Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Happy Independence Day!

On this date two hundred thirty eight years ago thirteen of Great Britain's twenty seven North American colonies declared independence.

The Second Continental Congress convened on 10 May 1776 to assess the progress made since its sessions the previous summer in maintaining their rights against the British Parliament while at the same time preserving their union with Britain. The situation had worsened.

The previous October King George III charged in a speech before Parliament that opposition in the colonies was “carried on for the purpose of establishing an independent Empire.” The colonists, he continued, make “vague expression of attachments to the parent state, and the strongest protestations of loyalty to me, whilst they were preparing for a general revolt.” It was time, he concluded, “ to put a speedy and to these disorders by the most decisive exertions.” In response to the King's charges, Parliament passed the Prohibitory Act. This act declared the colonies outside the protection of the empire, prohibited all commerce with the colonies,  initiated a naval blockade, and announced that all colonial ships and cargo forfeit to the Crown as enemy vessels. Moreover, the month before the convening of the Congress, fighting erupted between British regulars and Massachusetts militiamen at Lexington and Concord.

During the month of May, Congress assumed the role of an unofficial provisional government, trying to coordinate the colonies and assume military control over the thousands of militiamen gathering in the Boston area.

Then on 7 June 1776, representative Richard Henry Lee of Virginia introduced the following resolution:

“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. That it is expedient forthwith to take the most effectual measures for forming foreign Alliances. That a plan of confederation be prepared and transmitted tot he respective Colonies for their consideration and approbation.”

After a couple of days debate, the Congress postponed additional discussion until July. At the time, only slightly more than half the colonies supported independence. A consensus had to be formed. Meanwhile, the Congress appointed a committee of five to draft a formal declaration of independence for adoption if the colonies reached a consensus. The committee delegated one of its members, Thomas Jefferson, to write the draft.

Finally, on 1 July, the Congress resumed debate on Lee's original resolution. Although no new points emerged, a virtual consensus had been reached. Only the delegates from the state of New York had failed to receive any instructions to support the resolution. So on 2 July 1776, the Continental Congress voted to pass the Lee resolution declaring independence. The United Colonies became the United States.

Two days later, on 4 July, 1776, the Congress voted to approve the Declaration of Independence as a formal statement of their decision.

Richard Henry Lee


Anonymous said...

Police Planning 4th of July ‘No Refusal’ Blood-Draw DUI Checkpoints

I'm sure most law-and-order 'conservatives' applaud the above...

RightDetour said...

I guess I am a minority among those law and order conservatives. I am not keen on drug testing on the road or in the workplace, unless aberrant behavior or driving suggests one is under the influence.

I read the article you linked.

@Judicial officials will be on hand all throughout the holiday weekend to approve warrants, in some cases over the phone, that allow officers to take blood from citizens by force, which will then be examined for intoxicants.

The one positive take is that at least judicial officials will be working like the rest of us retail stiffs on the holiday.

CW said...

Thanks for the lesson in history, V.L., and happy Independence Day to you!

P.S. to “Anonymous”

To borrow a bit of your logic, I'm sure most anti-law-and-order ‘libertarians’ applaud drinking and driving and don’t care who gets hurt…

Anonymous said...

@ CW

One wonders what the Founding Generation would think of DUI checkpoints and drivers' licenses…we've 'progressed' SO much, haven't we?

CW said...

Maybe we should wonder what the Founders’ reaction would be to the prospect of traveling at very high rates of speed in heavy, metal objects on crowded highways. In any event I suspect that if the Founders could see us now, driver’s licenses and DUI checkpoints would be very far down on their list of what they’d find most appalling.