July 02, 2015

Moments in History: Independence Day, July 4, 1776

John RobsonResident Historian
 

On July 4th, 1776, Britain’s 13 rebel colonies in North America did not declare independence. They did it on the 2nd.

But it was on the 4th that the explanation for their decision was approved, the Declaration of Independence.

And that date quickly became the day of national celebration in the United States because the American Revolution, though undertaken to preserve the traditional liberties of Englishmen, was driven by a conviction that those liberties were by natural right due to all people.

Indeed, it is a mark of how rapidly the 4th rather than the 2nd became central to American historical memory that John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, colleagues in the Revolution, bitter partisan foes, and friends in old age, both died on July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence rather than the declaration of independence.

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Comments
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commented 2015-07-05 11:27:18 -0400
I believe this moment (declaration of independence) to be a pinnacle of human/philosophical/social development which the world may never see again as we descend into the darkness f global authoritarian socialism.

The founders of the USA were the fruit of the British judicial/social liberal enlightenment. Blackstone, Locke, Adam Smith , David Hume and Thomas Pain were all reflected in this great statement on the sanctity of human liberty.
commented 2015-07-05 00:41:59 -0400
Thank you, most interesting.
commented 2015-07-03 08:30:28 -0400
Peter, I believe Magna Carta is coming out in September. Not sure on the day though.
commented 2015-07-02 22:17:21 -0400
True North asks (probably rhetorically), " One must wonder why Americans would throw off one King just to be ruled by another?"

For political correctness sake, imo.
commented 2015-07-02 20:48:54 -0400
It is more than a little ironic that the nation that spilled it’s blood to free herself from the shackles of rule by king, now finds itself with a President who rules by executive actions issued at his whim. One must wonder why Americans would throw off one King just to be ruled by another?
commented 2015-07-02 20:36:31 -0400
Good video, Dr. Robson! I, too, love these historical clips. When is that video on the Magna Carta coming out? . . . or is it already and I missed your email?
commented 2015-07-02 19:40:14 -0400
Love these history segments. Thanks John Robson!
commented 2015-07-02 18:21:56 -0400
You had Americans though, like Alexander Hamilton, who held Britain in high esteem. It caused a bit of ruckus between Jefferson, who revered France, and the Hamiltonians who wanted better relations with Britain. It is my belief both sides had reason to hold both countries with suspicion.
commented 2015-07-02 16:12:44 -0400
Yep, all true. You must allow me to chuckle, however, at a mindset that reveres the rejection our old colonial master Britannia on one hand and embraces her on the other.
commented 2015-07-02 16:03:03 -0400
Yes, Terry, for much of our history we were Britain’s “bitch”. We didn’t even question for a second helping her in WWI, a war of European aggression. Where Canadians and Americans split is Canada is very much a Tory nation, while Americans essentially rejected Toryism.
commented 2015-07-02 11:47:22 -0400
Nice to have a thread that celebrates the bold, independent, heroic spirit of the American Founding Fathers, and their courageous decision to create a new national identity, break away from imperial England, create their own flag, and strike out on their own.
Now I think I’ll go back to the thread where folks are arguing that we should give up our new national identity, return to celebrating our status as a Dominion of imperial England, and re-adopt a British flag.