Sandy Hook

Sandy Hook

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

July 4th Not Just a Celebration of Fireworks, Flag Waving, Picnics and Songs: Annual Edition

Besides guzzling beer, shooing flies off the fried chicken and potato salad, and watching fireworks at the end of the day after we've become sufficiently bleary-eyed and sunburned, the Fourth of July might also be dedicated to a 15 minute read of the document which represents what this day is all about. The Declaration of Independence is just that: a declaration of independence from the rule of the British Empire.

A little side note: Congress voted on July 2, 1776 to declare independence from Great Britain, more than a year after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War. The birthday of the United States of America—Independence Day—is celebrated on the Fourth of July, the day the wording of the Declaration was approved by Congress. But most historians have concluded that it wasn't signed until a month later, on August 2, 1776.

Over the past few years we've been subjected to ridiculous assaults on this historic document. People who couldn't name the Founding Fathers one month have suddenly became sought after historians the next. From these paradigms of scholarship, we've discovered facts that were virtually unknown for over 200 years! The Declaration of Independence is a body of laws that came from God; writings authored by the Founders prove they wanted to promote "Judeo-Christian" values; and finally, they wanted to create laws based on the Bible.

But John Adams wrote in an official government document, the Treaty of Tripoli, "The United States is not a Christian nation" and "...the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion..."

Thomas Jefferson, the primary writer, was a Deist, as were many of our Founders. This explains the use of "nature" and "nature's God" in the following excerpt. The reference has nothing to do with a Christian God, the Bible or the Ten Commandments. The third president once said, "I consider the government of the United States as interdicted by the Constitution from intermeddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline, or exercises."

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.

Probably the most memorized - and forgotten - passage is the beginning of the next paragraph:

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. . . .

The bulk of the rest of the document is a list of grievances against the King of Great Britain.

A little over one hundred years later, the first of over 12 million immigrants began arriving at Ellis Island. See if you recognize one of your ancestors in the projected images from this Grammy-nominated film.



John F. Kennedy reading the Declaration of Independence on a radio show in 1957.


I hope everyone has a happy Fourth filled with good food, songs and fireworks - but take 15 minutes to read the Declaration of Independence and to think about it.

*An astonishing 26 percent of Americans don't know that America declared independence from Great Britain. In the South, 32 percent either don't know or are unsure. Read more at Progressive Eruptions.

13 comments:

  1. Jon Huntsman recently pointed out, rightly, that if Reagan were alive today he'd be considered too left-wing for the modern Republican party, given his actual record.

    If Jefferson, Washington, and Franklin, with their unorthodox religious views, were alive today, the Santorums and Perrys would no doubt denounce them as a bad influence and not good Americans.

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    1. Of course they would. Instead they love to toss the names of the Founding Fathers around to show how patriotic they are, while not knowing beans about what the founders really thought or wrote about, much less what this document represents.

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    2. I totally agree. Huzzah!

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  2. In my young years I was required to memorize many of the excerpts you posted here as well as the Gettysburg address. Now that I'm old I can still recite them. No, memorization doesn't make anyone a patriot but sooner or later a thinking person ponders the meaning of what one learns. I think that today is the perfect day to ponder the legacy of the men who founded this country.

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    1. I had to memorize them as well but I doubt if kids are even exposed to them in school these days. Not a good thing.

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    2. No it isn't but I'll spare you my rant on what kids don't learn in school anymore. My ex and I are history buffs and our kids joked that if a 'historic site' sign appeared along the highway, the car was going to stop -- and it usually did. More than one of their teachers commented on their interest/knowledge of history. We believed it was our responsibility to raise good citizens.

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  3. The Declaration of Independence flew in the face of conventional wisdom instilled in people by royals and clergy for centuries. Throughout Europe and Russia, monarchs ruled because they were supposedly chosen by God to rule. Those who failed or refused to accept their rule was not only a criminal but defiant of God's will — double whammy.

    Now, try to imagine how the words in the passages you cited must have appeared to those steeped in the orthodoxy of divine right, nobles and commoners alike. Radical, shocking, threatening stuff.

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    1. True, but we don't have divine right in this country - or at least we didn't used to have it. Apparently there are those who think we do as they're always saying they were told by God to run for office.

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    2. The divine right of kings has been replaced by the divine right of wealth.

      neo-feudalism results from both.

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  4. Good stuff, Leslie. Like I said in a thread on FB, the DOI reads like a frank discussion that precedes a divorce. "George, we need to talk. I've given you every chance, but this can't go on. You've been a complete jerk...let me count the ways. Now pick up your crap and get out."

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  5. I don't know about this 'Judeo-Christian' thing... but the Founders liked to drink....

    "In 1787, two days before they signed off on the Constitution, the 55 delegates to the Constitutional Convention partied at a tavern. According to the bill preserved from the evening, they drank 54 bottles of Madeira, 60 bottles of claret, eight of whiskey, 22 of porter, eight of hard cider, 12 of beer and seven bowls of alcoholic punch."

    ,,, clear headed guys. Not a Baptist in the bunch.

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    1. Hah, hah, hah. I think they were mostly Whiskeypalians.

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