10 Things You Might Not Know About America’s Independence

1.) Independence Was Not Declared on July Fourth: The second Continental Congress actually voted for independence on July 2. In fact, John Adams wrote to his wife, Abigail, predicting that future generations would celebrate July 2 as Independence Day, saying, “The second day of July, 1776, will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illumination, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forevermore.” July 4, 1776 is significant because that is the day that Congress officially adopted the Declaration of Independence document, but contrary to what many people believe it was not signed on the July 4. The official signing ceremony occurred on August 2, which is when most of the signers affixed their names to the document, but other representatives signed the document throughout the summer of 1776. Finally, there is no historical record of John Hancock saying that his signature is that big so that King George could read it. It has been suggested that Hancock’s is by far the largest signature simply because he was the president of Congress.

2.) New York Was Late: When the Continental Congress declared independence from Britain the official vote was 12 in favor, 0 against. But wait, you may ask, weren’t there 13 colonies? Where is that last one? The answer: The colony of New York abstained from the original vote on July 2. New York did not decide to join until July 19.

3.) It Was a States Thing First: Independence was not something that was confined to Congress. It started out as a state and local thing. In fact, the very first Declaration of Independence came on Oct. 4, 1774 (21 months before the Continental Congress declared independence) from the town of Worcester, Mass. During the next 21 months a total of 90 state and local declarations of independence would be made. When Virginia declared its independence in May 1776, they sent Rep. Richard Henry Lee to the Continental Congress with specific instructions to put forth a resolution of independence for Congress to vote on, thus allying all the colonies — soon to become states — against the British Empire in the War for Independence.

4.) American Troops Did Not fight Under the American Flag During the Revolution: The Fourth of July is always accompanied by a lot of flag waving, but the soldiers of the American Revolution did not actually fight under the American flag. In fact, our Founders did not really consider the flag to be all that important and the design of the flag varied both in the number of stripes and in the formation of the stars. The reason a uniform flag was adopted was so that our navy ships could be easily identified when arriving in foreign ports, but the boys in the Continental Army did not fight under this flag. In fact, the United States flag was considered so irrelevant that in 1794 when someone introduced a bill in Congress to add two stars to the flag in representation of the entrance of Vermont and Kentucky into the Union many members of the House considered it to be too trivial to pay any attention to. One representative is on record saying that this matter was “a trifling business which ought not to engross the attention of the House, when it was it was their duty to discuss matters of infinitely greater importance.” In the end, the bill was passed simply to be rid of it. The Continental Army did still fight under flags, but these flags were all different depending on the regiment.

5.) Our Founding Fathers Were Not Radicals: As Americans, we like to think that what we did in the American Revolution was original and that our ideas of freedom and rights were new and progressive. But the truth is our Founding Fathers were not radical new thinkers — all of their ideas and philosophies were rooted deeply in history. Ideas of people’s rights, liberty, and social contracts can be traced all the way back through our colonial history, most famously with the Mayflower Compact, and even further through British history and English common law. These ideas can even be seen at work in the medieval era with Magna Carta first established 1215. Our Founding Fathers sought independence in order to preserve their “natural-born rights as Englishmen.” Though it is true no colony had ever succeeded from the mother country before and the British were quick to call it treason, everything our Founders did was, in fact, legal. Jefferson himself explains that the Declaration was not meant to express anything new. He said it was “not to find out new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of, not merely to say things which had never been said before, but to place before mankind the common sense of the subject.”

6.) We Are Not a Democracy: People often associate democracy with freedom. We hear this word used all the time by our politicians, by our neighbors, even sometimes by our educators. But the fact is we are not a democracy. We are a republic. Our Founding Fathers deemed this an important distinction to make and discussed the matter quite a bit. In the end, our Founding Fathers claimed that a democracy was both extreme and dangerous for a country as it would most assuredly result in the oppression of the minority by the majority. Take this one example from Founding Father, Elbridge Gerry: “The evils we experience flow from the excess of democracy.” And Thomas Jefferson said that democracy should never be practiced outside the limits of a town. Our Founders were very wary of power no matter who had it and thus limited it as much as possible — this is why we have such a unique system of checks and balances.

