Today is a very special day. On July 4, 1492 America declared its independence from China, signaling the start of the annual charred meat, blow stuff up, and drain the keg festival we colloquially call “The 4th”. Or at least it seems that that’s what they are teaching in schools these days.
Before We the People collectively begin to produce tomorrow’s hangover, perhaps we should take a short drive down the distant memory lane of early American history to refresh (or establish) the memory of the noble endeavor undertaken by those who came before us. So for anyone who is interested in how this nation came to be as it emerged from the morass of tyranny, we’ll just hit some of the high points of what this nation set out to become.
It all began when some extraordinarily courageous and tremendously exasperated people had it “up to here” with King George III defining what they could and could not do by way of appointed colonial “governors”, while imposing taxes on the colonies established in the “new world”. Just to paint a picture, imagine yourself laboring away, cutting a path for yourself and your entourage through a dense jungle with machetes for a few years, and finding yourself suddenly stopped by armed guards at a toll booth demanding payment, all the while getting charged a fee for the privilege of taking a refreshing drink from your own canteen that you carried for the entire journey.
Before We the People collectively begin to produce tomorrow’s hangover, perhaps we should take a short drive down the distant memory lane of early American history to refresh (or establish) the memory of the noble endeavor undertaken by those who came before us.
On this date in 1776 those folks inhabiting the 13 colonies said “enough is enough” to all of that in the most powerful and eloquent way possible. Seriously stop to consider what it would take for this astoundingly vulnerable and poorly outfitted and provisioned group to stare down the most powerful nation on earth and say, “Look here, we are doing our own thing now”.
While it’s difficult to refute the principles enumerated in their declaration of independence from the British Crown, in practical terms the iron fisted Sovereign was not very interested in tarnishing his own reputation by losing so much as a pinky ring, much less an entire enormously resource-laden land mass along with all his subjects squatting on it.
A year or so earlier, rising tensions reached a boiling point in Massachusetts when 700 British troops were ordered by the King (via the British governor of Massachusetts) to disarm the colonists by seizing all stores of weapons and gunpowder in the colonists’ arsenal at Concord, and capture the Patriot leaders Samuel Adams, and John Hancock in Lexington. Such is the recurring strategy of tyranny: disarm the people and decapitate the resistance.
Prepared for this eventuality, Paul Revere and William Dawes were ordered to send out the alarm to the Patriot colonists of the impending military action by the red-uniformed Brits. While the Johns (Hancock and Adams) along with Revere were able to flee to Philadelphia so as to avoid capture, a small militia of 77 met the Redcoats in Lexington, took the first shot (“the shot heard around the world”) at the King’s henchmen and in a less than hold-my-beer moment were completely routed in short order.
Undaunted, word of this skirmish circulated extremely rapidly (in a time prior to social media or telephones even) and the call to arms went out across the rural and bucolic land of Massacussetts. By the time the Brits made it to Concord, they were surrounded by hundreds of patriots whom they still greatly outnumbered. While the mission of destroying the weaponry at the arsenal was a success, the insurgent colonists employed guerrilla tactics and picked off 300 Redcoats before they were able to beat feet back to the safety of Boston.
Patriot casualties are said to have been numbered less than 100 for the battle, which was an astonishing and miraculous outworking given the circumstances. Thus the American Revolution had begun, culminating 7 years later in the establishment of these united States of America.
“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…”
The current and ongoing erosion of collective memory portrays the idea in the minds of the youth that the American Revolution was the sort of rebellion you’d expect in a hungover teenager who tells their parents to “@&%# -off” and let them sleep it off during the school day; and that taking away their smartphone as punishment for such nonsense is bourgeois oppression.
But in reality, nothing could be further from the truth. The tone was set by laying out in the Declaration of Independence the highest principles man could aspire to grasp:
“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 orginizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
The tone was set by laying out in the Declaration of Independence the highest principles man could aspire to grasp:
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and acordingly all expereince hat 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 trian of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariable 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 Britian 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.”
It is entirely worthwhile and enlightening to read the Facts (grievances) as stated in this founding document. It can be found HERE amongst many other places. After which, the document eloquently and beautifully concludes:
“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 Britian, 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 that 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.”
I doubt it could be said any better than that.