July 4, 1776 is one of the most important days in American history, one so significant that we celebrate annually.
Winston Churchill said, “A nation that forgets its past has no future.” There is a misconception that July 4th is about picnics and fireworks, flags and veterans. While many choose to celebrate this holiday in those ways, there is much deeper meaning.
America was founded by brave individuals who sacrificed health, family, home, occupational security, and the previous amenities of an all-providing government who demanded, in exchange, full consent to abide life according to its whims. Colonists experienced Great Britain as an ill-tempered dictatorship.
When King George moved to establish a monopoly of the tea trade, Colonists revolted with the Boston Tea Party. The subsequently increased British military presence on American soil was clearly an attempt to further control and guarantee Colonists’ dependence upon Great Britain.
This was one of many offensive acts towards the Colonists that lent proof of their necessity to break away.
Thomas Paine, in “Common Sense”, outlined all the various reasons why it was in America’s best interest to become a separate, sovereign nation. Thomas Jefferson commenced to compose much of the Declaration of Independence, drawing upon Paine’s work and the political philosophies of John Locke.
The first Continental Congress convened July 2, 1776 and approved a motion from Virginia to separate from Great Britain. It was July 4, 1776 when 12 colonies voted to adopt the declaration, which was finally signed August 2, 1776.
This document can be understood as the birthing proclamation of America. It is the foundation of our country’s very existence.
The Declaration of Independence was composed as an intentional guide, conscientiously determined by a fellowship of representatives to surpass all time. It is the very fabric of law and institution by which America exists — a country and government created for the people, governed by the people, united as one nation and under one God.
This is why we take time to celebrate July 4th.
Tracy Hopkins completed undergraduate studies at Wilmington College and graduate studies at Wright State University. She is a Clinton County resident and is involved in community interests.