7.) Jefferson-Hemings Scandal–Not So Scandalous After All? With Independence Day comes a lot of talk about the Declaration of Independence and with that talk comes references to Thomas Jefferson, which these days will inevitably end with the Sally Hemings scandal. The claim that Jefferson fathered children with Hemings started by Jefferson’s political rival Alexander Hamilton as an attempt to smear and discredit him. In the past several years these claims got a lot of media attention when a DNA test was done on the descendants of Sally Hemings, which led people to claim that Thomas Jefferson was definitively the father of her children. However, the matter is far from settled and there are still historians on both sides of the aisle in this debate. The DNA test actually proves that a male from the Jefferson family fathered Sally Hemings’ children –that’s a number of possibilities. At this point, science cannot actually provide us with a definitive answer on the subject.

8.) Our Founding Fathers Would Not Have Recited the Pledge: Another patriotic tradition that gets a lot of attention, particularly around this time of the year, is the Pledge of Allegiance. The Pledge did not exist during our Founders’ lifetimes — something that is very clear when looking at its text. The Pledge was written over a century after America’s founding in 1892. It was also written by a socialist — Francis Bellamy, whose original text was: “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” According to our Founders, the states are not indivisible, but very much the opposite. In fact, when ratifying the U.S. Constitution, some states, such as Virginia among others, specifically declared the right to secede from the Union should they feel it necessary just as an extra precaution to make sure that that state right was understood. Our Founders took their states rights very seriously and considered the U.S. Constitution to be a compact amongst the sovereign states so that any state could secede if it felt the federal government had become oppressive. So, if not with a pledge, how would our Founding Fathers begin meetings and celebrations? The answer: most likely with a prayer. In fact, the very first resolution brought before the First Continental Congress, and immediately passed, was the declaration that they would open every meeting with a prayer.

9.) The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere . . . and 40 others? The mythology of Paul Revere’s midnight ride can be traced back to the year 1860 with the writing of that famous poem, “Paul Revere’s Ride.” Here’s what really happened: On April 18, 1775, British troops were ordered to arrest John Hancock and Samuel Adams, both of whom were in Lexington at the time and to seize arms and provisions at Concord. Upon hearing this, Paul Revere and William Dawes set out on horseback — taking two different routes to Lexington in order to warn Hancock and Adams. Along the way, they warned the towns they passed through of the British invasion. By the morning of April 19 roughly 40 men were out on horseback spreading the news. Revere arrived at Lexington first, followed by Dawes. The two men then headed toward Concord, but were intercepted by British troops. Dawes, though injured, managed to escape, but Revere was captured. He was rescued by American militiamen a short while later. It was during this confrontation between British troops and American militiamen at Concord that the famous shot heard ’round the world was fired.

10.) The British Soldiers of the Boston Massacre Were Defended by John Adams in Court: The Boston Massacre, on March 5, 1770, began with a riot and ended with British troops killing five men. The incident help spark the greater rebellion, which led to the Revolutionary War, but tensions had been rising in Boston since British troops had occupied the city in 1768. But you may be surprised to know that one of the Founding Fathers actually defended the British soldiers that were charged of killing the civilians. John Adams, like many of our Founding Fathers, was a lawyer, and though he was a Patriot, he firmly believed in the right to a fair trial and agreed to represent the British troops in court. Adams succeeded in getting Capt. Thomas Preston acquitted as most others. And the two soldiers who were convicted were spared the death penalty.

Harvard: July 4th Parades Are Right-Wing

Democratic political candidates can skip this weekend’s July 4th parades. A new Harvard University study finds that July 4th parades energize only Republicans, turn kids into Republicans, and help to boost the GOP turnout of adults on Election Day.

“Fourth of July celebrations in the United States shape the nation’s political landscape by forming beliefs and increasing participation, primarily in favor of the Republican Party,” said the report from Harvard. [See political cartoons about the 2012 GOP field.]

“The political right has been more successful in appropriating American patriotism and its symbols during the 20th century. Survey evidence also confirms that Republicans consider themselves more patriotic than Democrats. According to this interpretation, there is a political congruence between the patriotism promoted on Fourth of July and the values associated with the Republican party. Fourth of July celebrations in Republican dominated counties may thus be more politically biased events that socialize children into Republicans,” write Harvard Kennedy School Assistant Professor David Yanagizawa-Drott and Bocconi University Assistant Professor Andreas Madestam. [Enjoy political cartoons about President Obama.]

Their findings also suggest that Democrats gain nothing from July 4th parades, likely a shocking result for all the Democratic politicians who march in them. [Check out editorial cartoons about the Democrats.]

