Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The History of Independence Day

"America has never been united by blood or birth or soil. We are bound by ideals that move us beyond our backgrounds, lift us above our interests and teach us what it means to be citizens." ~ George W. Bush

In a recent survey, 71% of Conservatives describe themselves as very proud to be American, while only 42% or Liberals said they are very proud of being American. This is no surprise to the Conservatives. When Liberals do everything they can to undermine the efforts of the troops in Iraq, and call their commander-in-chief a war criminal and a liar, is there really any doubt that these people are considered by true mainstream Americans to be un-American?

Today, we celebrate the 230th birthday of the United States of America. This is the greatest country on Earth, in spite of those Americans that hate their own country, the Liberals, this is still the home of the brave and the land of the free, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Independence Day is the national holiday of the United States of America commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

At the time of the signing the US consisted of 13 colonies under the rule of England's King George III. Leading up to the signing, there had been growing unrest in the colonies surrounding the taxes that colonists were required to pay to England. The major objection was "Taxation without Representation" -- the colonists had no say in the decisions of English Parliament.

Rather than negotiating, King George sent extra troops to the colonies to help control any rebellion that might be arising. The following timeline will give you a crash course in the history that lead to the signing of the Declaration of Independence and America's break from British rule.

1774 - The 13 colonies send delegates to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to form the First Continental Congress. While unrest was brewing, the colonies were far from ready to declare war.

April 1775 -- King George's troops advance on Concord, Massachusetts, prompting Paul Revere's midnight ride that sounded the alarm "The British are coming, the British are coming."

The subsequent battle of Concord, famous for being the "shot heard round the world," would mark the unofficial beginning of the American Revolution.

May 1776 -- After nearly a year of trying to work our their differences with England, the colonies again send delegates to the Second Continental Congress.

June 1776 -- Admitting that their efforts were hopeless, a committee was formed to compose the formal Declaration of Independence. Headed by Thomas Jefferson, the committee also included John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Philip Livingston and Roger Sherman.

June 28, 1776 -- Jefferson presents the first draft of the declaration to congress.

July 4, 1776 -- After various changes to Jefferson's original draft, a vote was taken late in the afternoon of July 4th. Of the 13 colonies, 9 voted in favor of the Declaration; 2, Pennsylvania and South Carolina voted No; Delaware was undecided and New York abstained.

John Hancock, President of the Continental Congress, was the first to sign the Declaration of Independence. It is said that he signed his name "with a great flourish" so "King George can read that without spectacles!"

July 6, 1776 -- The Pennsylvania Evening Post is the first newspaper to print the Declaration of Independence.

July 8, 1776 -- The first public reading of the declaration takes place in Philadelphia's Independence Square. The bell in Independence Hall, then known as the "Province Bell" would later be renamed the "Liberty Bell" after its inscription - "Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants Thereof."

August 1776 - The task begun on July 4, the signing of the Declaration of Independence, was not actually completed until August. Nonetheless, the 4th of July has been accepted as the official anniversary of United States independence from Britain.

July 4, 1777 -- The first Independence Day celebration takes place. It's interesting to speculate what those first 4th festivities were like. By the early 1800s the traditions of parades, picnics, and fireworks were firmly established as part of American Independence Day culture

The Star Spangled Banner
The National Anthem of the United States of America, written by Francis Scott Key, is a song that stirs emotion in many a citizen. It can be an uplifting experience to be at a public event and join in the singing of this proud anthem.

But believe it or not, some people don't know all the words to the song. They may know how to fake it, lipsynching and mumbling during the opening festivities at Ball Games. But the fact remains, they do not know the words to the National Anthem!

Friends, don't let this happen to you. Before you head out for 4th of July festivities, take a moment to memorize the lyrics to the nation's most important song.

For the purposes of the average public celebration, knowing the first verse of the anthem is plenty to get you by. True purists, however, will want to know all four verses.

The Star Spangled Banner

By Francis Scott Key

Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Happy Independence Day!


Poison Pero said...

Mark, you radical Conservative.......How dare you celebrate such a vile holiday as Independence Day.

Damn that hurt......I almost pulled a groin trying to act like a Liberal.
Have a great 4th everyone!!

Gayle said...

Heh! Poison Pero is funny. lol!

Mark, that's a wonderful Independence Day Post. I used to know all four verses of the Star Spangled Banner, but forgot the last three a long time ago. Thanks for publishing the entire song.

Here's hoping you have a glorious Independence Day!

Erudite Redneck said...

This just in:

Cia cuts and runs

The Central Intelligence Agency has closed a unit that for a decade had the mission of hunting Osama bin Laden and his top lieutenants.

Happy Independence Day!

Mark said...

That's not surprising since the CIA is mostly made up of Democrats!

And wasn't it someone in the CIA that leaked national security info to the New York Slimes?

Yep. Democrats...the party of cut and run.

Erudite Redneck said...

Repubs cut and run -- cut taxes for the wealthy, and run up deficits for our grandkids.

Pass it on.

Jim said...

As further proof that your ulterior motive is simply to divide the people of this country, you take a perfectly good patriotic sentiment with which all would agree and then politicize it with ugly hate speech.

Nice. Happy 4th of July.

Jim said...

Party of "cut and run"?

Korean War: Eisenhower, Republican, cut and run.

Viet Nam War: Nixon and Ford, Republicans, cut and run.

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Happy Independence Day, Mark!

Be nice, now.

shaketeachmd said...


As one of the 40% of liberals who is proud to be an American, I would like to comment on your blog. (I also note that you did not question the 29% of conservatives who said that they are not proud to be an American). I wonder if you refrained from calling our previous president names like "liar" or a "criminal". If you did, does that also make you un-American? In fact, at what point does criticism of your government make you un-American? Isn't that what makes America the "house on the hill"? I oppose the current administration for multiple reasons. So, I'm un-American because I question the motives of our government? I'm sure our founding fathers would have some issues with that reasoning.

On this fourth, I will stand proud at the singing of the National Anthem (and I do know the words of the first verse, at least). I will be enjoying a most American of past-times, a baseball game. I will fight for the rights and freedoms that are so precious to every American. There are many days in which I'm not proud of my government. Every day when I thank God that I'm an American...and a liberal.

Jim said...

I wish you people would learn to read the Constitution. Unless you are in the military, George W. Bush is NOT my commander-in-chief. He is NOT OUR commander-in-chief. He is commander-in-chief of America's military forces.

Mark said...

Jim is right. I was mistaken. The President isn't our Commander -in-Chief. He is the Armed Forces' Commander-in-Chief.

Of course, Jim would want to distance himself from that statement. He hates both the armed forces and President Bush. I'll bet if Kerry had been elected President, Jim would consider him OUR Commande-in-Chief.

The armed forces are fighting for all of us, even un-American unpatriotic socialists like Jim.

shaketeachmd said...


Why didn't you post my comment from yesterday?