Independence Day

Independence Day

Every year as we celebrate our independence, I try to imagine what it was like to be in that room. Can you imagine? England was the world’s super power with France looming on the horizon and the Spanish having had their day. Two and a half years earlier in December of 1773 the, Boston Tea Party had occurred and our first defiance against England was made known.

Between that moment and June of 1776, more and more patriot leaders had worked behind the scenes in homes, pubs, and alleys to build support for a revolt against England.

The New World was getting more and more hostile against its ruling nation across the ocean. The smell of revolution was thick in the air.

The patriots were working to find a way to get every colony on board.

“Many delegates weren't yet allowed to vote for independence as the states had not yet authorized them to do so. In the meantime, a group of men were appointed to draft an official declaration, with hopes that the states would soon be willing to back the document when it was sent to the crown in England.

On June 11, 1776, Congress appointed a "Committee of Five", consisting of John Adams of Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, Robert R. Livingston of New York, and Roger Sherman of Connecticut, to draft a declaration.

This Declaration committee operated from June 11,1776 until July 5, 1776, the day on which the Declaration was published (it was accepted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776).

The Committee of Five first presented the document to Congress on June 28, 1776.”

Those seventeen days were intense as the five worked and worked to be clear, firm, and direct.

Thomas Jefferson was not the first choice as author of this important document.

“Originally, the delegates pushed for Richard Henry Lee, author of the Lee Resolution, to write the Declaration of Independence, not Jefferson. However, circumstances changed the course of history. First, Lee was appointed to the Committee of Confederation for the writing of the Articles of Confederation, and thought that being part of both committees would be too great an effort. Second, his wife became gravely ill during the Philadelphia convention, forcing him to return home prematurely.

A young delegate from Virginia who had shown great promise was selected to take Lee's place. His name was Thomas Jefferson, and he would quickly become one of the most important individuals in the history of the United States. What most people don't know is that, at first, Jefferson had no interest in penning the Declaration. He wanted John Adams to do it instead. Adams writes in his account of the episode in a letter to Timothy Pickering, a politician from Massachusetts and a good friend of Adams:

‘Jefferson proposed to me to make the draft. I said, 'I will not,' 'You should do it.' 'Oh! no.' 'Why will you not? You ought to do it.' 'I will not.' 'Why?' 'Reasons enough.' 'What can be your reasons?' '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 than I can.' 'Well,' said Jefferson, 'if you are decided, I will do as well as I can.' 'Very well. When you have drawn it up, we will have a meeting.'

And so, it was settled. Over the course of seventeen days, in between meetings and other governmental affairs, Jefferson penned the Declaration of Independence under the advisement of the Committee. It was an act that secured Jefferson's name in history forever.’”

Not only was the document one that had never been written before in history providing sound logic to support revolting against a ruling nation, it also became a model of political argument.

Therefore, the discussions, collaboration, writing, and then sending it to England were the biggest risks any sort of colonized people group had ever taken. The delegates were all very aware that to write and sign this document was a treasonous action against the King of England, and they were all doing this at great risk. These delegates were significantly educated, influential, and affluent. They essentially were signing their own death warrants. In fact, many of them suffered greatly for their commitment. However, for the cause of liberty, they pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor. 

That historic day of July 4, 1776, the colonies officially severed their tie with England and were free. The Revolutionary War that followed was the exclamation point that ended in September of 1783.

As you sit back and consider what happened on July 4, 1776, please realize it was audacious, risky, and so fully American to tell England their rule over us was over while being ready to fully back it up. These were patriot actions led by a group of leaders who were some of the brightest minds of their time and led the greatest revolution in all of history – past or present.

It is these actions that should resonate in our chest and renew our sense of pride, patriotism, and all out love for our dear country.

I get goosebumps with how this writer describes our heritage. Happy 4th of July Patriots!!!:

“It happened in the back room of the Green Dragon Pub and behind the closed doors of common homes. It happened under the noses of the greatest empire on earth.

A small group of men, well educated, well connected and fiercely courageous, took the first steps toward our Liberty. No small feat given the price they might pay and the challenges that would lay ahead.

With great resolve they declared their independence. They threw off the yoke of tyranny and demanded freedom, justice and above all things - Liberty. They were brave men. God fearing men. Family men. They were our Founding Fathers who would inspire and lead a generation of Americans from New England fishing Villages to the plantations of Virginia, Georgia and the Carolina's to a war for our independence.

Today, I lower my head in a humble prayer to the men and women that risked their lives and fortunes to establish our Independence. And I thank God that I was born of this earth an American. 

Enjoy the Fourth, but please find some time to share with your children the history of this day and relay to them the tremendous opportunity afforded them by the Founding Fathers (and Mothers). Tell them that there is no greater tribute to the sacrifices of the past than to be a Patriot today.  Have a wonderful 4th and God Bless America.”



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