“There is no evidence of an increased likelihood of identifying as a Democrat, indicating that Fourth of July shifts preferences to the right rather than increasing political polarization,” the two wrote.

Read more here.

READY TO GET SERIOUS NOW?

So .. how did that “Independence Day” work out for you? Hopefully you were giving a great time with friends and family … but did you stop for a minute just to consider the fact that under The Community Organizer dependence, not independence, is increasing? In 2009 .. the first Year of Obama … dependence on government increased by 13.6%. That’s the largest increase since 1976. Trust me when I say that you couldn’t find one out of every 100 people waving flags this past Sunday who had any awareness of this increase in government dependency.

OK .. so July 4th has come and gone. Would you like to make next year’s Fourth of July a true celebration of independence? About 234 years ago men were pledging their lives and their sacred honor. All you have to do is pledge to vote on November 2nd. The men who signed the Declaration of Independence knew that the enemy would come to try and take their lives. The worst you might face on November 2nd would be some Black Panther standing at the entrance to a voting location in para-military gear slapping a baton against his palm. But then that only seems to happen in Philly … and Philly will go solidly Democrat anyway, so what the hell?

Seriously, my friends. The men who signed the Declaration would be horrified at the degree to which Americans have surrendered their birthright for modicums of government-provided security. I think, though, there is time to turn this around. Maybe the American voters have had enough of the Obama brand of Democrat socialism. Maybe some American voters actually believe that our economy is better served by people spending the money they earn as they see fit rather than politicians seizing those funds and distributing them for votes. Maybe some American voters have figured out that it was freedom – not government – that it was the dynamic of a free people living and interacting with each other in a system based on economic liberty and the rule of law that brought us our standard of living; not politicians selling votes to the highest bidder.

Assimilation and the Founding Fathers

By: Michelle Malkin

In his immigration speech on Thursday, President Obama heralded America as a “nation of immigrants” defined not by blood or birth, but by “fidelity to the shared values that we all hold so dear.” If only it were so. Left-wing academics and activists spurned assimilation as a common goal long ago. Their fidelity lies with bilingualism (a euphemism for native language maintenance over English-first instruction), identity politics, ethnic militancy and a borderless continent.

Obama blames “politics” for the intractable immigration debate. Whose politics? The amnesty mob has taken to ambushing congressional offices this week to scream at lawmakers to choose “reform” (giving a blanket path to citizenship to millions of illegal aliens) or “racism” (their description of any and every legislative measure to stiffen sanctions for and deter the acts of border-jumping, visa-overstaying and deportation-evading).

Is there no middle ground for all sides to agree that clearing naturalization application backlogs should take priority over expanding illegal alien benefits, or that tracking and deporting violent illegal alien criminals should take precedence over handing out driver’s licenses to illegal aliens, or that streamlining the employee citizenship verification process for businesses (E-verify) and fixing outdated visa tracking databases should come before indiscriminately expanding temporary visa and guest worker programs?

Must every response to even the most modest of immigration enforcement measures be “RAAAAACIST”?

Further, as I’ve noted many times over the years when debating both Democrats and Republicans who fall back on empty phrases to justify putting the amnesty cart before the enforcement horse, we are not a “nation of immigrants.” This is both a factual error and a warm-and-fuzzy non sequitur. Eighty-five percent of the residents currently in the United States were born here. Yes, we are almost all descendants of immigrants. But we are not a “nation of immigrants.” (And the politically correct president certainly wouldn’t argue that Native American Indians, Native Alaskans, Native Hawaiians and descendants of black slaves “immigrated” here in any common sense of the word, would he?)

Even if we were a “nation of immigrants,” it does not explain why we should be against sensible immigration control. The Founding Fathers were emphatically insistent on protecting the country against indiscriminate mass immigration. They insisted on assimilation as a pre-condition, not an afterthought. Historian John Fonte assembled their wisdom, and it bears repeating this Independence Day weekend:

George Washington, in a letter to John Adams, stated that immigrants should be absorbed into American life so that “by an intermixture with our people, they, or their descendants, get assimilated to our customs, measures, laws: in a word soon become one people.”

In a 1790 speech to Congress on the naturalization of immigrants, James Madison stated that America should welcome the immigrant who could assimilate, but exclude the immigrant who could not readily “incorporate himself into our society.”

Alexander Hamilton wrote in 1802: “The safety of a republic depends essentially on the energy of a common national sentiment; on a uniformity of principles and habits; on the exemption of the citizens from foreign bias and prejudice; and on that love of country which will almost invariably be found to be closely connected with birth, education and family.”

