Not everyone realizes that The Revolutionary War lasted over 8 years – from 1775 to 1783. Officially, the conflict began when the Colonial Militia Confronted British troops on April 19th, 1775 near Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts and ended on September 3rd, 1783 with the signing of the Treaty of Paris as the British recognized the sovereignty of the Thirteen Colonies called ‘The United States.’
On July 4th, 1776, 56 delegates to the Second Continental Congress met at the Pennsylvania State House aka Independence Hall. The day was reported to be hot with windows open in the building to encourage breezes to flow through. It is generally believed that although the work on the document was complete, it was not signed by the Founders until August 2nd, 1776.
The first public reading of the ‘Declaration of Independence’ was on July 8th of 1776 in Philadelphia’s “Independence Square” with ringing bells and band music. One year later on July 4th, 1777 Independence Day (The 4th of July) was celebrated by adjourning congress while bonfires were set and bells rang as bands played what was probably considered patriotic music. Among the signatories to the document from Virginia were: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee and Carter Braxton.
Other groups gathered and created the ‘The Constitution of the United States’ in 1787 that was ratified by Congress in 1789. The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution of The United States are considered the two founding documents of our country. The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America is as follows: “When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”
The second paragraph of this introduction of The Declaration of Independence is particularly instructive: “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. – That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, – That whatever any Form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such and organizing its owners in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
Those who have never read all or parts of the U.S. Constitution should do so but as a reminder here is the ‘Preamble to the Constitution’: “We the people of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
The population of the 13 original colonies was approximately 2.5 million; today our 50 states numbers about 326 million citizens and by 2050 may reach more than 400 million; our nation has grown by more than 1 million people since January 1, 2018. The United States is the most diverse and the most sought-after nation in the world for immigration/relocation. Total output (GDP) by the top five nations of the World are #1, U.S.A. = $18.6 Trillion, #2, China=$11.2T, #3 Japan=$4.9T, #4 Germany=$3.5T, #5 UK=$2.6T, #12 Russia= $1.3T.
Some of the challenges for the future are, Peace and Prosperity at home and in the World, Reduction of Poverty, Training and Education to match available jobs, improving efficiency of our government bureaucracy, increasing opportunities for all and reduction of crime.
This is year #242 for the oldest Democratic Republic in the history of the World. Have a wonderful and safe time watching fireworks, waving flags, picnicking with hot dogs and hamburgers and safe travel on this Blessed Fourth of July, 2018!