To answer that question in a simple statement, YES! But it is not that simple in 2022 as we should all know. It is not as simple as saying, “You can’t take my rights and liberties away.” It is far more involved and the metamorphosis over the past 246 years is producing some very undesirable fruit and dangers.
I can only imagine the sentiment and trepidation in the hearts of those incredible patriots as the final determination to declare independence from Great Britain arrived. The declaration, drafted by Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and a few others was a daring endeavor that produced one of the most amazing revolutions and republics the world has ever known.
The colonists who signed on to the idea of independence knew they would either succeed and secure freedom or would perish by the sword, bullet, or gallows. The words of Patrick Henry would prove to be more than a daring individual assertion, but a colonial rallying cry. The words ascribed to Nathaniel Hale, “I regret that I have only one life to give for my country.” Proved to be a reality for many who gave all to secure freedom for their posterity.
Interestingly, Congress voted secretly for independence on July 2, 1776, not July 4th. The major reason for July 4th being designated as Independence Day or celebrated as such was that the final draft was completed two days after the vote of approval and the document was published.
The term Independence Day was not used until 1791, then in 1870, it became an official unpaid holiday for federal workers. In 1941 the day became a paid holiday. It has become known as the 4th of July, July 4th, or just the Fourth for many, and tragically, far too few realize the significance of our struggle for independence. We have lost sight of what our Founders and the Framers of the Constitution established and bequeathed to us.
The words of Benjamin Franklin are apropos. He was asked, “Dr. Franklin, what kind of government do we have?” He responded, “A Republic if you can keep it.” That was far more prophetic than most realized and for well over two hundred years most would have thought it impossible to lose. America valued her freedom and our inalienable rights. That has dramatically changed over the past fifty to one-hundred years. The change has been slow and subtle, but the creeping erosion of our freedom has largely been ignored by many.
John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both former presidents died on the same day, July 4, 1826. Both were signers of the Declaration, and both wanted to live until the 50th anniversary of that event. Jefferson died at age 83 at one o’clock in the afternoon and Adams passed away a few hours later at the age of 90. Five years later, James Monroe died on July 4th at the age of 73.
James Madison, called the Father of the Constitution almost became a July 4th statistic. He was struck down with a severe case of rheumatism and suffered incredible pain and was unable to move. He died six days short of the July 4th anniversary. The 30th President Calvin Coolidge was born on July 4, 1872. Those are interesting facts regarding the impact of the date on American history.
The push to declare independence was first declared by Richard Henry Lee in June of 1776 and after much deliberation, Congress agreed to draft the resolution to sever all political ties between the colonies and the crown. That document argued that any group of people have the right to change governments “if that government becomes oppressive (unfair and controlling.)” Wow! That is eerily relevant in today’s political climate, and one must wonder if Jefferson’s assertion regarding the tree of liberty might come into play in the near future.
The actual revolution began much earlier with the Boston Tea Party and the hostilities in 1775. King George III and Britain’s refusal to heed the festering dissatisfaction of the colonist finally resulted in the American Revolution and the miraculous victory of George Washington’s Continental Army over the world’s most powerful fighting force. Many of the patriots including Washington believed that it was the hand of God’s providence that brought about that result. They depended on what American has become reluctant to acknowledge, God and His providence.
In the American Revolution, like all our wars through World War II, victory was secured because of the involvement and investment of ordinary citizens who were willing to risk all for freedom. In Pennsylvania, the assemblymen required their congressional delegates to oppose independence. The citizenry gathered outside the State House and threatened to overthrow the legislature forcing them to drop their resistance to independence.
I suggest that it would serve us well to note the conclusion of the Declaration of Independence. Many know the first well, but do not know the conclusion. Therefore, I offer it here:
“In every stage of these Oppressions, We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, 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; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”
Two things stand out to me in the Declaration of Independence. First, the colonists were willing to peacefully resolve the differences between them and the British crown and parliament. Second, they were fully dependent upon the providence of God. I believe that the latter portion of that observation is what is creating the problems we have today. We have lost our reverence for and acknowledgment of God in our government and much of our society.
If we want to “keep the republic” we must return to our recognition and reverence for God and return to dependence upon His hand of providence to guide and preserve us. We need to return to our moral moorings and make 2 Chronicles 7:14 a foundational principle in our nation. I stand for Faith, Family, and Freedom.
God bless you and God bless America – – Happy Independence Day!