The significance of this cannot be underscored enough. To date, it is almost surely the only large scale revolution which has had any modicum of positive success. Most new nations sink into anarchy or more terrible tyranny when a known form of government falls. We need only look to the recent Arab Spring uprisings to see this is true.
To be sure, even our Revolution was subject to severe trials early on. It was no certainty that a civil government based on popular will would result from that war. Yet somehow it did; I believe that it was through Providence and American exceptionalism that our nation rose from the battle field as it did.
I do not mean this as an insult towards other people and nations who are now seeking similar freedom and respect. Perhaps over time Libya will stabilize, Isis fail in Iraq and Syria, and the Muslim Brotherhood moderate. But I cannot help feeling that their story will be many more years playing out than the American tale. The fact is that popular uprisings need more than simple change. They need enlightened leadership; they need more than mob or knee jerk mentality.
The colonists had that leadership. They overcame the occasional rabble to form a stable, reasonably free nation. And that's exactly what makes April 19, 1775 so memorable. Our revolution is truly unique in history. It began 242 years ago today.