July 4, 1776, marked the formal beginning of the American Revolution, and we celebrate it as our nations birthday, but the fighting with England was well underway before the events of that famous day. Shorts had been fired at Lexington and Concord more then a year earlier. Americans had spilled blood from Quebec to Charleston. George Washington was in the field commanding the Continental Army, and hopes of reconciling with England had slipped away.
In early June the Second Continental Congress, meeting in Philadelphia, had debated whether to break away from the mother country. It appointed a committee to draft a document that would explain to the world the need for such action. The delegates knew that if they proclaimed independence, the English would view them as traitors. They were putting their lives and their honor on the line. So they wanted a Declaration of Independence that would clearly state to one and all exactly why it was necessary to be free of English rule.
The committee appointed to draw up the Declaration was made up of Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Philip Livingston of New York, John Adams of Massachusetts, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, and Thomas Jefferson of Virginia. To Jefferson fell the task of hammering out the first draft. At first he was reluctant- he protested that the older and better-known Adams was more qualified. Adams told Jefferson exactly why he should take up his pen: "Reason first- you are a Virginian, and a Virginian ought to appear at the head of this business. Reason second - I am obnoxious, suspected and unpopular. You are very much otherwise. Reason third - you can write ten times better then I can."
Jefferson drafted the statement in his rented rooms, at Market and Seventh Streets, working away at a portable desk of his own design. None of the ideas he set down were original - he borrowed thoughts that had been expressed throughout the ages, from the ancient Greeks and Romans to the philosopher John Locke to recent sermons of the day. But he set those thoughts down in a brilliant fashion. It took him about two weeks to forge the draft, with his fellow committee members dropping by from time to time to offer support and suggestions.
On July 1, Congress again took up the resolution to break away from England, entering what John Adams called" the greatest debate of all." The next day twelve of the thirteen colonies voted to declare independence. (New York abstained) At that moment the colonies became the United States. John Adams wrote ecstatically to his wife. Abigail, that " the second day of July 1776 . . . will be succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival " He was off by two days.
Congress next turned to reading, discussing, and editing Jefferson's draft. Adams defended and explained the text to his colleagues as Jefferson sat silently, wincing at every change and making notes on his rough draft. Some changes were matters of substance; others, edits in style. Congress deleted 630 words and added 146 leaving a final text of 1322 words. (1322 divinely inspired words that changed the world!)
Finally everyone was more or less satisfied. On July 4, twelve of the thirteen state delegates adopted the final draft of the Declaration. (New York adopted it on July 9)
Many Americans picture all the delegates solemnly signing the famous document on July 4, but that's not the way it happened. Only John Hancock, president of the Second Continental Congress, and Charles Thompson, the Congress's secretary, put their signatures on the Declaration that day. Then it went to the Printer to be printed on broadsides. (A broadside is a large sheet of paper printed on one side only and typically used as a poster to announce some event, or proclamation) The original hand written copy the printer used was lost, so later one of his broadsides was attached to a page in the journal of Congress.
By July 5, presses were cranking out copies that were stuffed into saddlebags and hurried to sailing vessels so they could rush it to other states . On July 8, the Liberty Bell rang out in Philadelphia, summoning the citizens to the first public reading of the Declaration. On July 9, George Washington ordered that it be read to his troops in New York City. Up and down the seaboard , Americans pulled down images of George III and other symbols of royal authority after they heard the Declarations words.
On July 19 Congress ordered that the Declaration be engrossed ( written with attractive letters) on parchment and signed by all its members. On August 2 the engrossed copy was ready, and the members of Congress who were in Philadelphia that day gathered around a table to affix their signatures - knowing full well that they could be signing their own death warrants. Delegates who were out of town that day signed during the following weeks. Some new delegates had joined the Congress after July 4 so not all the signers of the Declaration were the same as those who had originally voted for it.
On January 18, 1777, Congress - which by then was in session in Baltimore - ordered that new copies be printed showing the names of all the signers, and sent to each of the states. Today the original engrossed copy of the Declaration of Independence is on display at the National Archives in Washington D.C.
copied from The American Patriot's Almanac

This 237 year old document, written by Godly men, is as relevant to mans freedom, today as it was in 1776. GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!

Reading of the Declaration of Independence
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfzgLGwttpE&feature=related

God Bless America Again. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTGm8PGoO38&feature=related

Prayer in Congress - July 4, 1776
In Thanksgiving for Liberty and Freedom In Thanksgiving
Lord God Almighty, in whose Name the founders of this country won liberty for themselves
and for us, and lit the torch of freedom for nations then unborn;
Grant, we beseech Thee, that we and all the peoples of this land
may have grace to maintain these liberties in righteousness and peace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.
Song -- God of our Fathers https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P7M55F6xoiE

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They Called it America - by Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver
God built him a continent of glory, and filled it with treasures untold. He studded it with sweet-flowing fountains, and traced it with long-winding streams. He carpeted it with soft-rolling prairies and columned it with thundering mountains. He graced it with deep-shadowed forests, and filled them with song.
Then he called unto a thousand peoples, and summoned the bravest among them. They came from the ends of the earth, each bearing a gift and a hope.
And out of the bounty of earth, and the labor of men: out of the memory of ages, and the hopes of the world, God fashioned a nation in love, and blessed it with purpose sublime.
And they called it America.

