Skip to comments.Happy Birthday, THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Posted on 07/03/2003 11:40:34 PM PDT by carlo3b
16202003 ...The Beginning
Within the short span of a hundred years, starting in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, a grand tide of emigration, one of the greatest population movements in all of the recorded history of mankind, swept from the European continent to new lands of America. This motivation to take the chance in a strange new world, was impelled by powerful and diverse forces, the natural tendency to seek escape from oppression and to crave freedom. Those few but hardy pioneers built a nation out of a stubborn wilderness and, by its nature, shaped the character and destiny of an uncharted continent.
The First to cross, The Mayflower Voyage
The first shiploads of immigrants aboard The Mayflower bound for the new territories, crossed the Atlantic more than a hundred years after the fifteenth- and sixteenth-century explorations of North America. In the meantime, thriving Spanish colonies had been established in Mexico, the West Indies, and South America. These travelers to North America came in small, horribly overcrowded craft. The Mayflower was not the first or only vessel chosen to make the crossing.
The first emigrants boarded a small 60 "tun" (tun barrels it could hold, rather than tons of water displaced) vessel called the Speedwell. They left the port of Delftshaven on July 22, 1620, amid fears, tears, prayers, and farewells
The Pilgrim group sailed to Southampton, a city on the English south coast, where they were joined by additional immigrants recruited by Weston and the merchant adventurers on a 180 tun ship out of London, the MAYFLOWER. Christopher Jones was the master. Following a five week dispute over the contract with the adventurers, the passengers on the two ships set sail for America on August 5. Their voyage was soon interrupted when the smaller Speedwell was discovered to be leaking badly. They put into the port of Dartmouth, Devonshire, and repairs were made, but the condition re-occurred once they were under sail again. The two ships were forced to make port a second time, in neighboring Plymouth.
There it was decided to leave the defective Speedwell behind, and continue on the MAYFLOWER alone. Some of the Speedwell's passengers and cargo were transferred to the larger ship, and on September 6, 1620 (my birthday, sigh . . . well not quite yet, of course, if it had been we may now be living in Carlo3bia, instead of America . . . but I digress), the MAYFLOWER set sail across the North Atlantic and its famous 102 passengers, into history.
During their six- to twelve-week voyage, they subsisted on meager rations. Many ships of the day were lost in storms, many passengers died of disease, and infants rarely survived the journey. Sometimes tempests blew the vessels far off their course, and often calm brought interminable delay. In spite of all of these obstacles, they made landfall. Remarkably, there were only two casualties during the voyage of the Mayflower.
The First Pilgrims
The single most compelling motive of thse emigrants to leave their European homelands was the desire for greater economic opportunity. This urge was frequently reinforced by other considerations, such as the yearning for religious freedom, a determination to escape political oppression, or the lure of adventure. Between 1620 and 1635, economic difficulties swept England, and multitudes could not find work. Even the best artisans could earn little more than a bare living. Bad crops added to the distress. The new world offered HOPE.
The first view of their New Home
The colonists' first glimpse of the new land was a vista of dense woods. The virgin forest with its profusion and variety of trees was a veritable treasure-housewhich extended over 1,300 miles from Maine in the north to Georgia in the south. Here there was abundant fuel and lumber. Here was the raw material of houses and furniture, ships and potash, dyes and naval stores.
The new continent was remarkably endowed by nature, but trade with Europe was vital, for the settlers needed to import that which they could not yet produce. Here the coastline served the well. Nearly the whole length of shore provided innumerable inlets and harbors, and only two areas, North Carolina and southern New Jersey, lacked the harbors for ocean-going vessels. Majestic riverslike the Kennebec in Maine, the Connecticut, New York's Hudson, Pennsylvania's Susquehanna, the Potomac in Virginia, and numerous othersformed links between the coastal plain and the ports, and thence with Europe. The lack of a waterways, into the interior, however, together with the formidable barrier of the Appalachian Mountains, discouraged movement beyond the coastal plains region. Only trappers and traders with light pack trains went beyond the seaboard. For a hundred years, in fact, the colonists built their settlements along the eastern shore.
