fireworks over lake

The Constitution. Part 1 / Independence Day.

Here it is July 1st, 2023, and as promised, this is the first installment in my personal quest to know more about Independence Day, and the resulting Constitution, Bill-of-Rights, and Amendments birthed forth by this day.

I will try to keep these posts no longer than a couple of minutes long. And as claimed in my previous post, I am not an expert. A large part of why I am committing to this monthly, year-long series is, that I am forcing myself to learn this important history and information. You, followers of Freedom-4-All, can benefit from my quest if you wish.

As a disclaimer, I will make mistakes. I will be forced to compile a lot of information in a small space. At times, I will have to correct past posts. So what? I, we, will still be more knowledgeable than before I started, so bear with me.

To begin. The 4th of July we all celebrate comes about because that is the recognized day the 13 original colonies claimed their independence from England. But even though most American think of this date as the beginning of America's freedom from England, the roots go back further in time. I believe those roots are where we need to start for this post.

Like all beginnings, the harder one digs, the more one realizes the more they need to keep digging. A true beginning is often impossible to pinpoint. Therefore, we will start with some general information.

Artist rendering of original colony port.

The colonies were founded when strong-willed, hardy souls wished to live some of their personal beliefs in a freer atmosphere. Religion is the one most mentioned. But even though they needed 'their space', the colonists also came over to help establish England's presence in this rich new world. Jamestown, established in 1607 in what is now Virginia, was their first recognized settlement.

But while the settlers were working to achieve their own communities, they still were considered British subjects with some of the corresponding privileges, such as needed imports and a monetary system. They were also willing and wanted to be part of the English Parliament, with at least partial representation. This was never allowed.

Adding to the frustration of Parliament exclusion, and because of the free-thinking nature of the colonists, coupled with the distance from the motherland, things became more difficult, at least from England's rule point -of-view. And by the early 1700s, the colonist's relationship with England became strained.

It continued downhill picking up speed in the mid-1760s when England started to tax imports (the sugar tax being the first). It didn't take long until more taxes with larger percentages were applied. To force compliance with these constant taxes, England sent troops over to make sure all taxes were paid. Naturally, this action of forced compliance, but not being part of England's government, led to a feeling of 'taxation without representation'. The seeds of war were planted.

In 1770, things crossed over the line with the Boston Massacre, where British troops and colonists mixed it up in the streets. This action left 3 colonists dead and 8 wounded. Things escalated even further when in 1773, colonists dressed as Indians, attacked the English boats bringing heavily taxed teas into the harbor. The attack led to the mass dumping of the tea into the ocean and later became known as the 'Boston Tea Party'.

It was this action that pushed most colonists to realize that they needed to self-govern if they wanted the life they envisioned when they first established their colonies. They secretly worked on their exit strategy and ratified it on July 4, 1776, thus claiming their independence. 

Now understand that there are dozens of other decisions and actions from all involved (Paul Revere and Sons of Liberty, for example) and if you wish to dig deeper, you can spend months, maybe years, expanding your knowledge on this subject alone. I just wanted to get the ball rolling and bring a little better perspective to the reason for this cool holiday.

So, this 4th, as you watch the parade, enjoy the fireworks, and share hotdogs and beer with your friends, please remember and understand that for the most part of 15 years prior to 1776, many braves soles worked, fought, and strived to be able to claim their independence and, by default, yours.

See you next month when we look into the Revolutionary War from 1775-1783. 

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Enjoy the holiday.

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