July 4th in America is a day filled with: baseball, picnics, parades, and fireworks. Overall it is a day of celebration. A celebration of all things American.
It was the summer of 1776 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The 56 men of the Continental Congress were meeting. They were representatives from the 13 British colonies that had been at war with the motherland for over a year now. There was no turning back. There was no longer hope for the American colonies to peacefully and willingly co-exist with their masters in London. The youngest delegate of the Congress, a farmer and amateur scientist from Virginia name Thomas Jefferson was given the task of explaining to the world why the United States of America wanted to break away from the British crown. A printer, scientist, inventor, and a jack of all trades from Pennsylvania named Benjamin Franklin along with a lawyer and political philosopher from Massachusetts named John Adams helped Thomas form this important document.
On July 2, 1776 the Lee Resolution of Independence was passed by 12 of the 13 colonies (New York didn’t vote) and two days later the Declaration of Independence was officially adopted when 56 delegates voted in favor of the document and put their lives in the hands of Commander in Chief George Washington and his group of loosely banded farmers and militiamen. They had to have known that if America didn’t gain independence they would be tried and put to death under the penalty of treason (or some other similar crime).
From June 1775 when he was named commander of the American army to October 1781 when the British surrendered at Yorktown George Washington (with help from his commanders and the French) somehow managed to lead a group farmers and militiamen on to victory over the most powerful military in the world. We all know about the horrible winter at Valley Forge, but throughout the entire war Mr. Washington had his hands full. His army was almost always lacking the basic necessities of food and clothing, were routinely behind on pay, and most men after serving for a year would go back home so there was no consistent force that we are used to seeing in the military today. Throughout the war George Washington would pray and give thanks to the Divine Providence that was looking over this new country and guiding it.
The men that helped form our country weren’t Gods. They weren’t perfect according to the standards of today or the late 18th century. They were merely men of their time. And when it came forming national governments their first attempt was a complete failure with the Articles of Confederation. The national government was way too weak and the country almost failed before it got going. Our country as a whole has never been perfect.
But for the most part our country has been great, and that started with the amazing greatness of our Founding Fathers. In my opinion there has never been a collection of so many great minds in one place at one time. They believed that we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. The pursuit of Happiness was originally Property, but it was taken out of the Declaration of Independence because they knew some people would use that has a justification for slavery. Our Founding Fathers believed that we were given rights by God, and we lent power to the government; and they believed in a maximum amount of personal freedom with as little government as possible, which is why they created such a weak national government (with no power to regulate trade, collect taxes, or print currency) under the Articles of Confederation.
But, in 1787 they realized their mistake and they went back to the drawing board. They then created a form of government that was a little farther away from anarchy. This was the federal form of government and the Constitution along with the first 10 amendments to it known as the Bill of Rights which took effect in 1791. The freedoms created in the Constitution led to America helping humanity advance more in the next 230+ years than it had in the previous 5,000 years.
Let’s take a look at some advancements America has brought the world…
The idea that you have a right to not only succeed but to fail. You can do whatever you want. You can create whatever you want.
The purpose of government is to not create rights, but protect the rights that people are given from God and Nature’s Law, and if the government is infringing upon these rights, the people have a right and responsibility to alter or abolish that government.
We have gone from the horse and buggy, to the train, to the steam engine, to the automobile.
We have gone from being able to only go as high as we can jump to the simple airplane of the Wright Brothers, to blimps, to jets, to satellites that revolve around the Earth in outer space, to walking on the moon.
We have gone from stone and wood buildings only a few stories tall to buildings over 100 stories tall that scrape the sky.
In communication we have gone from the pony express, to the telegraph, to the telephone, to the radio, to the television, to the internet.
We have gone from word of mouth, memory, and books as means of recording to the phonograph, to the record player, to 8-track, to the cassette tape, to CDs, to MP3.
We have gone from candle light to the light bulb. We have cured many diseases. We have invented the cotton gin, the assembly line, the refrigerator, rock and roll, the artificial heart, baseball, the sewing machine.
And the list goes on and on and on.
America is a great country because it is made up of great people. Per capita we by far give the most money to charity. Whenever there is trouble in the world we are often one of the first countries there to offer help. We rally together to help out our fellow countrymen after disasters which was most notably shown in the days following September 11, 2001 and Hurricane Katrina.
Last but certainly not least we are a great country due to the men and women that keep us safe and free. If it wasn’t for our military, police, firemen, paramedics, etc. we wouldn’t be the great country we are. To all of you, past and present, I thank you from the bottom of heart, especially those that have given their life while protecting America.
Happy Birthday America, I love you.