Wednesday, July 2, 2014

HAPPY 238th BIRTHDAY, AMERICA: Reflect on How We Got This Far

Miss Liberty Greeting All to Come to Our Shores for Freedom

America's Birth Certificate
DOB: July 4, 1776

Miss Liberty: She holds a golden torch in her right. In her left hand she hold a tablet with the inscription: July IV, MDCCLXXVI (July 4, 1776). 

At the base of statue is part of a poem written by Emma Lazarus and dedicated in New York City in 1883. These are words that most school children learn and remember:

Give me your tired, your poor, 
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, 
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” 

The document as proof of our birth: Also, some other significant events in the month of July

The Declaration of Independence has been called by many as the most important document second only to the Bible in its importance. July 4, 1776, was indeed the Birth of America with the signing of that document that said we 13 colonies are free and independent from England now and forever. The original document had 1,323 in total, and most was drafted by Thomas Jefferson. The first 342 words, however, tell the world who we wanted to be and why:

“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. -- That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, -- That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.”

At the bottom of the one-paged document was a list of King George III’s abuses of power.

Then, the 56 men serving in that first congress signed it concluding: “…we who pledge our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor” for what they were doing was treason clearly defined and the noose awaited for each and every one of them.

Factoid: The largest signature on the page was that of John Hancock (from MA) who supposedly said, or so the story was developed to imply later he said it, that he wanted to make sure King George could read it without his spectacles. 

In fact, his original signature (he signed first since he was the President of the Congress) was lost or destroyed in a fire had to be reproduced and added to the second document. Thus that signature in essence became the “Xerox or facsimile signature” in history, as it were. 

The document is getting up in age and it shows. But, it is safe and sound for everyone to see in the Rotunda of the National Archives Building in Washington, DC. along side the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights.


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