Sunday, July 04, 2010

The Beginning

The United States of America celebrates today--the Fourth Day of July--as Independence Day. The chronicle of American Independence actually tells us that the legal separation of the American colonies from Great Britain occurred on July 2, 1776, when the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence that had been proposed in June by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia.

Lee's resolution, seconded by John Adams, was short, having but three points:

  • Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.
  • That it is expedient forthwith to take the most effectual measures for forming foreign Alliances.
  • That a plan of confederation be prepared and transmitted to the respective Colonies for their consideration and approbation.
By the adoption of this resolution the thirteen American colonies broke their connection with Great Britain. Two days later the Continental Congress adopted a document written by Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin that  now known as the United States Declaration of Independence.

So today, 234 years later, we Americans celebrate with parades, speeches, picnics, and fireworks. However, what we generally forget is that neither Lee's resolution or the Declaration of Independence gave us our freedom. They were only the beginning. For eight long, bloody years war and civil war ravaged the young nation:

Battle of Bunker Hill, 1775

Retreat from Long Island, 1776

Battle of Trenton, 1776

First United States Flag made, 1777
Winter at Valley Forge, 1777-1778

COL George Roger Clark's capture of Fort Sackville, 1778

Battle of Savannah, 1779

Battle of Camden, 1780

Battle of Cowpens, 1781

Battle of Yorktown, 1781

Surrender of British Army at Yorktown, 1781

Treaty of Paris, 1783

Only with the signing of the Treaty of Paris on September 3, 1783, did the American Revolution come to an end. Only then Americans have the liberty and independence and freedom to which the Declaration of Independence speaks. The cost was great: over 50.000 dead and wounded combatants plus an unknown number of non-combatants. Families split apart over allegiance to Great Britain or the new nation. The United States began life with a national war debt of an estimated $150,000,000 in 1780 coinage. That was our first national debt, which equals approximately $186 trillion in today's dollars.

One final thought:



  1. Good post Nick.

    Have to say my allegiance is still with Great Britain!

  2. I had never thought about the war. Thanks for the insights.

  3. Born of war and debt. Hmmmmm...

    We've gotten that one down, now let's do something new.

  4. SSNICK,great posting.I hope that you are having a great day today.Happy 4Th.

  5. Hope you and Mr. A. are having a fun weekend!