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It's....... J U L Y 4th !

Quick! Get the hotdogs, get the burgers, the salads, the corn, the soda, AND DON'T FORGET THE BEER! Fire up the bar-b-que, it's party time! It's a holiday, a time to find those "Big Sales" at the department stores, and a reason for picnics and parties. And why not? We are a free nation, no mother country to tell us how to live!

But, it wasn't always so. A little over 200 years ago, we were subservient to a king! How then did we become free? This is a bit of our history that I believe is not fully known to many of those who celebrate the day. This site is intended to give a brief understanding of that history.

In the middle 1700's the United States was known as "The Colonies", loyal subjects of the British monarch, King George III. The original thirteen colonies were Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Virginia.

Britain had imposed many taxes against the colonists. The fact that these tax laws could be enacted without any representation from the colonies was a major cause of the Revolutionary War.

"No taxation without representation" was a rallying cry of the American Revolutionary War. During the years prior to and during the Revolution, advocates of American independence decried the fact that the American colonies were required to pay taxes to London, yet they had no representatives in Parliament. Therefore, the Americans felt that they were being forced to fund a government into which they had no input.

The phrase was originally coined by Rev. Jonathan Mayhew in a sermon at Old West Church in Boston. A slightly different version,
"Taxation without representation is tyranny", is attributed to James Otis.

Flag of the 13 Colonies made by Betsy Ross

In 1773, Britain's East India Company was sitting on large stocks of tea that it could not sell in England. It was on the verge of bankruptcy. In an effort to save it, the government passed the Tea Act of 1773, which gave the company the right to export its merchandise directly to the colonies without paying any of the regular taxes that were imposed on the colonial merchants, who had traditionally served as the middlemen in such transactions. More important, however, the Tea Act revived American passions about the issue of taxation without representation.

Samuel Adams

In Boston harbor, local patriots led by Samuel Adams staged a spectacular drama. On the evening of December 16, 1773, three companies of fifty men each, masquerading as Mohawk Indians, passed through a tremendous crowd of spectators, went aboard the three ships, broke open the tea chests, and heaved them into the harbor. As the electrifying news of the Boston "tea party" spread, other seaports followed the example and staged similar acts of resistance of their own.

On April 17, 1775, in the city of Lexington, Massachusetts, British troops and colonial Minutemen fought a battle. It is still unknown as to who fired the first shot. History records it as "The Shot Heard Around the World". It was the beginning of the Revolutionary War.

The Spirit of '76

The first major battle of the war was fought at Bunker Hill, Massachusetts on June 17, 1775. "Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes", was the American byword. Unfortunately, the British were the victors.

In the city of Philadelphia on July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress declared the colonies to be free of British rule, but it took two more days for the delegates to agree on a formal document announcing their action.

Independence Hall

"When in the Course of human events,"......

With these words, the Declaration of Independence was written in Philadelphia on July 4th, 1776. Delegates from the 13 American colonies approved the Declaration. Contained therein can be found one of the world's most famous sentences:

"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."

John Hancock, President of the Second Continental Congress, warned the delegates, "There must be no pulling different ways: we must all hang together."

Benjamin Franklin, Philadelphia's legendary wit, is said to have added, "We must indeed all hang together, or most assuredly we will all hang separately." The actual signing took place on August 2nd, when most members of the Continental Congress put their names to the document.

The occupations of the 56 members that signed, consisted of:

24 lawyers
14 farmers
9 merchants
4 physicians
1 manufacturer
1 gospel minister

The boldest and biggest of the signatures was that of the Congress president, John Hancock.

The final and decisive battle took place at Yorktown, Virginia. The British were defeated, and General Charles Cornwallis surrended to General George Washington on October 19,1781.

Yorktown, October 19, 1781

In February of 1783, George III issued his Proclamation of Cessation of Hostilities, culminating in the Peace Treaty of 1783. Signed in Paris on September 3, 1783, the agreement--- also known as the Paris Peace Treaty-- formally ended the United States War for Independence. The name "United States", was now born.

The Saturday Evening Post
July 4th Posters

Thank you MarcyCZ for permission to use posters.

Now that you know why we celebrate,
go ahead,
Eat till you're beat ~ Shop till you drop!

Happy Birthday America!