Monday, July 4, 2016 – Independence Day
Since I have a degree in the history of revolutions here is my hopefully humorous version of the Signing of The Declaration of Independence. It could have happened this way.
Back in 1620 a bunch of people called The Pilgrims got mad at the crown of England over religious freedoms and decided to get on this tiny little ship called The Mayflower and go to one of England’s colonies. They landed on a rock and they named the town Plymouth Rock.
They were not the first to arrive in England’s colonies in America. In 1602 a group arrived at coast of what is now Massachusetts and named their town Jamestown after the King of England, James I – of King James Version of the Bible Fame. James, being a Stuart, would begin a not too pleasant time in British history.
Things went well for about 100 years. Mother England pretty much forgot about the colonies across The Pond until she got into a war with the French called The French and Indian War. It is also known as The Seven Years War because it lasted from 1754 to 1763. England liked to name Her wars by the number of years it lasted. It was not always exact if you do the math. As foreign wars tend to do to countries, this bankrupted the English treasury. When governments go bankrupt, the leaders levy taxes.
So Mother England began to tax the colonies in her American empire. Well, this got out of hand real fast. It started out as “we just want to be represented in Parliament to have a voice over this taxation.” Either the news did not reach the Crown in time or it just pissed England off, I do not know, but England did not reply in a timely manner or at all as a matter of fact.
The next thing you know this anarchist group called The Sons of Liberty formed and decided to take matters into their own hands. On December 16, 1763, disguised as Native Americas, these men boarded a ship and started pushing England’s entire shipment of tea into the Boston Harbor. This is known as The Boston Tea Party. When George III who was now King of England and not a Stuart, heard about it he was really mad and said, “They did WHAT?” King George and PM Lord North refused to budge, somewhat like the Republican Party today.
Life for the American colonists did not get any better and the taxes continued to increase. Finally they said ENOUGH! A group of men, who called themselves The Continental Congress met for a second time in late June in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and on July 2, 1776 decided to declare independence from England. Like all group work everybody selected one guy to actually write the document while the rest would continue to think and drink ale in the pubs.
Thomas Jefferson was elected to actually write the words on paper. This is probably due to the fact that TJ could write with both hands at the same time. On July 3, Mr. Jefferson presented his paper to the others. Everybody liked the words, but John Adams was at the meeting was actually pissed off. It was his idea to write something. He wanted July 2 to be Independence Day, but the second Continental Congress said, “No, it is not an official document until everyone has signed off on it.” This began the Dawn of Bureaucracy and the document was not signed by the 56 delegates until July 4, 1776. If John Adams had not shoved the responsibility of actually doing the work onto TJ, perhaps July 2, would be the day we celebrate independence.
The Declaration of Independence was signed off by representatives of the Thirteen Colonies, not from The United States. There was no United States. That would come later.
The Declaration lists colonial grievances against King George III, declared independence from the rule and crown of England and declared war on England. It included the “right to a revolution.” Keep in mind, the American colonies had been at war with Great Britain a couple of years, but the declaration of war by the colonies put a new spin on things. It really made England look bad in the world, so France jumped in to help England took bad – See French and Indian War revenge and support the Colonies. When King George III and Lord North heard about this, they said “What the Bloody Hell?” Translated today as: WTF?
The Thirteen Colonies or states would go on to win this revolution and set the stage for revolutions against governments throughout Europe and the world. There were many revolutions against the British Empire because the sun never sat on the British Empire. Other notable revolutions include the one in France. That French Revolution was a head rolling doozy revolution.
The loss of the British Colonies across The Pond would eventually cause George III to go mad – not government mad, but crazy kinda of mad. Of course all of that royal inbreeding thing and maybe just old age might have had much to do with his madness.
The little colonies would eventually unite and form The United States of America. The Declaration of Independence would become one of the most important documents regarding human rights in the history of Western Civilization – especially the second sentence.
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.
Here’s hoping your Fourth of July is filled with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.