Independence Day

Tomorrow is the 4th of July, Independence Day for the United States of America.  On July 2, 1776 the Congress of the United States voted to declare independence from Great Britain.  Two days later, on July 4, 1776, Congress formally explained that action in the release of the Declaration of Independence.  Henceforth, July 4th has been considered and celebrated as the birth date of the United States of America.

Today when Congress passes laws they are often hundreds or thousands of pages long.  The Declaration of Independence is but one page long.   Wikipedia breaks the Declaration Document into four parts:  (1) a statement of natural law, (2) the preamble, (3) a detailed list of charges against King George III, and (4) the formal notification that the United States of America is severing itself from British rule.

Natural Law:

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.

The Preamble:

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.

Charges Against King George III.

These charges are numerous, but keeping a British standing army in the colonies and cutting off colonial trade with non-British customers are just two of these charges.

Separation from the British:

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 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.

Fifty-six people signed that Declaration of Independence.  They did so at the risk of their families and property.  In the process of doing so they kick-started the founding of one of the world’s most free and prosperous nations.  America is not perfect, but it has for many years been a land where hard-working people have prospered.  For tomorrow, America’s Day of Independence,  I’ll put aside all of the controversy and challenges we have in the United States and pause to celebrate her very existence.

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