaps my rebellious friends
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would make peace. >> my goodness. you had no idea what it was like for us here in the colonies. >> franklin is so out of touch, he doesn't realize that neither side wants peace. the british are outraged that the private letters wind up in american hands. the controversy surrounding their source even leads two prominent gentlemen to a duel. realizing the furor he's caused, franklin confesses, publicly, in a london newspaper.
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>> finding two gentlemen have been unfortunately engaged in a duel, i feel it incumbent upon me to declare that i transmitted, to boston, the letters in question. >> that was a brave thing you did, ben, but in avoiding another duel, you may have ignited a war. >> in his attempt to fix the situation, ben franklin winds up jeopardizing his position in london, because that's considered a great betrayal. >> the timing could not be worse, because news of the boston tea party reaches great britain. so they're not only mad at franklin. they're mad at america. and the most famous american in london is benjamin franklin.
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>> franklin is summoned before the powerful privy council, the king's personal advisory board, to answer for his actions. >> what concerns me most is how these private correspondences came into the hands of some aged printer from pennsylvania. this american incendiary has forfeited his respect. it is an embarrassment. he brings shame to his office as a diplomat. >> franklin was raked up one side and down the other for all the misdeeds, all the sins and crimes of the americans by, basically, the british government's hit man. >> it was a travesty upon the king. >> this scheming american turned himself into a common thief.
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i call upon you, dr. franklin, to explain yourself. >> good heavens. [ all murmuring ] >> franklin realized there was no point in responding to this. this was the direction the british government was going. "and that being the case, i want no part of this." in that two-hour session, he went from being an englishman to being an american. >> with nothing left for him in london, franklin returns to america. while he's at sea, the american revolution moves out of the streets and onto the battlefields. >> attack! [ indistinct shouting ] ♪
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♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ (whispers rocket)
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ah, you know what i mean. >> ben franklin's dream of acceptance by the british elite is dead. he returns to america a changed man, committed to independence. >> franklin was driven back to america by what he saw as british mistreatment. and he was driven right into the arms of the american revolutionaries. >> franklin's peers in congress still suspect him of british loyalties. hoping to prove himself a patriot, franklin tries to convince his son, william, a high-ranking royal governor, to join him. >> i've managed to keep the rebellious elements in new jersey at bay. now that you're back, we can work together for reconciliation. >> there is no hope for reconciliation. i stand for independence now. >> i know not what has caused this change in you, father. >> you have not seen what i have seen in london. the ministers there treat honest
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americans almost as a different species from the english of britain. >> reason once governed your actions, but passion now rules you. and it will lead you to ruin. >> one of the tragedies of franklin's life is that a son he loved very much will become a die-hard loyalist. and he and his father split when the revolution breaks out and will never speak again. and, in fact, when asked about his son, franklin will say, "he deserves to be hung." >> dr. franklin. you say you've changed, but no man reverses his defining philosophy at your advanced age. >> [ chuckles ] i've not reversed anything. i've simply recognized what i always was -- an american. i, more than anyone, know the
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price of liberty. >> after a lot of thought, a lot of debate, eventually, john adams becomes absolutely convinced that franklin is a true patriot. >> franklin's time in london isn't the liability many in congress fear. it's actually an asset. embedded in british high society, franklin learns how they think, and he knows that britain will stop at nothing to bring the rebellious colonies back into line. the americans must be ready to fight even harder. >> dr. franklin does not hesitate at our boldest measures and discovered a disposition entirely american. >> as franklin throws himself into the preparations for war, in congress, the siege of boston is entering its third month, and the standoff between the british army and american militias is reaching a breaking point.
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through their spy network, colonial leaders get word of a british plan to seize the high ground around boston and secure control of the harbor. in response, general israel putnam is ordered to set up defenses on the charlestown peninsula and repel any british advance. >> here, we have another historical mystery. >> the massachusetts militiamen are told to set up fortifications on bunker hill, but, instead, they entrench themselves on breed's hill, in full view of the british. to this day, no one knows if that was a deliberate provocation or a simple mistake. regardless, the american presence alarms the british, and the fight that will ensue will be forever known as the battle of bunker hill. [ explosions, gunfire ]
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[ indistinct shouting ] >> general thomas gage, commander of all british troops in north america, orders his guns in the harbor and nearby batteries to fire on the colonists. >> i need two scouts and i need them here now. take care of that. >> general putnam, sir. >> dr. warren. should i say general warren? >> my rank is not official yet, sir. and as far as i'm concerned, i'm just another volunteer. >> joseph warren arrives, and people know who he is. they know his reputation. they know his contributions. he's one of the sons of liberty. and they're surprised to see him. why is he at the front?