Hamilton further warned that “The United States have already felt the evils of incorporating a large number of foreigners into their national mass; by promoting in different classes different predilections in favor of particular foreign nations, and antipathies against others, it has served very much to divide the community and to distract our councils. It has been often likely to compromise the interests of our own country in favor of another. The permanent effect of such a policy will be, that in times of great public danger there will be always a numerous body of men, of whom there may be just grounds of distrust; the suspicion alone will weaken the strength of the nation, but their force may be actually employed in assisting an invader.”

The survival of the American republic, Hamilton maintained, depends upon “the preservation of a national spirit and a national character.” “To admit foreigners indiscriminately to the rights of citizens the moment they put foot in our country would be nothing less than to admit the Grecian horse into the citadel of our liberty and sovereignty.”

As pro-amnesty extremists moan that “we didn’t cross the borders, the borders crossed us” and illegal alien marchers haul foreign flags above Old Glory, President Obama pretends that the “common national sentiment” our Founding Fathers embraced still binds us all together. Many of us still have faith in a strong, sovereign America — the unhyphenated, the law-abiding, the gratitude-filled sons and daughters and grandchildren of legal immigrants for whom such distinctions still matter. But it’s no thanks to the assimilation saboteurs who put “one world” over “one nation under God.”

Americans have a duty to resist tyrannical government

These days, most commentary on the Declaration of Independence focuses on the implications of the passage that “all men are created equal [and] that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.” Dwelling on that passage might surprise Thomas Jefferson, who thought it was self-evident. The argument that flowed from his premises is more important, namely that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and when the relationship shifts to the point where government becomes a threat to the lives, liberties and pursuit of happiness of the people, it is government – not the people – that must change.

A government becomes corrupt when it abuses the power derived from the people by doing things that harm the polity and when it acts primarily as a servant of its own interests. This definition of illegitimate government has a history going back at least to Aristotle, though the 17th-century philosopher John Locke, in his “Two Treatises of Government,” gave it a form that would have been more familiar to American colonists. Beyond a certain point, when the actions of government become intolerable, the people have not only a right but a duty to reclaim their inalienable sovereignty and start over. This must be done, as Jefferson said, to “provide new Guards for their future security.”

The list of grievances in the Declaration – the part people often skip over – is critical to the argument because those grievances serve as evidence to make the case that British government had by its actions sundered the fundamental relationship between Parliament and the American colonists. Such a catalog of “abuses and usurpations” today might include: imposing confiscatory levels of overall taxation; using budget authority to transfer billions of taxpayer dollars to government insiders and pet causes; running up the national debt to a point where it is nearly equal to the nation’s total productive output; saddling current and future generations with ruinous debt to pay for pet programs that benefit the few at the expense of the many; failing to secure the nation’s borders from a flood of illegal immigrants and standing in the way of states and localities seeking to take up this fundamental duty, which the national government has chosen to ignore; and a variety of other issues ranging from a sketchy national census to crumbling national security.

The prime difference between the situation in 2010 and that of 1776 is that the people now can provide oversight through the election process. The ballot is the corrective mechanism that was unavailable to the Founders. Today’s dire situation in Washington has approached the intolerable because too few have gone to the polls to defend their rights against the predatory, permanent governing class in Congress. An electorate that fails to defend its rights deserves what it gets. Rights guarantee nothing unless they are used, and if they are not exercised, they tend to be exorcised.

After independence, Jefferson explained that the Declaration was “an expression of the American mind” intended to “give to that expression the proper tone and spirit called for by the occasion.” The result is a timeless document the spirit of which is as applicable today as it was then. The people have the means at their disposal to take back our country and the government from the disconnected oligarchy in Washington. However, this only works if Americans actually step up. To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, the country will only be a republic if the people are strong enough to keep it.

INDEPENDENCE DAY

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah. Freedom, independence and all that. Would you like to be free to plan your own retirement? Do you want the federal government to let you have that Social Security money back and then tell you … invest this, make your plans, and when you stop working you’re on your own. You would? Well then you’re not on the same page of sheet music with most Americans.

Go ahead … celebrate Independence Day, but keep in mind that dependency on government is growing at an incredible rate … 16.3% increase just last year.

But … enjoy your times with your families. And while you’re at it look at your children and try to imagine what kind of opportunities await them in ObamaWorld.