These obstacles were soon, in historical terms, overcome and the trappers, farmers, ranchers, and all kinds of adventuresome peoples made their way South, then West.
A New Start
For many of our ancestors, the new world offered religious freedom, financial opportunity, and adventure. In many instances, men and women, who had little active interest in a new life in America, were induced to make the journey by the skillful persuasion of promoters. William Penn publicized the opportunities awaiting newcomers to the Pennsylvania colony in a manner more than suggestive of modern advertising techniques. Ship captains, who received large rewards from the sale of service contracts of impecunious migrants, used every method from extravagant promises to out-and-out kidnapping, to secure as many passengers as their vessels could transport. Many early travelers started their voyage with a hangover, the former revelers awakening to find themselves tethered to the deck of a ship on their way to the New World. Also a small but significant lot started in courtrooms, as judges and prison authorities were encouraged to offer convicted persons an opportunity to migrate to America in lieu of a prison sentence. Hence, the good, the bad, and the unconscious were the early crops of this democracy . . . and like all plants, flowers and weeds, the seeds of our nation took hold and flourished.
Their Faith... IN GOD WE TRUST
It started as an exploration of a New World, far away from the homeland, and evolved into an experiment of colonization . . . and that, with the tenacity of a very special few, developed into the greatest nation on earth. What the founding of our country took was a great deal more than words. It took more than spunk and courage, to carve a republic out of clay, and it took FAITH. A special kind of FAITH, the all powerful faith in themselves and an infinite power.
Much of the above was lifted, as in stolen, plagiarized, and pilfered directly from the faithful works of skilled historians, and learned folks. While it then becomes obvious from wherein my humble American lineage sprouted, from the emptying of the stockades, but I acknowledge the following out of a bit of shame and a great deal of respect.
The Bibliography of Principal Reference Works.
Bassett, John Spencer, A Short History of the United States, The Macmillan Co., 1927
Beard, Charles A. and Mary R., The Rise of American Civilization, The Macmillan Co., 1939
Curti, Merle, The Growth of American Thought, Harper and Brothers, 1943
Hamm, William A. , The American People, D. C. Heath and Co., 1939
Hicks, John D. , The American Nation, Houghton Mifflin Co., 1941
Hockett, Homer C., Political and Social History of the United States (1492-1828). The Macmillan Co., 1925
Morison, Samuel Eliot and Commager, Henry Steele, The Growth of the American Republic (1000-1865), Oxford University Press, 1942
The Growth of the American Republic (1865-1942). Oxford University Press, 1942
Muzzey, David, The United States of America-From the Civil War, Ginn and Co, 1924
Nettels, Curtis Putnam, Roots of American Civilization, Crofts, 1938
Nevins, Allan, A Brief History of the United States, Oxford University Press, 1942
Nevins, Allan, Ordeal of the Union, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1947
Nevins, Allan and Commager, Henry Steele, A Short History of the United States, Random House, 1943
Schlesinger,Arthur Meier, Political and Social Growth of the United States, 1852-1933, The Macmillan Co., 1939
Wright, Louis B., The Atlantic Frontier, Alfred A. Knopf, 1947, Encyclopedia Americana, 1948 edition, Americana Company, New York and Chicago, The New International Year Book, 1946, Funk and Wagnalls Co., New York and London
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,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 [George III] 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.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
Our 56 brave men who signed the Declaration of Independence . . .
Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence? Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army; another had two sons captured. Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War. They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.
What kind of men were they?
Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well educated. But they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.
Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.
Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.
Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.
At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson Jr, noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.
Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.
John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished. A few weeks later he died from exhaustion and a broken heart.
Norris and Livingston suffered similar fates.
Such were the stories and sacrifices of the American Revolution. These were not wild-eyed, rabble-rousing ruffians. They were soft-spoken men of means and education. They had security, but they valued liberty more. Standing tall, straight, and unwavering, they pledged: "For the support of this declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of the divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."
They gave you and me a free and independent America. The history books never told you a lot about what happened in the Revolutionary War. We didn't fight just the British.
