Mini History of 4th of July
By Steve Walker
This past Thursday we celebrated the 4th of July like we do every year.
Many people think we celebrate the Fourth of July because it is the day we received our Independence from England. But have you ever wondered how it actually came about?
While many are thinking along the right track it is not the entire reason we celebrate the Fourth of July, nor is it the reason that the Fourth of July holiday came about for that matter.
Remembering that in the 18th century the United States was not considered the “United States.” In actuality, they were actually called “colonies.” Our country was in reality an extension of England. People traveled from England aboard ships to settle in America. As we learned later that our differences in life, thought, and interests began to develop a rift, we began to tear apart.
When the “colonies” were first settled, they had free reign to develop their communities with little or no oversight. Unfortunately things quickly began to change in 1763. Britain suddenly decided that they needed to take more control over the colonies. They also thought the colonies needed to return revenue to the mother country and they needed to pay for the colonies defense, which was being provided by Britain.
Obviously as history tells us, the colonies did not agree with these new rules at all and expressed their disagreement. Many “colonists,” felt that since they were not represented in Parliament, that they shouldn’t have to pay any kinds of taxes to the mother country, hence those famous words, “no taxation without representation.”
When Britain continued to tax, the colonies formed the First Continental Congress to persuade the British government to recognize their rights. When this didn’t work a war was declared, which is known as the American Revolution.
After the First Continental Congress failed to persuade Britain to recognize the colonies’ rights, and war was declared, things began to heat up. Many people who were both considered moderates and radicals had decided that enough was enough and that any kind of taxation without representation was considered tyranny. Nothing has changed.
People such as John Adams, Samuel Adams, and Ben Franklin, as well as a group called the “Sons of Liberty” decided that it was time to unite all of the colonies and to stand together against Britain.
A second Continental Congress formed during the course of the American Revolution. It is this group that adopted the final draft of the Declaration of Independence.
History tells us that it was drafted by John Adams, Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Robert R. Livingston, and Roger Sherman. After the first draft was written by Thomas Jefferson, it was revised by Ben Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson before it was sent to Congress for approval. All thirteen colonies united behind the Declaration of Independence and adopted it in full on July 4th 1776.
Like many immigrants from the past from all the various counties around the world, the immigrants of today fighting to come to America for a better life, has only just begun.
The inscription at the base of the Statue of Liberty reads: "Give me, your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.” Isn’t that what we are seeing now at our southern border? Having said all that, hoping you had an enjoyable 4th of July.
And as always, what I write is “Just a Thought.”