Not the SciFi movie but the real independence day……today I am concentrating on our history of the day we celebrate as Independence Day…….
On July Fourth, Americans eat hot dogs and apple pie, watch fireworks, and go swimming.
But what are we really celebrating?
Standard answers to this question are that we are celebrating our independence or the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Well, yes and no.
Here are 10 things you might not know about our America’s Independence Day.
Not all the “patriots” signed the DoI……sat what?
In the decade before the American colonies declared independence, no patriot enjoyed greater renown than John Dickinson. In 1765 he helped lead opposition to the Stamp Act, Britain’s first effort to get colonists to cover part of the mounting cost of empire through taxes on paper and printed materials. Then, after Parliament rescinded the Stamp Act but levied a new set of taxes on paint, paper, lead and tea with the Townshend Duties of 1767, Dickinson galvanized colonial resistance by penning Letters From a Pennsylvania Farmer, a series of impassioned broadsides widely read on both sides of the Atlantic. He even set his political sentiments to music, borrowing the melody from a popular Royal Navy chantey for his stirring “Liberty Song,” which included the refrain: “Not as slaves, but as freemen our money we’ll give.”
Yet on July 1, 1776, as his colleagues in the Continental Congress prepared to declare independence from Britain, Dickinson offered a resounding dissent. Deathly pale and thin as a rail, the celebrated Pennsylvania Farmer chided his fellow delegates for daring to “brave the storm in a skiff made of paper.” He argued that France and Spain might be tempted to attack rather than support an independent American nation. He also noted that many differences among the colonies had yet to be resolved and could lead to civil war. When Congress adopted a nearly unanimous resolution the next day to sever ties with Britain, Dickinson abstained from the vote, knowing full well that he had delivered “the finishing Blow to my once too great, and my Integrity considered, now too diminish’d Popularity.”
Then there is always a debate and even a clause that was cut from the DoI……
As a tribute to the great events that occurred 241 years ago, I wanted to recognize the importance of the unity of purpose behind supporting liberty in all of its forms. While an unequivocal statement of natural rights and the virtues of liberty, the Declaration of Independence also came close to bringing another vital aspect of liberty to the forefront of public attention. As has been addressed in multiple fascinating podcasts (Joe Janes, Robert Olwell), a censure of slavery and George III’s connection to the slave trade was in the first draft of the Declaration.
Hopefully I have given my readers something to remember about Independence Day other than the typical simplistic stuff….
Do try and remember all this country has been through to be a free nation….then enjoy your BBQs, beers and family….