(Origins of fourth of July)
Were it not for the Boston Tea Party and colonists’ resentment of taxation without representation; we might never have become a country. King George III of England, due to his greed, committed the greatest error in his reign. Had he relented, we might still be part of the British Empire overseen by a governor instead of a president.
Although there was resentment throughout the colonies over the tea tax, between twenty and thirty percent of the population were still loyal to the crown and not interested in forming a new country. They feared economic disaster would result if we declared our independence. Not unlike the division we’ve had in this country due to the unpopular Vietnam War.
There were three types of colonists:
• The Loyalists to Britain
• The Rebels, who fought for independence and;
• Those who just wanted to be left alone and didn’t care either way.
Many returned to England while others fled to what is now Canada, as did many of those who refused to honor the draft during the Vietnam conflict.
New York, Pennsylvania and many in the South were loyal to the crown, feeling that they had escaped the iron hand of England and actually had nothing to fear from their English masters. Further, New York delegates abstained from the vote because they had no authorization from the colony’s governing body to do so. They were shortly thereafter given the authorization to vote for independence. Consequently, a week later, they were allowed to cast the vote retroactively. Even so, a third of the state remained loyal to the crown.
Another thing you may not know, Georgia did not send delegates to the Continental Congress before the start of the Revolution because they wanted the British to assist them with Native American raids. They did eventually join the Revolution and was the 4th state to ratify the constitution.
Although Thomas Jefferson, a founding father in an early draft of the Declaration, prepared a 168-word passage that condemned slavery as one of the many evils foisted upon the British crown’s colonies, it was removed from the final document.
The deleted passage read, in part as follows:
“King George has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life & liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither, exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, by murdering the people on whom he also obtruded them: thus paying off former crimes committed against the liberties of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another.”
Decades later, Jefferson blamed two Southern states for the removal, acknowledging the North also had a role in the deal. In an autobiography he explained, “The clause…reprobating the enslaving the inhabitants of Africa, was struck out in compliance to South Carolina and Georgia, who had never attempted to restrain the importation of slaves, and who on the contrary still wished to continue it. Our Northern brethren also I believe felt a little tender under these censures; for tho’ their people have very few slaves themselves, yet they had been pretty considerable carriers of them to others.”
The final draft of the Declaration was submitted to the Continental Congress on June 28, 1776, voted into law on July 2 and formally ratified on July 4. However, New York didn’t vote until July 9 and many of the signers didn’t attach their names to the document until August 2. The war for independence rated on until 1783 when the Peace Treaty was finally signed at the Treaty of Paris.
Other things about the Fourth of July that you might not know:
1. It didn’t become a national holiday for more than 100 years after it became law.
2. During the war, George Washington gave his troops a double ration of rum to celebrate the Fourth.
3. Jefferson and Adams both died on July 4, 1826, the nation’s 50th birthday.
4. Calvin Coolidge is the only president born on the Fourth of July.
5. More hot dogs are sold on July 4 than any other day of the year.
Maybe this is more than you want to know, and maybe not. Just sayin’
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