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Independence Day – July 4th July 4, 2013

Posted by gollysunshine in American Revolution, Uncategorized.
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I wrote this article several years ago, but I think it contains information we should never forget. Happy July 4th.

Independence Day – July 4th

We celebrate July 4th with days off work, family visits, barbecues and fireworks. But how many of us take the time to reflect what Independence Day is all about? That the day commemorates a revolt by citizens against their lawful government because they felt that government didn’t represent them or their best interests, echoing a cry of “no taxation without representation.” At the time, the 13 American entities were colonies of Great Britain, but there was growing unrest because the colonies had no seat in the British Parliament and hence, no say in their fates. In 1774, the 13 colonies sent delegates to Philadelphia to create the First Continental Congress, but they were not ready to declare war. The inevitable clash came in April 1775, when the extra troops the King sent to control rebellion fought with colonists in Concord, Massachusetts. This became the unofficial beginning of the colonies’ war for independence and was made famous by Longfellow’s poem, “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere.”

A Second Continental Congress was convened, which then appointed a committee of five to write a declaration of their intentions to seek their independence. Thomas Jefferson was chosen to write the first draft. The resolution to make the United Colonies free and independent States and cut the bonds of allegiance to the British Crown was passed by Congress on July 2nd, but only nine of the thirteen colonies said yes. Pennsylvania and South Carolina said no, Delaware was undecided and New York abstained.

However, when the Declaration of Independence was voted into acceptance and signed on July 4th, twelve of the thirteen signed the document. Delegates from New York weren’t empowered to sign until July 7th, and the document wasn’t finalized and disseminated until August. But July 4th, 1776 was chosen to commemorate the Colonies independence and formation of their own nation because it was the day they declared their intentions and put their lives on the line.

 It’s important to note that every one of the 56 men who signed the document was putting his life on the line for his belief in independence, self-determination, and freedom. Essentially, they were committing treason against their lawful government. Five were captured and hanged. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Nine died in the Revolutionary War which ensued. All were well educated, men of means, but most saw their properties and possessions confiscated, looted or destroyed. Many of them gave everything to the cause and died in poverty.

 It is important to remember today what they taught us with their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor: that freedom and independence is never free… it comes with a price tag. And like those who fought and won the American War for Independence, we have people today who are willing to pay that price so that the rest of us can have our days off, visit with our families, barbecue, and shoot off fireworks.

 Interesting trivia:

Did you know… when the Declaration of Independence declared ‘all men are created equal’, it meant all white men with property only — no blacks, or women?

Did you know… that both the North and the South used the Declaration of Independence to justify their positions in the Civil War?

Did you know… that many Brits call our “Independence Day” “Thanksgiving Day”?
Did you know… that pyrotechnics started in China with the invention of gunpowder?
Did you know… that Nat Turner’s rebellion was originally planned for July 4, 1831?
Did you know… that the Declaration of Independence is not legally binding?

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