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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.

[Note: John Trumbull’s Signing the Declaration of Independence is famous, not a photograph. There is “artistic license” involved, but such is the case with all creation myths, people always want to “embellish” things.]


1 cookie jill { 07.04.10 at 1:48 pm }

Happy 4th, Bryan.

2 Bryan { 07.04.10 at 5:41 pm }

From my oil-stained coast to yours, thank you, and same to you, Jill.

3 Anya { 07.04.10 at 6:15 pm }

I am celebrating the holiday under a hail of bullets. Apparently, anything that makes a loud noise besides firecrackers is okay. Neighbors with a large tract of land and a legal shooting range have been going at it, but so, apparently, has some nitwit in the woods within 100 yards of the apartment. I’ve seen branches falling, and have heard at least one ricochet off something hard really close by. The cats are in hiding.

I am not looking forward to nightfall and the usual fusillade of bottle rockets….

4 Bryan { 07.04.10 at 7:59 pm }

That is, unfortunately, an all too common occurrence in the US – morons with guns. Of course, such things are illegal where I live, so there is absolutely no change in this potentially lethal behavior, which will still be identified as “an accident” if someone is injured or killed. It is pretty much the same as the DWI laws.

5 Moi;) { 07.06.10 at 10:09 pm }

I was watching the John Adams series on HBO this week, and they talked about that very painting….guess JA wasn’t too happy with it!

6 Bryan { 07.06.10 at 11:22 pm }

I can’t understand that, Moi, it is just as factual as the cherry tree incident… 😉

7 Bryan { 07.06.10 at 11:24 pm }

Oh, I’m betting that you wish you were back in New England this week.

8 Badtux { 07.07.10 at 2:53 pm }

Ah yes, morons with guns. My neighbors the hockey fans invited a bunch of their fellow hockey fan friends over for a 4th of July barbecue. It was a typical noisy hockey fan gathering, hockey fans tend to not be quiet people (heh!). Their halftime entertainment was making CO2 bombs with dry ice, soda bottles, and water, which sound an awful lot like gunfire but at least harm only the person who is creating them (if the bomb explodes before he can run away). But the moron up in the Sierras who tried chasing a bear away from his 4th of July picnic food while armed with a .45 ACP did not fare so well, he got mauled when the bear took the gun away from him and prepared to shove it up his rear, only the gun accidentally going off as it was ripped out of his hand startled the bear enough that the bear decided to leave rather than continue thrashing the moron who wanted to take away *his* food (because once the food is in the bear’s hands, it’s now the *bear’s* food, not yours). 23 stitches was the result, and the moron got off easy (not the bear, alas, which rangers later killed because a bear which draws blood is not allowed to live even if the reason the bear drew blood was because an idiot waving a .45 rushed the bear and the bear defended himself). Which just goes to show that a .45 ACP is *not* a magic talisman, waving it at a bear does nothing good at all, unless you’re willing to use it to kill then leave the #$%@! thing home, grrrr!

As for wishing I was in New England right now, well, it got up into the 90’s on July 4 so I certainly wished I was *somewhere else* at least! I don’t have air conditioning and that heat is just brutal, once the house heated up in the afternoon I was sitting out on the Santa Clara version of the front porch (i.e., garage door open, under the shade of the garage door, in a lawn chair, with a cold Gatorade in hand) just to catch the closest thing to a cool breeze coming in off the bay (my garage door faces north, towards San Francisco Bay). What a day!

– Badtux the 4th Of July Penguin

9 Bryan { 07.07.10 at 10:43 pm }

Someone should have explained that the Second Amendment is about the right to bear arms, not to arm bears… [rimshot]

I carried a .357 magnum in Alaska, but that was for moose, because they are mental. The bears and wolves would leave you alone as long as you left them alone, and didn’t do anything stupid. Challenging a bear over food is definitely in the stupid range.

Yeah, I remember when the Santa Ana’s arrived in San Diego county you went to the mall because no one had an air conditioned house. “It’s 70° year round, no need for heat or air conditioning.”