We were British subjects at that time and we fought our own government! Some of us take these liberties so much for granted, but we shouldn't. So, take a few minutes while enjoying your 4th of July holiday and silently thank these patriots. It's not much to ask for the price they paid.
Remember: freedom is never free!
Happy 4th of July to you and yours
Bumped & Bookmarked
Indeed he did, and each year on the 4th of July, Rush reads it to the Nation over 640 radio stations, to more than 20,000,000 Americans.. God Bless Rush Limbaugh, and GOD BLESS THE USA
The Fourth of July. Independence Day. It brings to mind fireworks, sparklers, family barbecues, picnics and baseball. All of these are good things, but is this what the Fourth of July is really all about? What would our Founding Fathers think about present-day society and how we celebrate their achievement?
"Eric," a Colorado Springs, Colo., resident, thinks the Founders would be shocked and astonished by how far we have strayed from what they fought to obtain.
"I think (the Founding Fathers) would think that we have abused the rights they achieved for us. (Today), there is a lack of responsibility to the rights we have been given," Eric said.
"Greg," also from Colorado Springs, believes we have misconstrued the original intent of the Founding Fathers.
"I think that they would roll (over) in their graves to see how we have perverted the original intent of what they tried to do," he said.
Today it seems that the "independence" we celebrate has changed drastically from the original intentions of our Founders. David Barton, president and founder of WallBuilders, an Aledo, Texas-based ministry which educates Christians on the Godly heritage of our nation, thinks that the Founders would go "ballistic" over how much liberty and religious freedom we have given up. He also thinks we have also lost sight of what the Fourth of July is really about.
"The fact is that over that last 60 years or so we've got the Fourth all wrong," Barton said. "We teach in our textbooks right now that the Fourth of July occurred because our Founders objected to 'taxation without representation' that's wrong," Barton said. "(The Declaration of Independence has) got 27 reasons why the founders separated from Great Britain. 'Taxation without Representation' was reason number 17 out of the 27."
Barton said that the Declaration of Independence shows us in the present day where we are going astray. It's not all about economics, it's about God.
"One lesson from the Declaration is (the Founding Fathers') four-time acknowledgement of God; the fact that they cited the abuse of judges trying to run their society four times more often than they cited economics," Barton said. "I think we have seen that kind of judicial usurpation just in the last few weeks, with the courts having taken control of morality and having taken control of whether we can have a basic biblical morality."
Barton said the celebration of the first Independence Day was declared a religious holiday. John Adams, one of our Founders, said the Fourth should be celebrated by "solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty."
So how can we make this Independence Day more of a celebration of our freedom, and not just a day off? Barton gives us a very important suggestion:
"First thing they can do is make sure they stop and thank God for the fact that we have our freedoms, that we have our liberties. As Thomas Jefferson said, can the liberties of a nation be thought secure if we've lost a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift of God. At some point during the day there has got to be a celebration and thankfulness to God for what we have in our liberties," Barton said.
He added that reading the Declaration and taking time to remember those who have sacrificed much for the sake of our freedom are good ideas as well.
"The Fourth of July was used as a time to look back at the sacrifices of those who gave us our liberties and so it's a good time to get on the Web and look at the sacrifices of the 56 (signers of the Declaration of Independence)," Barton said. "Look at the fact that nine of these guys did not live to see the freedom they wanted us to have, that 17 of them lost every worldly possession they had in keeping their word, that three of them lost their kids, two of them lost their wives. We can look at those sacrifices and recall what it costs us today to preserve what they have given us."
In the meantime, "Tom" and his family, are going to do just that.
"On the Fourth of July, my son will recite from memory the Declaration of Independence for his grandparents because his grandfather served in World War II as a bomber pilot in Germany and then we will also read the account of the signers and the trials they encountered for signing the Declaration," Tom said.
In the end, that is the message behind Independence Day: Let us remember that it took a lot of sacrifice and courage to obtain the freedoms we have in this country.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
To learn more about the Declaration of Independence and to view a full transcript of the document, please see the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration Web site.
To learn more about our Godly heritage we recommend the video "American's Godly Heritage" by David Barton of WallBuilders.
Information about WallBuilders is available on the organization's Web site.