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OT Happy Fourth!!!

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  • Warlord of Iowa
    INDEPENDENCE DAY - July 4th This holiday, as everyone knows, is celebrated to commemorate the signing of the Declaration of Independence. After the Revolution
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 4, 2008
      INDEPENDENCE DAY - July 4th

      This holiday, as everyone knows, is celebrated to commemorate the signing of
      the Declaration of Independence. After the Revolution was over, annual observances
      started almost immediately, even though the holiday was not formally chartered by
      Congress until 1941. Purists may cavil at the July 4th date. The Continental Congress
      adopted the Declaration on July 2, 1776, and many delegates didn't sign it until a month
      later. However, July 4th was the celebration date called for by Thomas Jefferson, the
      Declaration's author. It is one of history's great coincidences that both he and John
      Adams, who helped him in the fight to get the Declaration adopted, died within hours of
      each other on July 4th, 1826, the event's 50th anniversary.

      What of the document whose adoption inspired this holiday? Interestingly
      enough, not all Americans agreed with its contents before, during, or after the
      Revolutionary War. Almost up to the time of the Declaration's adoption, there was
      fierce debate in the Continental Congress over whether independence was the proper
      route to take. In the main, the grievances against the British government took the tack
      that the colonists were being deprived of their rights as Englishmen. More than one
      historian has suggested that, had the colonies been offered representation in the British
      Parliament, we would now, like Canada and Australia, be dominions in the British
      Commonwealth. There were even charges of hypocrisy, given that so much of the
      colonial economy was based on slavery. Samuel Johnson, the author of the first
      dictionary of the English language, remarked: "The greatest cries for freedom come
      from the drivers of Negroes."

      Nor was there universal acclaim during the Revolution. Only a third of the
      colonials supported the drive for independence. Fully another third, the Tories, strongly
      opposed the War and wanted to keep the colonies' ties to the British Crown. The
      remaining third pretty much remained on the sidelines, monitoring which way the wind
      was blowing, ready to proclaim their undying allegiance to whichever side won.
      Total acceptance did not come with the defeat of the British and their agreement
      to grant independence to the colonies. When our form of government was formalized
      in the United States Constitution, the writers of that document were, for the most part,
      men who were not sympathetic to the ideas contained in the Declaration of
      Independence. Only a small handful signed both documents. After John Quincy
      Adams left the presidency, he served for a time as a member of the House of
      Representatives. In that capacity, he introduced a resolution declaring the United
      States Government to be on record as firmly in support of the ideas and principles of
      the Declaration. The resolution did not pass; furthermore, a torrent of abuse rained
      down on the former president. Many congressmen especially objected to the fact that
      they were being asked to affirm belief in the principle that people have a God-given
      right to overthrow their government.

      What should all of this mean to us on the July fourths of our own time, as we
      listen to speeches and watch parades and fireworks? First, how much are the
      principles contained in the Declaration of Independence reflected in our internal politics
      and in our interaction with other nations? Put more bluntly, how many present-day
      Americans, had they lived in 1776, would have been Tories? Secondly, how many
      Americans have actually read it? Do most people have any idea what it is they are
      celebrating? Any American who has not read it owes it to himself and his country to do
      so. Not only is it a statement of lofty political principles, but it also makes very pleasant
      reading, having been written in an elegant prose characteristic of a golden age of
      English letters. It would not be amiss to suggest that an annual reading of the
      Declaration of Independence, either individually or in a group, should be made the
      centerpiece of Independence Day observances, more than the speeches, parades, and

      Have you read it?

      The Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies

      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 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
      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 [George III] 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 endeavoured 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

      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 benefits 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 neighbouring 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

      He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our

      He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of
      death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and 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

      He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured 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 the 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.
      The signers of the Declaration represented the new states as follows:

      New Hampshire

      Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

      John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

      Rhode Island
      Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

      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

      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

      North Carolina
      William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

      South Carolina
      Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

      Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton


      Hrolf "the Harasser" Jameson

      Honored Husband of Kara Isaksdottir
      Holder of the Midrealm Warrior Award

      My front is pushed back. My right gives way. Situation excellent! I am attacking!
      - Ferdinand Foch, 1916 AD
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