Let’s look back on what took us to that point. For 280 years people had been migrating from Europe to the colonies. These people actually packed their bags, or more correctly their bag, and traveled by ship to the new land. They left family, friends, and most of their belongings to start anew in the exciting North American continent. Many, if not most left Europe because of religious persecution.
The people who migrated to their new homes were forced to work and use their skills developed in Europe to survive in their new land. Can you imagine how farmers handled their situation if they arrived in winter. There was no government programs to support them. They had no public housing to shelter them from the elements. The new immigrants were forced to make friends, assimilate into the community, learn the language, and generally find what the community needed that they could supply.
The spirit of the newcomers is what made them successful. They risked all they had for this new life, and their hard work, their desire for success, their ability to adapt to their new home all contributed to success. The idea that man can do whatever is necessary to create a better life for himself and his family is what became the backbone of the colonies. This spirit was within those who arrived and in those who came earlier. It was passed down from one generation to the next.
The British Empire laid claim to the colonies from the beginning. They maintained a large army and navy to police their possessions around the known world. It was expensive to maintain their strength. England maintained safe trade routes to and from the colonies. The colonies were taxed by the Empire to cover these costs.
The colonies thought the costs did not match the supposed benefit. With the free spirit of the colonies, the resentment grew to such an extent that independence was the only option left.
Thomas Jefferson was given the task to write the Declaration by the Second Continental Congress. Jefferson drafted the statement from June 11th to June 28th in 1776. Much of the philosophy of the Declaration came from the writings of an English philosopher John Locke. Locke wrote in 1688 “Glorious Revolution,” which described mans “natural rights.” Jefferson submitted his draft to Benjamin Franklin and John Adams for review. After those two made and discussed some changes, the document was submitted to the Congress on July 2nd.
The Declaration of Independence was the initial document that created this country’s independence. We celebrate this holiday to remember our beginning. Many soldiers fell during our war with England. They were not professional soldiers, as most were farmers or merchants that believed in freedoms the new country would provide. Through the generations, many more soldiers have suffered the ultimate sacrifice protecting this country. This holiday, please remember these fallen heroes. Their sacrifice led to the creation of this country. Our debt to them could never be repaid. Lets also remember the more recent fallen who can not be with us to celebrate the 4th. Although they can not be with us physically, they are with us in spirit. Remember to proudly fly your American flag in remembrance of them.