The war had started on Lexington Common on April 19th, 1775. It was well over a year later before we declared our Independence.
And when we did, Thomas Jefferson wrote a document that just sings with rhetorical flourishes that fully exemplify what could be called "The American Ethos."
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 had had enough of King George III and British rule.
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 HappinessGo back and read that again. It clearly states that there is a right, and a duty to rebel when any government becomes onerous and overbearing.
They then listed 28 specific grievances against King George and British rule in America. Funny thing though is how many would apply today.
They then pointed out that they had tried to resolve the issues, but had been rebuffed and ignored by the King and Parliament, and that by so doing had given the colonies no choice but to declare their independence from Britain.
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;Finally, they swore an oath:
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.And many did pay dearly as the war raged throughout the colonies.
So this 4th of July weekend, take 10 minutes and conduct the ritual with family and friends to recall why we celebrate. Then go enjoy the Barbecue and Fireworks. I guarantee it'll be more meaningful.