July 4th is upon us here in America and I can’t help but wonder, does anyone REALLY know what we are celebrating? It seems like people are just celebrating a day off, a picnic day, the time of year when we get to see fireworks. It’s really not about celebrating independance anymore, is it? So what are we celebrating?
Independance was declared on July 2nd, not the 4th. Independance had been proposed way back in June. There was a committee appointed, a draft of the Declaration of Independance, debates and revisions made, all leading up to the actual verbal declaration of Independance from Britian. The funny part is, John Adams wrote, “The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epocha in the history of America.” He also wrote, “It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward, forevermore.”
July 3rd was a day of debating the written declaration. Change this, add that, get rid of these, back and forth.
The final version of the Declaration of Independance was released on July 4th, 1776. It’s almost hard to fathom we are in a country which has only been independant for 240 years, isn’t it? It seems like it’s been this way all our lives … oh, wait, it has been. BAH! Unless you are 240 years old! Think of it this way, if you are a 50 year old, you have been around for 21% of America’s independant life. If you are 80, you have been around for 33% of it.
Interestingly, New York didn’t give their approval until the 9th. And even more interesting is a copy was sent to Great Britain on about the 8th, but it gets lost. Who exactly did they hire to deliver such an important document??? A copy didn’t make it over there until November – by then, I think they already knew, don’t you?
Do you know exactly what we became “free” from? Well, let’s take a look:
The declaration starts out with a statement, and in that statement it says the intent was to “dissolve the political bands” which connected the united States of America to Great Britian.
Then there is a list of truths the Congress felt were self evident – meaning undisputable, a given, understood by everyone, no questions about them*.
- all men are created equal
- they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights. Some are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
- Governments are insituted to secure these rights.
- Governments obtain their powers from the consent of the people.
- When any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Rights, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish the Government.
- It is the Right of the People to institute a new Government. Laying its foundations on such principles and organizing its powers in a way that would seem most likely to effect the People’s Safety and Happiness.
- Governments shouldn’t be changed for light and transient causes.
- When a long train of abuses and usurpations occur, it is the people’s right, it is their duty, to throw off such Governement and to provide new Guards for their future security.
Those are all listed in the opening paragraphs of the Declaration of Independance. Then they start to list the Facts to their accusation that the King of Great Britian, King George III, has established an absolute Tyranny over the States. Here are some of what they listed:
- The King refused to “Assent to Laws.” At that time, the colonies (which we now call States) would have to submit any laws they wanted to make to the King. The King would withhold his approval. Today we might say the law was vetoed.
- The King told his Governor’s to suspend some laws that had been passed until he, the King, gave his assent. Then, those laws would sit there, and sit there, sometimes years with no attention to them.
- The King held back expansion of the colonies as well as the government. He would let people settle in new areas because when they settled, they wanted representation in the assemblies of the colonies. The American people felt it was their right, the King felt it was a priviledge which only he could grant.
- The King would require meetings to be held in places other than where the public records were kept. Making business difficult and sometime preventing it from being conducted.
- When an assembly opposed the the King, that assembly would be ordered to rescind the opposition or dissolve.
- The King held the tenure of the judges at his discretion.
- The King sent in customs officials and military courts to enforce trade laws and prevent smuggling. These were not approved by the legislatures of the colonies, and thus illegitmate. This resulted in a feeling of harrassment by the people.
- The King pretended to have trials but did not punish military who the people said were “murders”.
- The King cut off trade, imposed taxes without the people’s consent, denied trails by jury.
- The King took away charters, abolished laws, and fundamentally altered their forms of government.
- He plundered their seas, ravaged their coasts, burned towns, taken captives.
So, now you know what you are celebrating! Just think, if this hadn’t happen way back then, we would be a part of Brexit! The irony of this is, when it’s all summed up, the bottom line isn’t much different than those of the American Colonies.
I read somewhere (sorry don’t remember where), the bottom line to Brexit is the English want their England to remain English. They don’t want to be told what to do by a governing body from far away who doesn’t always have their best interest at heart … just like the American Colonists.
I could be wrong, but eh, it’s a theory and opinion, don’t have to agree with it. ;o)