In the summer of 1776, a band of political rebels turned the world upside down. They showed, for the first time in the history of the world, that the discontent of a few colonists could swell into open rebellion so potent that it could create a world power all its own. Such impudence evolving into pure might was unheard of in the eighteenth century or in any of the centuries before it. The same process would occur again—in France, Russia, Cuba, the Philippines—but the events of 1776 stand alone. For they were the first.