July 4th – Independence Day America! The Fourth of July also known as Independence Day has been a federal holiday since 1941. The tradition of public celebration dates back to the American Revolution. On July 2nd, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of Independence, and two days later delegates from 13 colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said of December 7th, 1941 that it was a ‘Day that would live in infamy’ and I contend that July 4th, 1776 is also a Day that lives perpetually or should in the hearts of all Americans. There were battles that broke out before that date dating back to April 1775 over one year earlier. The foundation for War was being etched in stone and in the hearts of many in the colonies. The pamphlet “Common Sense” published by Thomas Paine in early 1776 was a significant factor in the education of the public of the situation and articulated the reasons for demanding Independence. It was not until June 7th, when the Continental Congress met at the Pennsylvania State House (Independence Hall) in Philadelphia when Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee introduced a motion calling for the colonies’ independence. The ball was now rolling and the eventual prize of Liberty and Freedom was won years later. But, July 4th, 1776 is a Key Date in our American History and one that far too few know anything about today. John Adams believed that July 2nd was the correct date to celebrate the birth of America and turned down invitations to appear at July 4th events. It is interesting that both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died on July 4th, 1826.
There were patriotic celebrations after the War and it became an even more popular tradition after the War of 1812 when the United States once again faced Great Britain. In 1870, the United States Congress made July 4th a federal holiday but it was not until 1941 that the provision was expanded to make it a PAID HOLIDAY for all federal employees. The most common symbol of our Independence is the American Flag accompanied by the playing of singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” That today is being tarnished with the disrespect to the flag and the sacrifices made by patriots and heroes of bygone eras as well as today’s heroes in combat. I salute all who have served and are serving. I salute all the first responders and law enforcement members. I salute every American Patriot who loves America enough to give his or her life for Faith, Family, and Freedom as embodied in America!
On this day we celebrate our American Independence. As we do, I hope that we do more than have the obligatory cookout, trip to the lake, picnic, or relaxing day off work. I hope that we reflect on the incredible sacrifices made by the Revolutionary War Patriots and the amazing Gift of God in the Republic we know as the United States of America. I realize that today many on the Left, the MSM, and Hollywood liberals do not see America in the grid of the Constitution and in harmony with the vision and desire of our Founding Fathers. That makes me sad, but I face it as a reality. They do not believe in the Original Intent of the Framers of the Constitution and often refer to that document as antiquated and outdated. Former President, Barack Obama called it a “Document of Negative Liberties” and lamented that it restricted the government too much and prevented him from doing what he wanted to do. Although, he ignored it often, and declared that he was president and could do whatever he pleased. He even said that if Congress failed to do his bidding he had a ‘pen and phone’ and would ‘go it alone.’ Those on the Left seem to believe that the Constitution is a living document that evolves with the changing whims of politicians and ideologies rather than being a concrete directive that gives perpetual guidance for a Free Society. That makes me sad, but I accept it as a reality of the evolution of modern politics and the growth of Fabian Socialism and the toxicity of liberalism in America today.
As we reflect on July 4th, Independence Day, I am reminded of some interesting realities about the Original Patriots of this Great Nation. In my studies, I found that it was Benjamin Franklin who first used the term “patriot” and used it regularly in the years before the American Revolution. It appears that the term caught on and was embraced by the public and the military resulting in that distinction being given to the colonial soldiers who fought the British in the War for Independence. Through the years I have come to realize that many seem to have a very romanticized view of the Revolutionary War. I’ve heard those who are charged with teaching history contend that those fighting against the Loyalist or Tories were ideological soldier-farmers. History does not support that assertion and historical facts reveal that General George Washington relied on poor laborers who were motivated to join the army because they were offered money and land for their service. The record indicates that by 1778, half of those serving were not of English descent and the pay the soldiers were promised was often delayed or never arrived. It was a massive struggle and that makes the success an even greater miracle and/or mystery. To not see the hand of God and the providence of the Almighty in this victory is beyond my ability to comprehend.
As all conflicts that are rooted in politics and ideology, we discover that families were torn apart by the conflict and the differing ideological views. One such example is Timothy Pickering, Jr., an adjutant general in General Washington’s Continental Army but his father remained a staunch Tory until his death. Pickering entered the Revolutionary War as a Colonel in 1775 and after the War was appointed by President George Washington as ad interim Secretary of State on August 20, 1795, and elevated to the official position on December 10, 1795. John Adams dismissed him on May 12, 1800. When Pickering learned of his father’s imminent death, he wrote a letter to his father to thank him for his example, even when their opinions differed. He said, “When I look back on past time, I regret our difference of sentiment in great as well as (sometimes) in little politics; as it was a deduction from the happiness otherwise to have been enjoyed.” One of the many stories of how families were split over the decision to fight for independence and not all were as amicable as the Pickering situation.
One of the more light-hearted moments of the War came during or after the intense struggle in the Battle of Brandywine. In 1777 where the Colonist were defeated by the British. General Washington found a dog sniffing around the camp with tags indicating that it belonged to British General William Howe. The dog was returned to General Howe with a note attached, “General Washington’s compliments to General Howe. He does himself the pleasure to return his dog, which accidentally fell into his hands.” There can be civility even in hostilities.
Everyone fighting on the side of the colonist was not a solid citizen and history reveals that some of the Patriots were Pirates. Great Britain had the most powerful navy in the world in 1776 but the American Patriots managed to recruit some privateers and their armed ships to fight for the fledgling nation. Nearly 800 vessels were commissioned, and they ultimately captured or destroyed approximately 600 British ships. An American navy could never have defeated the British Armada those privateers caused about $18 MILLION in damage to British shipping by the end of the war. That would be over $302 MILLION in today’s dollars.
General George Washington was masterful in the use of spies and had an extensive spy network during the war! The undercover patriots included farmers, tailors, merchants, ordinary citizens as well as military officials who were engaged in covert activities and spying. The Spy Ring was directed by Benjamin Tallmadge or “John Bolton,” who created a complex system of coded messages for the operatives. Women were also used and the network was complex and extensive. Those spies listened in on British conversations at a vast arena of locations all over the colonies. In 1780 they uncovered the British plan to ambush French troops and they spread misinformation about the size of the Colonial Army to the British. This network was so successful that one British officer said, “Washington did not really outfight the British. He simply out-spied us.”
Women played a significant role as was reflected in the efforts of Margaret Cochran who married John Corbin in 1772 and joined her husband in the war efforts. She cooked, did laundry, cared for the sick and wounded nursing them to health and even dressed as a man and joined her husband in the Battle of Fort Washington, assisting him in loading the cannon. He was killed and she took over firing the cannon. She too was wounded and her left arm nearly severed and her jaw severely wounded. She survived the battle and was awarded a life-long pension equivalent to one-half that received by male soldiers, becoming the first female combat veteran of the war to receive a pension.
One of the turning points in the war was fought in South Carolina in 1781 and was a major turning point in the Revolution. The Battle of Cowpens was a major success for the American Patriots and thanks to the help of spy/messenger Catherine Moore Barry who knew the trails well notified the militia of the approaching British troops and helped General Morgan lay a trap for Cornwallis and the British providing a significant victory.
The amazing outcome and the subsequent establishment and development of the United States of America produced and continue to produce the best system of government and economics of any system practiced by man. America won her Independence and became a Free Nation and would become the Free Constitutional Republic established with the ratification of the American Constitution. I pray that on July 4th, 2018 we will remember what transpired in 1776 and then when the Constitution was signed and later ratified. WE ARE FREE because of the sacrifices of many and because of the providence and hand of God.
God bless you and may we never forget the Gift He has given us. God bless America!