You have celebrated (hope it was safe and memorable!), but what about the meaning of the Independence Day holiday? How many of you know or remember the extraordinary events leading up to July 4, 1776?
The Lead Up to Independence Day 1774-1775
Take, for example, that meeting of the First Continental Congress in Philadelphia in September-October 1774. These patriots wore their wool suits and wigs in the late summer heat, the formal attire suited for the serious start of something big. The British were forcing their authority on the Americans through measures called the “Intolerable Acts.” We Americans were “mad as hell, and we weren’t gonna take it anymore,” as we would say today.
Who recalls the battles at Lexington and Concord in April 1775? Surely you do. Remember the “The Shot Heard Round the World?” And don’t forget Paul Revere’s ride! The Americans cleverly got their side of the story to London before British General Gage could get his version to Parliament. (I love that!)
The Winning Pitch in 1776
Once the ball for Independence got rolling, the Second Continental Congress took two weeks in June 1776 to appoint the Committee of Five (Adams, Sherman, Jefferson, Franklin, and Livingston) to write the Declaration of Independence and review the first draft. The Americans wasted no time justifying their Independence by “letting the facts be submitted to a candid world.”
It is a brilliant document revered by serious Americans and freedom seekers everywhere. (I love teaching it!)
The Continental Congress approved the first draft of the Declaration, passed Richard Henry Lee’s motion to accept the Declaration of Independence, and approved the final version within seven days. (June 28-July 4, 1776) When Americans have unified moral convictions about a matter, historically, we waste no time taking action.
By August 2, 1776, most members of the Second Continental Congress have signed the Declaration. Hundreds of people stand in line to view our Declaration of Independence and the famous signatures of those brave men. They knew in writing their names on the document, they were also putting their lives, fortunes, and families at risk. They pledged it all, and most lost it all, but they never lost their sacred honor by backing down or out of their duty to their Creator and country.
This is our heritage. We have courage, conviction, and action in our DNA. I wish you a meaningful Independence Day celebration!
This is Common Sense Civics and Citizenship.🇺🇸
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