David McCullough–A Momentous Decision

“In Philadelphia, the same day as the British landing on Staten Island, July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress, in a momentous decision, voted to ‘dissolve the connection’ with Great Britain. The news reached New York four days later, on July 6, and at once spontaneous celebrations broke out. ‘The whole choir of our officers … went to a public house to testify our joy at the happy news of Independence. We spent the afternoon merrily,’ recorded Isaac Bangs.”

“A letter from John Hancock to Washington, as well as the complete text of the Declaration, followed two days later:

“‘That our affairs may take a more favorable turn,’ Hancock wrote, ‘the Congress have judged it necessary to dissolve the connection between Great Britain and the American colonies, and to declare them free and independent states; as you will perceive by the enclosed Declaration, which I am directed to transmit to you, and to request you will have it proclaimed at the head of the army in the way you shall think most proper.’ “Many, like Henry Knox, saw at once that with the enemy massing for battle so close at hand and independence at last declared by Congress, the war had entered an entirely new stage. The lines were drawn now as never before, the stakes far higher. ‘The eyes of all America are upon us,’ Knox wrote. ‘As we play our part posterity will bless or curse us.’
“By renouncing their allegiance to the King, the delegates at Philadelphia had committed treason and embarked on a course from which there could be no turning back.

“‘We are in the very midst of a revolution,’ wrote John Adams, ‘the most complete, unexpected and remarkable of any in the history of nations.’

“In a ringing preamble, drafted by Thomas Jefferson, the document declared it ‘self-evident’ that ‘all men are created equal,’ and were endowed with the ‘unalienable’ rights of ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.’ And to this noble end the delegates had pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor.

“Such courage and high ideals were of little consequence, of course, the Declaration itself being no more than a declaration without military success against the most formidable force on Earth. John Dickinson of Pennsylvania, an eminent member of Congress who opposed the Declaration, had called it a ‘skiff made of paper.’ And as Nathanael Greene had warned, there were never any certainties about the fate of war.

“But from this point on, the citizen-soldiers of Washington’s army were no longer to be fighting only for the defense of their country, or for their rightful liberties as freeborn Englishmen, as they had at Lexington and Concord, Bunker Hill and through the long siege at Boston. It was now a proudly proclaimed, all-out war for an independent America, a new America, and thus a new day of freedom and equality.”

—-David McCullough, 1776


Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., History

12 comments on “David McCullough–A Momentous Decision

  1. Br. Michael says:

    A far better commentary on this 4th is found at:http://www.forbes.com/sites/billfrezza/2012/07/03/lamenting-the-lost-legacy-of-independence-day/

    For me the key quote: [blockquote]And taxes? The Founders knew a tax when they saw one—and there were very few they could abide, with or without representation. Thanks to a Supreme Court that long ago gave up defending the Constitution, we now have a chameleon levy that is not a tax when politically inconvenient yet magically becomes a tax when seeking constitutional muster. As if we didn’t have a wide enough variety of taxes, this new tax is designed to penalize anyone who refuses to participate in a great communal project designed to make every citizen even more deeply dependent on the government.[/blockquote]

    A tax imposed by the unelected Supreme Court no less. No cause for celebration this year.

  2. Scatcatpdx says:

    Br. Michael

    but we can celebrate out choice to dump the one who got us into this mess in November. Now if we can just stop acting stupid. I speak more of my, the so called Conservative side of my isle. .

  3. Br. Michael says:

    2, but we can’t. Oh, Obama might not be re-elected, but what Robert’s did can not be undone. Government never recedes from power once it is gained. It would take a Constitutional amendment or Convention to undo this and that will never happen.

    The Republic of the Constitution is gone and except for minor rules of procedure so is the Constitution. (They even ignore the proceedural requiremnt that tax bill originate in the House). Not a good $th at all.

  4. Cennydd13 says:

    Br. Michael, this abomination can be repealed, and I believe there is much sentiment among our Republican senators for doing just that. Don’t count the Constitution out.

  5. Teatime2 says:

    It’s good to recall that the initial cry was “no taxation without representation” because we’re at that point again and have been for some time. And we have no “colonial power” to blame and war against. Let’s face it — you have to be well-to-do and/or politicallly connected to win election to our legislature and White House. Most of us are neither. So, what are we going to do about it?

    I really wish I knew. You can’t vote them out because there’s no one different running against them. And those with good intentions and good hearts who would run against them are either chewed up and spat out by the process or are corrupted by the evil necessities of the process, namely money and connections.

    Our choice for president is between a candidate carefully packaged by a notoriously corrupt political machine (and then brought into the mainstream American consciousness by Oprah!) and a self-made multi-millionaire who has done some really good things in his political career but is now disavowing and acting ashamed of them because his political party disagrees. I know a vote for Gary Johnson doesn’t accomplish much but I think it’s the way I have to go.

    I wish and hope that Americans take some time to consider how we might improve our situation.

  6. desertpadre says:

    But Teatime, that is a vote that Romney would not get, and so it essentially is a vote for Obama. Surely you don’t want that!
    desert padre

  7. Boniface says:

    I hear you teatime. As Bob Marley once said ” we’ll discover who the true revolutionaies are, and as Samuel Johnson, who despised Jefferson … said it best: “How curious it is that those who bray so loudly about freedom, liberty and the rights of man are themselves the drivers of slaves.”

  8. Br. Michael says:

    4, again Obama and Obamacare are minor. The major thing was SCOTUS. We have a vast expansion of federal power through Robert’s decision. The defeat of Obama and the repeal of Obamacare will not alter that. The agenda was always less important than the principle and it is the principle that cannot be reversed.

  9. Teatime2 says:

    Desertpadre, I need to be OK with my vote. I have to personally believe that the person for whom I vote will be a good, fair, principled president. I believed that of McCain but I just don’t know this time around, aside from Gary Johnson.

    Boniface, Ouch! Samuel Johnson didn’t hold back, did he? LOL. It is interesting, though, because I recall Jefferson saying something about the need for regular rebellions/revolutions so that was part of the plan and design. We’ve definitely grown too complacent and easily self-satisfied.

  10. desertpadre says:

    But, TT2, you know that your vote will be simply wasted, and the practical effect is that it is at least 1/2 vote for Obama.
    desert padre

  11. Teatime2 says:

    I’m sorry you feel that way — that a vote is “wasted.” From my perspective, it is precisely that train of thought — that someone should not vote from conviction but strategically, instead, because the only two parties we’re “allowed” haven’t produced anyone worthy of the office is part of the muddle we’re in.

    I have to vote with at least some confidence in the candidate who gets my vote or not vote at all. Maybe the latter decision is the answer; perhaps if people would stop playing into the hands of the only two powerful parties and declined to vote if neither nominee was worthy, it would catch on and eventually get their attention when only some sycophants and schemers attended their dances. And the people could correctly claim that the “winner” wasn’t given a mandate to govern.

  12. Yebonoma says:

    Well, the Obama regime has touted the Arab Spring numerous times. Think they would tolerate an American Spring or an American Long Hot Summer. I wonder why Homeland Security really contracted recently to buy 450 million rounds of hollow point ammunition? Maybe they plan to secure the borders – Not!