Friday, July 06, 2007

Happy 231rst Birthday!

Time to brush up on our History. This 4th of July, did your kids ask you: "Mommy (or Daddy) what are we celebrating on the 4th of July?"

Well the standard response is "the Birthday of our Nation"or "the fact that we are a blessed nation with so many wonderful freedoms and brave men and women who were and are willing to sacrifice their lives for our right to freedom" and these are absolutely correct. But what if your kid wants more details?

I don't know about you but, for me, as we age and get further away from our primary education days, the actual historical details surrounding the 4th of July tend to get a bit fuzzy. So here is a brief refresher:

1) the Declaration of Independence was actually signed on July 4, 1776.And that is the actual date that they go back to when counting the age of our nation.

2) The colonies had officially been at war with England already for nearly a year by July 1776. The first battle of the American war for Independence from England was the Battle of Lexington, fought on April 19, 1775 -- and George Washington had already been appointed General of the Continental Army by 2nd the Continental Congress, which met May 10, 1775.

3) Even though the colonies had been at war with England for over a year by July 1776, it was the actual signing of the Declaration of Independence that made the focus, and desired outcome, of the war for the colonies of America "official." The colonists weren't just fighting over taxation and other grievances: the overwhelming consensus for independence from British rule -- which those pushing for outright revolution didn't have at the initial outbreak of war -- was consolidated by July of 1776.  This is when our foundling nation finally came together in order to tell the British to "take a hike" --the reason given by a friend (and father of 3 young children himself) as to what we celebrate on Independence day (Go Rhett! =).

4) While Articles of Confederation debate and the actual signing of the Constitution took place took place near July time-frame. The Birthday of our nation is counted from the day of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, on July 4th, 1776.

5) Other Dates of Interest:
o Articles of Confederation finally ratified March 1, 1781.
o War ended officially on October19, 1781 at the Battle of Yorktown.
o Constitutional Convention Meets (begins) May 25, 1787.
o Constitution of the United States of America was not signed until Sept. 17, 1787.

So now, you know  -- if you didn't already -- so you can dazzle your own kids with your profound knowledge of American history.

Sorry this wasn't up before the actual 4th, but better late than never. Hope you all had a happy 4th of July celebration!

God Bless America and Happy Birthday! Birthday number 231 if I can still do math correctly?

P.S. The Bonus question is: How many signed? How many of the signers of the Declaration of Independence can you name -- without using Google?

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