“…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…”
Question: Do YOU celebrate the 4th of July, or Independence Day?
For many, July 4th is most often noted as being a day off from work – punctuated by barbecues and fireworks. Ironically, it wasn’t until 1870, that the U.S. Congress made Independence Day an unpaid holiday for federal employees. Later, in 1938, Congress changed Independence Day to a paid federal holiday.
But BBQs, days off, and fireworks aside, why did our Founding Fathers seek independence from Great Britain?
Before you answer, you might be interested to learn that in a 2010 poll, 26% of all American respondents did NOT know that we claimed our independence from Great Britain.
Worse, 5% thought that we declared our independence from …those tremendously polite “tyrants” up in Canada.
Unfortunately, I’m not kidding.
Still, if you were to ask the other 69% of Americans what the reason we separated from Great Britain was, you’d likely hear the following answer, above all others: “Taxation without representation”. And to be fair, you can’t blame most folks for that answer. After all, it is ONE of the reasons for our Revolution written in the Declaration of Independence.
Yet, it should be noted that it was only one out of TWENTY SEVEN reasons listed.
…or the top 10,
…or even the top 50%!
It was reason number (drum roll, please) …SEVENTEEN.
The main reason? Absolutely not!
But thanks to textbooks that were adapted from the writings of Charles and Mary Beard, W. E. Woodward, and others in the 1920’s, 30’s, and 40’s, a new paradigm was created in which the approach was “the ECONOMIC view of American history”. And, since “taxation without representation” was the economic reason listed in the Declaration of Independence, it suddenly became the sole clause that most Americans studied.
“….it’s all that most (students) ever hear.
Never mentioned today are the numerous grievances condemning judicial activism – or those addressing moral, or religious, or other issues.”
Sadly, most of those other TWENTY-SIX grievances are now so rarely articulated that, with regard to religious and moral issues, God has been all but removed from the discussion entirely.
Which is startling, given that He is openly acknowledged four times in the Declaration of Independence.
As we celebrate another Independence Day, perhaps it’s a good idea to go back to our Founding Document. Read it and discover (whether for the first time, or the first time in a LONG time...) the factual accountings of those who formed and wrote it.
Of course, you can always watch history nowadays. I’d wholeheartedly recommend that you consider obtaining the 10-DVD American Heritage Series. Drawing from contemporary accounts and pre-revisionist history writings, the viewer comes away with a far deeper understanding of our founding.
As Daniel Webster famously said:
“History is God’s Providence in human affairs.”
Amen to that.
Speaking of which, …and most importantly: on THIS day, may you and yours be blessed, and let us all give thanks to The Lord for His hand in the creation of this great Nation.