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Friday, July 4, 2014

Independence Day History

Timeline For Independence
On July 4, 1776, thirteen colonies claimed independence
from England 's King George III.  And thus was born the
mightiest nation on earth: The United States of America.
Leading up to the signing, there had been growing unrest
in the colonies surrounding the taxes that the American colonists
were required to pay to England . The major objection was
'Taxation without Representation': the colonists had no say
in the decisions of the English Parliament since they did not
send representative to sit in the English House of Commons.
Rather than attempting to negotiate a satisfactory settlement,
King George sent troops to the colonies to quell any rebellion
that might break out.  The following timeline will give you some
idea of the history that lead to the signing of the Declaration
of Independence and America 's break away from British rule.

1774 - The 13 colonies send delegates to Philadelphia ,
Pennsylvania to form the First Continental Congress.
While unrest was brewing, the colonies were far from ready to declare war.

April 1775 - King George's troops advance on Concord , Massachusetts ,
prompting Paul Revere's midnight ride that sounded the alarm:
"The British are coming, the British are coming."
Thus began the American Revolution at the battle of Concord .

May 1776 - After nearly a year of trying to settle their
differences with England , the colonies, once again,
send delegates to the Second Continental Congress.

June 1776 - Admitting that their efforts were hopeless,
a committee was formed to compose the formal Declaration of Independence.
Headed by Thomas Jefferson, the committee also included John Adams,
Benjamin Franklin, Philip Livingston and Roger Sherman.

June 28, 1776 - Jefferson presents the first draft
of the declaration to congress.

July 4, 1776 - After various changes to Jefferson 's original draft,
a vote was taken late in the afternoon of July 4th. Of the 13 colonies,
9 voted in favor of the Declaration; 2, Pennsylvania and
South Carolina voted No; Delaware was undecided and New York abstained.
John Hancock, President of the Continental Congress,
was the first to sign the Declaration of Independence.
It is said that he signed his name "with a great flourish"
so "King George can read that without spectacles!"

July 6, 1776 - The Pennsylvania Evening Post is the first newspaper
 to print the Declaration of Independence.

July 8, 1776 - The first public reading of the declaration takes
place in Philadelphia 's Independence Square . The bell in Independence Hall,
then known as the "Province Bell" would later be renamed the "Liberty Bell" after its inscription -

"Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants Thereof. "

August 1776 - The task begun on July 4, the signing of the
Declaration of Independence, was not actually completed until August.
Nonetheless, the 4th of July has been accepted as the
official anniversary of United States independence from Britain .

July 4, 1777 - The first Independence Day celebration takes place.
It's interesting to speculate what those first 4th festivities were like.

By the early 1800's the traditions of parades, picnics,
and fireworks were firmly established as
part of American Independence Day culture.

Of the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence,
twenty-four were lawyers and jurists.  Eleven were merchants,
nine were farmers or large plantation owners. 

One was a teacher, one a musician, and one a printer.
They were men of means and education who launched
the Ship of State which you and I have inherited. 

Yet, they signed the Declaration of Independence, knowing
full well that the penalty could be death if they were captured.
When these courageous men signed, they pledged their lives,
their fortunes, and their sacred honor to
the cause of freedom and independence.

Five signers were captured by the British and brutally tortured as traitors.
At least twelve of the fifty-six had their homes pillaged and burned.
Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army. 

Another two had sons captured.
Nine fought in the War for Independence and died from
wounds or from hardships they suffered.

So have a Happy Fourth Of July
and appreciate your freedom!