America's Independence Day

On July 2, 1776, the Second Continental Congress - representatives from Great Britain's North American colonies - meeting in Philadelphia, voted for Independence of the 13 colonies and the creation of a new nation - the United States of America. Two days later, on July 4, 1776, the Congress approved and signed the Declaration of Independence

For ten years, since the British imposed new taxes on the American colonies - the Sugar & Currency Acts of 1764, and the Stamp Act of 1765 - conflict defined the relations between Great Britain and her huge American colonies.

Under the cry of "No taxation without representation" the Americans called again and again for the British Parliament to stop oppressive taxation. But rather than listen, the British government reacted with even harsher methods, the "Intolerable Acts" imposing new taxes, and allowing the British military to quarter their soldiers in private American homes.

When the British governor of Massachusetts ordered his troops to march-out and disarm the people, American militiamen fought back. In the Battles of Lexington and Concord, in April, 1775, American militiamen beat the British Army, sending the British reeling in defeat, back to Boston.

Open war erupted. The Congress appointed George Washington, as commanding General of the new Continental Army. And after besieging the British in Boston for a year, Washington defeated them in April, 1776, forcing the British to evacuate and surrender the city.

Americans had won an important victory. And one that ensured that there was no going back. America would remain independent and free, or would be defeated and devastated by renewed British military occupation. Benjamin Franklin quipped "We must all hang together or most assuredly we will all hang separately..."

John Adams observed that Independence Day "will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance... It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward, forever more..."

Let us remember that amazing generation of Patriots who risked everything to found a free and independent America, and who built the institutions and protections to try and safeguard those freedoms and rights for future generations.

Wishing you all a Happy Independence Day.