“I am well aware of the toil, and blood, and treasure it will cost us to maintain this declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet, through all the gloom, I can see rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that the end is more than worth all the means, and that posterity will triumph in that day’s transaction…”–John Adams writing to his wife, Abigail, on the Declaration of Independence
Today marks 231 years of glorious Independence for this great country. As we gather in groups across this land with family and friends, let us pause for a moment to consider the magnitude of the work done on that hot summer day in Philadelphia.
In 1776 a group of men, leaders in their own colonies, met in Philadelphia for what was to be the 3rd Continental Congress. This extra-legal body possessed no actual grant of power from the King or Parliament. Its legality came from the instructions of the several colonial legislatures. Since 1774 this body had met to debate what the best course of action would be to restore the rights that were theirs as free born Englishmen. Independence was something that had been discussed in secret; but until now public discussion had been reserved for firebrands.
After much debate and after several petitions to the throne, it became evident that honorable reconciliation was impossible. The King and his ministers had made it clear: If the American Colonies were to come back to the fold, it would be as servants and not equals. Faced with this alternative and the mounting list of violations on the part of the King towards his loyal subjects, Richard Henry Lee rose in June of 1776 to call for Independence.
After nearly a month of discussion and delay, Independence was declared; a new nation formed.
The decision to separate from Great Britain was by no means unanimous in minds of the public. True, certain energetic factions such as the Sons of Liberty eagerly supported the Declaration, but nearly 1/3 of all colonists remained Tory loyalists. Another third of the population pragmatically waited on the fence, undecided about who to support in such a lopsided confrontation. Only about a third of all colonists supported the initial idea of Independence.
The odds were terribly against the Americans in 1776. George Washington had the Declaration read to his 10,000 soldiers who were then guarding New York. It was a rag tag band of 10,000 versus a well trained British fighting force of 42,000. Ten thousand men, armed in the cause of Freedom, fighting for an end greater than themselves and securing the blessings of Providence are not a group to be underestimated.
For 231 years now, our country has stood resolute and firm in a stalwart defense of freedom. We have overcome all obstacles and now, God helping us, we will stand strong against our current external threat of Islamofascist jihad and our internal threats of social liberalism and economic collectivism.
On this Independence Day, let us commit ourselves to victory and our cause to God, firm in our reliance upon His unfailing care and protection.