                           THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER
                                         By Francis Scott Key

(We all know the first Stanza, but how many know the remaining three stanza's.)

Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro' the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watch'd, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
On the shore dimly seen thro' the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected, now shines on the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner: O, long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash'd out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
O, thus be it ever when freemen shall stand,
Between their lov'd homes and the war's desolation;
Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land
Praise the Pow'r that hath made and preserv'd us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust"
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!


 

Great post, Ruthie! Happy Independence Day!!! Tweeting this out!

Amen to that.

This is a wonderful post, Ruthann, thank you. I'll pass it on, also.

Uncelebrating the Fourth

by Harry Browne, Originally written July 2003

Unfortunately, July 4th has become a day of deceit.

On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress formally declared its independence from Great Britain. Thirteen years later, after a difficult war to secure that independence, the new country was open for business.

It was truly unique – the first nation in all of history in which the individual was considered more important than the government, and the government was tied down by a written Constitution.

It was the one nation where you could live your life secure in the knowledge that no one would ask for your papers, where you weren’t identified by a number, and where the government wouldn’t extort a percentage of your income as the price of holding a job.

And so each year July 4th has been a commemoration of the freest country in history.

False Celebration

But the America that’s celebrated no longer exists.

The holiday oratory deceitfully describes America as though it were the unique land of liberty that once was. Politicians thank the Almighty for conferring the blessings of liberty on a country that no longer enjoys those blessings. The original freedom and security have disappeared, even though the oratory lingers on.

What made America unique is now gone, and we are much the same as Germany, France, England, or Spain, with:

  • confiscatory taxes,
  • a Constitution and Bill of Rights that are symbolic only – merely documents used to justify governmental actions that are in fact prohibited by those documents,
  • business regulated by the state in the most minute detail,
  • no limits on what Congress or the President might decide to do.

Yes, there are some freedoms left, but nothing like the America that was and nothing that you can’t find in a few dozen other countries.

The Empire

Gone, too, is the sense of peace and security that once reigned throughout the land. America, bound by two huge oceans and two friendly neighbors – was subject to none of the never-ending wars and destruction that plagued Europe and Asia.

Now, however, everyone’s business is America’s business. Our Presidents consider themselves the rulers of the world – deciding who may govern any country on earth and sending Americans to die enforcing those decisions.

Whereas America was once an inspiration to the entire world – its very existence was proof that peace and liberty really were possible – Americans now live in fear of the rest of the world and the rest of the world lives in fear of America.

The Future

Because the education of our children was turned over to government in the 19th century, generations of Americans have been taught that freedom means taxes, regulations, civic duty, and responsibility for the whole world. They have no conception of the better life that could exist in a society in which government doesn’t manage health care, education, welfare, and business – and in which individuals are free to plot their own destinies.

Human beings are born with the desire to make their own decisions and control their own lives. But in most countries government and social pressures work to teach people to expect very little autonomy.

Fortunately, in America a remnant has kept alive the ideas of liberty, peace, and self-respect – passing the concepts on from generation to generation. And so today millions of Americans know that the present system isn’t the right system – that human beings aren’t born to serve the state and police the world.

Millions more would be receptive upon being shown that it’s possible to have better lives than what they’re living now.

Both groups need encouragement to quit supporting those who are taking freedom away from them.

You and I may not have the money and influence to change America by ourselves, but we can keep spreading the word – describing a better society in which individuals are truly free and government is in chains (instead of the opposite).

And someday we may reach the people who do have the money and influence to persuade tens of millions of Americans to change our country for the better.

I don’t know that it’s going to happen, but I do know it’s possible. I know that the urge to live one’s own life is as basic in human beings as the will to live and the desire to procreate. If we keep plugging away, we may eventually tap into that urge and rally the forces necessary to restore the real America.

And then the 4th of July will be worth celebrating again.

Harry Browne (RIP 1933-2006), the author of Why Government Doesn’t Work and many other books, was the Libertarian Party presidential candidate in 1996 and 2000, a co-founder of DownsizeDC, and the Director of Public Policy for the American Liberty Foundation.  See his website.

http://tenthamendmentcenter.com/2013/07/03/uncelebrate-the-fourth/#...

Great post Ruthann. Happy 4th of July everyone tomorrow. God Bless this free country and all of the people that love freedom. Read the declaration of independence tomorrow. Oh by the way John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died 4 July 1826.

It is good to see you, Robyn!  And thank you, Happy Independence day to you as well!

It is great to see you. I have just been reading great books. Thanks for being such a great friend JG.

Griswold, Happy fourth of July my friend.

Great, Ruthann!  Your patriotism is so evident in all of it, and you post is top feature in Bruce's E-Blast! http://e-blast.blogspot.com/

God Bless America!

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