Wednesday, July 4, 2018

July 4th Independence Day

Much like many other American holidays, culture, tradition and practices have somewhat dulled the original meaning of what we celebrate. Today we celebrate the 242nd birthday of this Nation - when the thirteen colonies united to declare independence from the tyranny of the British monarchy and to stand for a God given right to self rule.

Like any rebellion, the roots began much earlier, decades earlier in our case, with the British Government looking at the Colonies as a source of revenue, and without allowing representation from the Colonialists, began to unfairly tax the colonies. The Sugar Act (1764), the Stamp Act (1765), the Quartering Act (1765), the Revenue Act (1766), the Townshend Acts (1767), and, the Tea Act (1773) all increasingly fanned the flames of that familiar phrase - "taxation without representation". The writers of our Constitution and Bill of Rights disliked the Quartering Act so much that they ensured through the Third Amendment that "No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law."

In December 1773, the Boston Tea Party, comprised of colonial men dressed like Mohawk Indians, boarded the tea laden ships from England that arrived in Boston Harbor, and threw over 300 chests of tea into the bay. Great Britain responded with the Coercive Acts (1774) and additionally, beginning in Massachusetts, which was pretty much the center of gravity for the rebellion, restricted community meetings in a measure to curb a quelling rebellion.

England appointed the Commander of British Forces in the colonies, Army General Thomas Gage, as Governor of Massachusetts. Through 1774, the idea of a Continental Congress was conceived and in September the First Continental Congress was held in Philadelphia. Though this first Congress debated many solutions to the tyranny of British rule, this first Congress ended up with a petition to King George III for a redress of grievances, which had no effect but to birth a Second Continental Congress in 1775.

What happened between the first and second Continental Congress' was, of course, the Battles of Lexington and Concord (Massachusetts), where on April 19th, the British Army units moved to seized Colonial military supplies to prevent means for an active armed rebellion, and to arrest the burgeoning rebellion's leaders. The British were initially successful in driving away the armed Colonials, but took a toll in casualties as they were driven back to Boston by a mounting number of Colonialists called to arms, then shortly Boston became surrounded by a Colonial militia force.....and the armed American Revolution began. The will and means to resist tyranny and the British attempts to seize firearms so prompted the Founders evident in their writings of the Second Amendment - "A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed."

Throughout the founding and settlement of the Colonies, militias were formed for mutual defense, initially against hostile Indians. This began the tradition of the American Citizen-Soldier. One of my favorite stories is of the Culpeper Minutemen of central Virginia, which was basically the frontier in those days, who formed a unit under the famous white 'Culpeper Minutemen - Liberty or Death - Don't Tread on Me' flag, and in late 1775 began the fight for independence by marching to the east coast to engage the British attempting to land troops. The rifle marksmanship of the Culpeper Minutemen stopped the British attempt, continuing the already well known reputation of the marksman ability of American Frontiersmen.

The Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. The Declaration proclaimed that the former Thirteen Colonies then at war with Great Britain were now a sovereign, independent nation and thus no longer a part of the British Empire. By signing the declaration, these 56 Americans pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor - it was no idle pledge.

Nine signers died of wounds during the revolutionary war; five were captured or imprisoned; wives and children in some cases were jailed, killed or left penniless. Twelve signers houses were burned to the ground; seventen lost everything they owned. No signer defected, despite intense pressure to do so, their honor like their new nation remained intact. Future presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were among the signatories.

So when you celebrate the 4th of July take a minute and reflect on what it took to give us this holiday. It took the will and sacrifice of men better than us.


  1. Lest we forget, education is how we turn the tide of ignorance of the treasure we have in this great nation. Thanks for your time and input.

    I have looked at your site to see if you have mentioned anything about the shirt/pullover you wear. Could you talk about this and maybe the why of the gear you wear and use. If you have already could you direct me.
    I also miss your videos, do you not do them anymore? I know they are a lot of work.

    Thanks again, Mike

  2. Thanks for your comments Mike, I'll soon get back to making some videos. I lost my cameraman and just seem too busy sometimes, but soon. I wear many pull over shirts - Malpais shirts from Orvis, Frontier Classics from Wild West Mercantile - all with big chest pockets to carry stuff and long enough to cover the waist keeping sand and hay from going down your pants. The wind blows nearly every day in West Texas. Be safe ~ Brad