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well, that's where he wants to be. >> as the british shell the americans from the water, general william howe, distinguished veteran of the french and indian war, prepares to overwhelm them on the ground. howe is convinced that the colonials will cut and run when confronted head on by his majesty's formidable troops. >> forward... march! >> and the liberty that ben franklin and his fellow patriots yearned for will vanish with them. but the general is sorely mistaken. [ gunshot ] >> [ screams ] >> the only answer now is to declare our independence. >> america is at war, dr. franklin. >> welcome home. >> for more revealing stories on these and other patriots featured in "legends and lies," purchase the companion book, available at and book stores nationwide.
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>> as benjamin franklin and the continental congress rush to create a unified american army, the battle of bunker hill... [ cannonball whooshing ] about to erupt. from across the river, british
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commander thomas gage watches as general william howe drives his troops up breed's hill toward the colonial front line. >> the americans fortify the top of the hill so that they can have an advantageous position over the british and defend the hill in a way that the british weren't anticipating. >> dr. joseph warren, president of the massachusetts provincial congress and soon-to-be general, joins his fellow volunteers in the trenches. >> when liberty is the prize, who would shun the war? we esteem no sacrifice too great to redeem our inestimable rights and privileges. these fellows say we won't fight. by heavens, i hope i shall die up to my knees in blood. >> forward... march! >> here they come! [ drum rhythm playing ]
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>> how many heads do you see?! >> it's the whole crowd! >> get ready, boys! >> forward, men! >> wait till they're 15 paces out! >> steady, men. we cannot waste any powder. pick your shots carefully. do not fire until you see the whites of their eyes! aim for those pretty red coats! [ indistinct shouting ] fire! >> with their superior numbers,
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training, and firepower, the redcoats think this will be an easy victory, but their arrogance will be costly. though the americans militias lack british discipline, rather than run, as general howe expects, they stand their ground and fight. >> hey! hey! how many rounds do you have left? >> only three! >> eventually, the patriots are forced to retreat, but only because they've run out of ammunition. >> men, stop! we must stand our ground. >> the day is ours!
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>> finally, howe is able to take the hill, but at such a cost -- about 1,000 british soldiers dead or wounded. more victories like that, and the british would have lost the entire enterprise. >> the americans suffer tremendous losses, as well, with more than 400 patriots killed or wounded, including dr. joseph warren, who gives his life for the revolution he helps to create. ♪
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>> news of the bloodbath in boston soon reaches the continental congress in philadelphia. >> we've just received word. the british have taken bunker hill and they've set charlestown ablaze. dr. warren is dead. >> well, mr. adams, it sounds as though we have work to do. >> the colonial militias proved that they can stand toe-to-toe with the redcoats, but to defeat the massive british army, the american troops need a leader. the continental congress puts george washington in command. but the task before the new general may be impossible. >> [ coughs ] >> my god. [ horse neighs ]
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this is my army? >> the americans still have the british surrounded in boston, but with dwindling supplies and rampant illness, washington's force grows weaker every day. if the british find out this secret, they could easily wipe out the americans. >> here, you have washington's army willing to die, willing to fight under incredible odds, and they don't have blankets. they don't have guns. they don't have boots. >> not for the last time in american history was a commander given a command without the resources to command it. and that was very much george washington's dilemma. >> congress sends benjamin franklin to meet with the general to assess his needs. but washington has kept his plight secret even from them.
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>> present arms! >> dr. franklin. >> general washington. from the looks of your strategic position, you have trapped the british in their own mousehole. >> now, if i could only launch an attack. >> well, no gains without pain, sir. no gains without pain. >> these new englanders are undisciplined, untrained, and there's some 5,000 fewer of them than expected. we are in want of weapons, of uniforms, of adequate tentage, of all things required by a proper army. >> i had no idea that the situation was so dire. >> you ask what i need, dr. franklin. i need everything and i need it now, or this war will be over before it even begins. >> benjamin franklin is an
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unlikely revolutionary -- a sickly 70-year-old man who spends most of his life maintaining loyalty to britain. though he doesn't lead troops into battle, like george washington, franklin gives the revolution his greatest invention -- the american dream. he proves that, with enough hard work, most can improve their standing in life. the hardest work of george washington's life will be turning his army into a force that will defeat the british. once he does, he and his fellow patriots will form a new nation where most everyone has an equal opportunity to achieve their own american dream.
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