Today it seems the path from the Declaration of Independence to achieving it was foreordained. Actually the odds of success were very small. When they pledged “our Lives, our Fortune and our sacred Honor”, they meant it. They stood to lose everything including their lives.
The Continental Congress was the only government we had. The only way to fund the war was funded was to beg the states for money and print currency which was quickly devalued. The army consisted of George Washington and a motley collection of ill-trained and ill-equipped militia. They would face the mightiest military power in the world. It could all have ended that summer. Washington suffered a disastrous defeat and was only able to escape because of a nighttime fog.
At least one man, John Adams, saw the future. He wrote his wife Abigail that Independence Day “will be celebrated, by successive Generations, as the great anniversary Festival … from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward for evermore.” The only thing he got wrong was the date. He thought it would be July 2, the day Congress approved independence.
For the last 241 years it has been a beacon of liberty and opportunity to people around the world. There certainly have been mistakes but I was shocked that recent polls showed only 51% of the people were proud of our country. Showing pride should be independent of political belief or whoever happens to live in the White House.
Let’s all enjoy the fireworks and a day off work. However, we should take a moment to think about the first Independence Day.