1776: Alfred’s Pursuit of Happiness

Timithoy Suzuki, guest writer


“All aboard!” said Captain Grover as the last passenger, Alfred McLaughlin, stepped into the USS Providence,which was headed toward the New Land.

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A month later, the USS providence docks in Jamestown, Virginia, and Alfred immediately scurries out of the ship. A completely new horizon of opportunity opens up for Alfred as he takes his first steps of adventure in the Western Hemisphere. Although Alfred is unfamiliar with his surroundings, he is determined to accomplish his goal in America: to pursue the love of his life, Katherine, who was forced to study in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

“Excuse me, Miss, would you happen to know where a lad may catch a ride to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania?” inquired Alfred as he approached a lady named Ernestina in a hat shop.

“Well of course, Sweetie,” replied Miss Ernestina, “right around the corner there is a coach that can take you to Philly in one-week’s time.”

Alfred thanked Miss Ernestina and ran straight to the corner where the coaches were located.

When he arrived there, he noticed that the last coach was already taken and a man sat in the last ride available.

“Excuse me, Sir, my name is Alfred McLaughlin.”

“Hello, my name is Thomas Paine. How may I help you?”

Coincidentally, Thomas Paine was also headed toward Pennsylvania. At this moment, Alfred saw his opportunity. Alfred in his clever mind, had already thought of a plan to arrive as soon as possible in Pennsylvania whilst saving the most money.

Alfred asked Thomas, “would you mind sharing this coach with me? I am also headed toward Pennsylvania and cannot afford to wait until the next coach arrives.”

“Of course! However, may I kindly ask you to keep quiet during the ride? I am in the process of writing a pamphlet and do not wish to be disturbed.”

“What are you writing about? Is it a novel, a biography, or perhaps a poem?”

“Huh? I beg your pardon?”

“Your pamphlet, what is it about?”

“Well. . . I am writing to the people in the Colonies, and I am thinking of titling it Common Sense. I hope it will have some impact on this nation to fight for independence. I intend this ‘pamphlet to inspire the American people to rebel against British rule'” (Common).

“Impressive! I too am interested in politics and philosophy, and if you would like me to give you some feedback, I’d be glad to do so. Of course, only if you would like me to.”

“That would be wonderful! I rarely see young men with such an interest in politics and philosophy. I would love to reason with you and maybe even add some of your input into my pamphlet.”

“Marvelous. Shall we begin then?”

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As soon as Alfred and Thomas arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Thomas published his pamphlet, and, within a few short weeks, “the pamphlet helped convince the citizens of the British colonies in North America to rebel against Britain to gain independence” (Common).

In the evening that they arrived in Pennsylvania,  Thomas offered to escort Alfred to the nearest British officer station where he might get information on the whereabouts of Katherine. When Thomas and Alfred arrived at the station,  Alfred opened the doors to the station noticing that there were no officers inside. He went up to the front desk and found a pamphlet nailed to the desk that said, “Due to the colony’s revolt and misconduct, the officers at this station were relocated to mobilize for war.”

Promptly after reading the pamphlet, both Alfred and  Thomas “volunteered to fight in the American army during the Revolutionary War” (Common). Both men went to the address written on the pamphlet and joined the fight under the command of General George Washington, the commander-in-chief. Although Alfred joined the fight, he did not forget his quest to be reunited with his lover. As soon as the opportunity arose, he wrote her many letters, asking about her well being, her whereabouts, and her studies. However, Alfred only received a single letter in return, which said:

“Oh, my dear Alfred, how I long to see you again. Ever since arriving in the colonies, I have learned many new things. All of which are too elaborate to explain in a single letter. I have been put in prison for siding with the patriots and they have not treated me well. They have not allowed me to write back to you; however, I have managed to sneak this one letter through the guards. I am afraid I will not have another opportunity to write back to you, I have heard rumors from guards that I will be relocated soon, and at this new location, I may not be as lucky. I hope your destiny fares better than mine and may God bless you until we meet again.”

Alfred, in his despair, lost focus in the war. His love for Katherine clouded his decisions even as his brigade prepared to fight in the Battle of White Plains. The next morning, Alfred regained his former self and proceeded. Although he fought in the battle, he was furious at the Loyalist army and almost died because of it. For the next three months, Alfred used the army’s resources to gather information on prisoners of war and their locations. After an arduous search for Katherine’s location, Alfred finally came upon a document listing prisoners of war from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Even though he yearned to find her, he would not get a chance to rescue Katherine until the end of Revolutionary War.

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After the long, strenuous eight years of war filled with battles, the dedication and effort ultimately lead to a successful revolution from the North American Colonies. Alfred earned himself a reputation of a leader in the war as well as an opportunity to sign the Declaration of Independence in honor of his best friend, Thomas Paine, who inspired men to fight for their independence, alongside “Adams, Franklin, Jefferson, Robert Livingston, and Roger Sherman” (Declaration). Unfortunately, during the last leg of the war, Thomas Paine died protecting Alfred from a shower of bullets. Alfred grieved for what seemed like an eternity; however, grief could not hold him forever; he still had one mission left to accomplish.

Katherine had been relocated to a station in Massachusetts, which was overrun by American Revolutionary forces. She was set free and rehabilitated to her previous occupation, which involved studying politics in the University of Philadelphia. As soon as Alfred was discharged, his first destination landed him in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where his adventure first began eight years prior. When Alfred arrived at the university, he ran straight to Katherine, who was nonchalantly reading Thomas Paine’s pamphlet at the library.

“Katherine, Katherine!” said Alfred with tears in his eyes.

“Alfred? Is that you!” said Katherine as he hugged her and both of them broke out crying.

“Yes, Katherine, indeed it is. You have no idea how much I have longed for this moment.”

“I have awaited your return patiently. Ever since the American troops rescued me from Loyalist imprisonment and restored me to the University, I have worked hard and I even got the opportunity to help write the Pennsylvania Constitution of Rights.”

“Wonderfull! You have done so well even amidst all the trouble you have gone through. I am proud of your accomplishments.”

“Thank you so much, Alfred! I have waited so long to see you again.”

“Likewise, Madam. Shall we take a walk?”

“Yes Sir, lead the way please.”

Katherine and Alfred got married in 1777, and they bore two children, a boy named George McLaughlin and a girl named Sarah McLaughlin. The McLaughlin family marked their spots in history, and Alfred accomplished his goal on his grand adventure in pursuit of happiness.

Works Cited

“Common Sense: Plot Summary.“Gale Student Resources in Context, Gale, 2016. Student                         Resources in Context, Web. Accessed 5 Apr. 2017.

“Declaration of Independence.”Gale Encyclopedia of U.S. History: War.Gale, 2009. Student                    Resources in Context, Web. Accessed 5 Apr. 2017.


Alden, John, Browning John , Mahoney Thomas, Miller Lillian, Mullett Charles, Neatby Hilda,                and David Russo. 1776. Samuel Stevens Hakkert & Company, 1976.

McCullough, David. 1776. Simon & Schuster, 2005.

“Virginia Declaration of Rights.”Gale Student Resources in Context, Gale, 2016. Student              Resources in Context, Web. Accessed 27 Mar. 2017.