Independence Day

How sad is it that so many school children and adults don’t associate Independence Day with July 4th. I remember a CBS poll a few years back, prior to Independence Day, where they asked in a telephone poll why do we celebrate July 4th. Only 58% said correctly that July 4th is officially (there is debate it really should be celebrated July 2nd) Independence Day for the U.S.A. I remember thinking, how can that be? How can so many people be totally ignorant of what we celebrate today? I don’t know if it is indifference, poor schooling or just confusion.

I pay homage today to the farmers, merchants and, yes, the wealthy plantation owners who decided to be free from the yoke of a tyrant in the form of King George III of England. They took on the most powerful army and navy of that era with little reason to expect victory. Many were hung for treason. Many lost everything they owned because of the war.

The seeds for revolution lay in the 1765 enactment of “The Stamp Act”, whereby taxes from colonists were paid directly to England. Riots broke out, and the rest, as they say, is history. A war that basically lasted seven years led to independence from England. Taxation without representation is what started the first American Revolution. It appears the next American Revolution will be fought for the same reason. Now, a small sampling of Thomas Jefferson’s masterpiece, The Declaration of Independence…

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, -- That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. -- Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world...

-- John Hancock

Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry, Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery, Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott, William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris, Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark, Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross, Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean, Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton, George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton, William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn, Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton, Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton


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