By Laura D. Field of Reflective Tapestry of Life
July 4th, the celebration of the birth of our American Independence, is often misunderstood, with many not knowing the history of the country in which they reside. It is sad to know, that with our culture reeling with the attitude of entitlement, that many are unable to explain what the route reason for this day of celebration is all about.
During the 18th century, we were in the revolutionary war (1775-1783), fighting for our independence from Great Britain. This war was long lived and fought hard. On July 2nd, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of our independence from Great Britain, and following two days later, the delegates adopted the “Declaration of Independence” as a historic document, which was drafted by Thomas Jefferson. Since this time, our American birth of Independence has been celebrated every year on July 4th.
Initially, when the battles broke out in April of 1775, few colonists desired their complete independence from Great Britain, yet in the following year of 1776, more colonists become more favorable to having their independence. During this time, Richard Henry Lee, motioned to have a formal independence of the colonies from Great Britain. The Continental Congress decided to appoint a five-man committee, which included Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, John Adams of Massachusetts, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania and Robert R. Livingston of New York, to draft a formal statement justifying our break from Great Britain.
It was on July 2nd, that the official vote for independence took place, where the Continental Congress voted in favor of Lee’s resolution, which sustained a near-unanimous vote. It was on July 4th, 1776, where Congress officially adopted the Declaration of Independence, which was written mostly by Thomas Jefferson. From this point forward, the 4th became the day that has been celebrated as the birth of our American Independence.
July 4th is considered “The Great Anniversary Festival”, which John Adams declared should be celebrated with “Pomp and Parade, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and more”.
Despite the ongoing war, on July 4th, 1777, Philadelphia held the first commemorative celebration of our Independence. Even after the Revolutionary war was over (1783), Americans continued to celebrate Independence Day, as our new nation emerged with new political leaders, which were to address citizens while creating a feeling of unity within our country.
This is why we continue the tradition of celebrating July 4th. It is our country’s birthday, our Independence for freedom. We honor those who went before us, conquering the battle that gave us our freedom from Great Britain. This is cause for great celebration and pride. May you wave your flag proudly and celebrate with family and friends as a day of remembering our victory for freedom. And when our National Anthem “The Star-Spangled Banner” is played and/or sung, please place your right hand over your heart in heart-felt remembrance and be proud to be an American.
Why did I start out as sharing “attitude of entitlement”? The reason I shared this, is that when we live in a country that gave us freedom from the power of a governmental dictatorship, and with our now living in a time in which many feel they have “rights” just for living in our country, whether it is for being born within a certain class of citizenship, for being a part of an elite group or cultural group, etc., we have lost track of the value of being an American Citizen. Unfortunately, the attitude of entitlement and governmental power is stripping us away from the freedom of pride to work, freedom to raise our families, freedom to worship and more. When we base our demands on what we feel we are owed, without working for it, then we have lost the foundational ground on which our country was built.
The first Americans were Native Indians, for which we should be grateful for. The first immigrants are those who built this country (a.k.a. our ancestors), based on the ground of freedom, but also on the basis of hard work and moral values, not entitlement. Times have changed over the years, but what has not changed is that America is known as the Land of the Free. We the People, need to stop bickering, get back to work with moral values and treating each other respect, regardless of race, religion, gender, etc. We also need to protect our country from those who want to defeat our strength as a nation.
Happy Independence Day – July 4th, 2016
Laura – Blogger, paid Freelance writer
George Washington was the first President of the United States during the Revolutionary War, the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, and also one of our Founding Fathers. Washington was born February 22, 1732 and passed on December 14, 1799
Richard Henry Lee, who motioned for Independence, was a statesman from Virginia. He was born January 20, 1732 and passed on June 19, 1794.
John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on July 4th, 1826
John Adams of Massachusetts was an American lawyer, author, statesman, and diplomat. He served as our second President of the United States, and was the first Vice President under George Washington, and was one of our Founding Fathers. Adams was born October 30, 1735 and passed on July 4th, 1826.
Thomas Jefferson of Virginia was also an American Founding Father was the principal author of the Declaration of Independence. In 1800, he was elected the 2nd Vice President of the United States, while serving under John Adams and became our 3rd President of the United States. Jefferson was born April 13, 1743 and passed on July 4, 1826.
Roger Sherman of Connecticut, was an early American lawyer and statesman, as well as one of our United States Founding Fathers. Sherman was born on April 19, 1721 and passed on July 23, 1793.
Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania was also one of our Founding Fathers. He is a renowned polymath (a person whose expertise spans a significant number of various subject matters). Franklin was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, freemason, postmaster, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman and a diplomat. Franklin was born January 17, 1706 and passed on April 17, 1790.
Robert R. Livingston of New York was an American lawyer, politician, diplomat, and Founding Father of the United States. After holding his position of 25 years in the New York state legal office, he was well known as “The Chancellor”. Livingston was born November 27, 1746 and passed on February 26, 1813.
The Founding Fathers of the United States include George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, James Monroe and Benjamin Franklin. Together, along with other key men of this time, structured the American democracy, while all living complex, hard working and fascinating lives.
IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776
The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America
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 shown 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.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavored to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighboring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have we been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.
This Declaration of our Independence was signed by:
New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton
Massachusetts: John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery
Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott
New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris
New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark
Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross
Delaware: Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean
Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton
North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn
South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton
Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton