FOURTH OF JULY                     

Written by Fernando Milanés

11 de julio de 2023

My God!  How little do my countrymen know what precious blessings they are in possession of, and which no other people on earth enjoy!

  Thomas Jefferson

As we celebrated the 4th of July holiday, and we enjoyed the family gatherings, barbecues, baseball games, and fireworks, did we also ponder, remember, and talk about what happened that day in 1776?    

Do we take time off the pleasantries to mourn for the many that even before that date, fought, sacrificed, and died for our freedom?    I am afraid not.  

“We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”.

These are the most famous and remembered words of the Declaration.    

It is also one of the few parts that remained from Jefferson’s original manuscript after it was edited by the likes of Benjamin Franklin and John Adams, as depicted in the above painting.    

As historian Robert Hole writes, 60% of the 1,340 word document consists of a detailed list of grievances against the British rule, and only 20% is used to describe universal human rights. Also, as Robert Hole reminds us, it has strong derogatory feelings against the Native Americans and black slaves that were courted by the English to fight the rebellion and gain their freedom, a promise that unfortunately was not fully fulfilled.   

 The war against Great Britain started in 1775, because of continued protests-imposed taxation and retaliation from King George III that needed the monies from the colonies to avoid bankruptcy after the wars against France.    

The strong response from the American colonies was due to their being accustomed to being mostly left alone by the empire.    

It took 13 months of fighting to finally get most of the colonies to accept independence as the ultimate solution of the conflict.   

 After the declaration, the Continental Congress united the different fighting militia into an army led by George Washington that with help from the French was able to finish the conflict in 1783 by the signatures in the Treaty of Paris.    

Still the United States had not been born.    After liberation, the army disbanded and the country was formed by 13 independent states, with their own laws, governance, and militia.    It was ruled by the 1781 written Articles of Confederation that allowed a weak central government to support the mostly independent states.   

 If useful during the war it would prove to be unworkable during peace.  Incentivized by the need of an army for defense and the writings of the likes of Alexander Hamilton, on May 27, 1787, delegates from 12 states met to form a union that would “secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity”.   

Held mostly in secrecy, after 3 and a half months, a group of patriots led by George Washington and formed by quality thinkers as Franklin, Madison, Hamilton, Jefferson, among others, the unthinkable was achieved, a Constitution that devised a new and innovative form of governance that protected the rights of all, by limiting central power and balancing the diverse needs of the then 13 states.    

On September 17, 1787, a new nation led not a by a governing body but by “we the people”, was started and the future proved the wisdom of these great men, as the newly formed nation turned into the greatest of the world, envied and imitated, but never equaled. 

Thomas Jefferson’s political philosophy has always been my inspiration, as his was from the writings of John Locke.   

 In these times when our leaders are failing, and the public is mostly disinterested, though unsatisfied, we should go back to their basic idea that the people are making a contract with the government and had the right to terminate this arrangement if not pleased.  

This power given to “we the people” needs not only to be recognized and exercised, but appropriate judgment has to be used, not by fanatically compromising with a particular party, or resigning ourselves to the “lesser of two evils”.    As we watch the fireworks, we should consider that a “wake up call” for action is due, as it was two and a half centuries ago.     


 Dedicated to wokes and useful idiots.

O beautiful for spacious skies,

For amber waves of grain,

For purple mountain majesties

Above the fruited plain!

America! America!

God shed his grace on thee

And crown thy good with brotherhood

From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet

Whose stern impassioned stress

A thoroughfare of freedom beat

Across the wilderness!

America! America!

God mend thine every flaw,

Confirm thy soul in self-control,

Thy liberty in law!

O beautiful for heroes proved

In liberating strife.

Who more than self their country loved

And mercy more than life!

America! America!

May God thy gold refines

Till all success be nobleness

And every gain divine!

O beautiful for patriot dream

That sees beyond the years

Thine alabaster cities gleam

Undimmed by human tears!

America! America!

God shed his grace on thee

And crown thy good with brotherhood

From sea to shining sea.

Temas similares…

0 comentarios

Enviar un comentario