by iampunha | 7/02/2008 08:00:00 AM
With July 4 quickly approaching, a number of old assumptions, half-truths and outright lies are being sold and eagerly gobbled up by Americans from sea to shining sea.

The biggest lie is that we declared our independence from Britain on July 4:

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.


For those who fought for the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and for those who did not live to see it enacted.

And for plf515, who shares my love of knowledge, reading and the truth.

Oh, did you think this one element of our independence was true? That we actually did declare our independence on July 4, 1776?

Well, sorry. And if you don't believe me, perhaps John Adams will be able to convince you:

The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America.

I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.

It is, of course, entirely too late to go changing our national birthday from July 4, 1776, to July 2, 1776, or Jan. 14, 1784:

And we, the United States in Congress assembled, having seen and duly considered the definitive articles aforesaid, did, by a certain act under the seal of the United States, bearing date this 14 day of January, 1784, approve, ratify and confirm the same [...].

Given under the seal of the United States. Witness his Excellency Thomas Mifflin, our president, at Annapolis, this 14 day of January, in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-four, and of the sovereignty and independence of the United States of America the eighth.

The reference to Thomas Mifflin as president is yet more continuation of the lies of America's founding. In all fairness to Mifflin, American "history" books and Gen. and President George Washington, though, the office of President of the United States in Congress Assembled wasn't really anything like President of the United States of America:

At that time, presidents of the Congress occupied a position, which was far either from the authority of modern head of state or from contemporary state governors. All presidents through Samuel Huntington served terms, which were not specified by any official document.

The arrogance of celebrating our independence as having begun in 1776 has always struck me as extremely silly. To wit:

::declares independence::


Damn. Still have to pay taxes.

As any teenager would tell you (and as any 2-year-old would argue against -- "NO!"), you do not become independent when you say you are.

You become independent when you fend off all comers.

And we were no more independent July 4 than we were July 3, June 20, August 14 or any other day until we signed the Treaty of Paris. And with all due respect to the many historians who have written about July 4 as this nation's birthday, and with far greater respect to those who have fought for its birthday and everything else about it, we became free when we earned that freedom, not when we espoused it. Otherwise, why even bother acknowledging differences by fighting for it? What, do you say "Oh, sorry, we declared our independence. We appreciate that you disagree, but we're quite fixed on this position. There's always the West Coast. Now, could we invite you to stay for some tea?"

I understand and appreciate the desire to have a nice, romantic story, and I am ever aware of the saying "Never let facts get in the way of a good story," but in this case, I say to hell with the traditional story. If you're going to teach something about our nation's independence, make sure it isn't demonstrably wrong on every front.

We declared our independence on July 2, not July 4. And we earned it a hell of a lot later than 1776.