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Independence Day

John Trumbull's Signing the Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of Independence

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

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.

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. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security…

Independence wasn’t really achieved until September 3, 1783 when Britain signed the Treaty of Paris, and, to be factual, our current government only dates from March 4, 1789 when the first government under our Constitution was installed.

Liberty was not extended to all men until December 6, 1865 with ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment abolishing slavery, nor were women given the one of the most important rights of men until August 26, 1920 with the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment recognizing their votes.

In truth, until July 2, 1964 when Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law, there was no mechanism to force government to recognize the rights of all American citizens.

7 comments

1 Badtux { 07.05.13 at 12:55 am }

The independence resolution was passed on July 2, 1776. I’ve always been baffled as to why we celebrate Independence Day on July 4, which is just the day when Thomas Jefferson turned in his assigned essay entitled “Why We Want To Be Independent”, which was promptly marked up in red and given a “F” until 50% of it had been cut out (especially the parts dealing with slavery, which was a taboo subject in the South even then).

In a way it was quite fitting that Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act on July 2, because that was the true Independence Day to begin with.

– Badtux the Baffled Contrarian Penguin

2 Bryan { 07.05.13 at 1:11 am }

Because that’s the date they put at the top of page, and both TJ and John Adams died on that date fifty years later, so it must be a portent or perhaps karma, or just another coincidence. The whole thing my have been a cover up to hide the fact that Alexander Hamilton was messing around and need a strong alibi for that date.

It’s become just an excuse to get drunk and blow things up in the middle of the summer. Sooner or later it will be celebrated on the first Monday in July so there’s a three day weekend and Congress can take two weeks off instead of just one.

3 Kryten42 { 07.05.13 at 5:15 am }

I dunno… But it seems that Egyptians think it’s a good day to celebrate! 🙂

2013 July 4th Fireworks Photos Ranking: Cairo fireworks ranked best

Let’s see the wingnuts get all uptight about that! 😆

4 Bryan { 07.05.13 at 10:55 am }

Come on, ‘Noz over at Rubber Hose has the plan already laid out – the wingers will claim the evil Arabs are trying to steal the Fourth of July as a holiday… 👿

5 Kryten42 { 07.05.13 at 11:17 am }

LOL Yeah… But on the plus side, stups the wacko’s annoying *real people* for awhile. 😉

Curiously, JewishNews had a good article about the Egyptian Independance Day (which IMHO, the Egyptians have a legitimate reason to celebrate).

Like most of the people on the planet, I was glued to my TV screen last night, following the events in the streets of Cairo. Talk about throwing a party – this has to have been the most wonderful 4th of July celebration ever. And, by the way, if the Egyptians want it – they can declare July 4th their official Day of Independence (even though it was all happening on July 3rd).

Or maybe we’ll make it a twofer, with the Egyptian day coming right before the American. A day in Cairo, a night in DC kind of thing.

I don’t think it’s been done before – an Islamist president being toppled by a popular coup, completely driven by the people.

They’re still poor and hungry, but last night they looked crazy happy.

Best 4th of July Fireworks – in Cairo

6 Badtux { 07.05.13 at 12:08 pm }

Hmm, so T.J. accidentally put the wrong date at the top of his essay “Why We Want To Be Independent”, and everybody uses that rather than the real date, July 2 because they don’t know any better? So we celebrate Independence Day on July 4 because of a clerical error that should have been caught in copyediting but made it into print?

Heh. Given the reign of error we’ve had the past handful of Presidents, nothing surprises me anymore :).

7 Bryan { 07.05.13 at 4:05 pm }

I seem to remember reading that it was done so more people could sign it. Actually many of the ‘signers’ didn’t make the effort for months.

Hell, we had only been on the ‘new’ Gregorian calendar since 1752, so a lot of dates were still screwed up.