Happy July 4th! America’s Independence Day. The day the Continental Congress officially adopted the Declaration of Independence, declaring that the thirteen colonies were no longer part of Great Britain, but independent sovereign states that were part of a new nation.
The Declaration of Independence was drafted by Thomas Jefferson and revised by the Continental Congress before it was adopted in 1776. The Revolutionary War was already in progress by that time. It had begun on 19 April 1775 with “the shot heard ‘round the world,” just a day after the midnight rides of Paul Revere and William Dawes.
The Continental Congress adopted the Articles of Confederation, our first constitution, on 15 November 1777, but they were not ratified by all thirteen states until 1 March 1781.
The Revolutionary War ended on 3 September 1783, when the U.S. and Great Britain signed the Treaty of Paris.
The United States Constitution was signed and adopted 11 years after the Declaration of Independence, on 17 September 1787. Amendments followed. The Bill of Rights, the first ten Amendments, was adopted on 15 December 1791. Amendments 11-27 were adopted 4 March 1794-7 May 1992.
Those three documents, the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and The Bill of Rights, are the three essential founding documents of the U.S. government.
Below is The American’s Creed, which we recite at our DAR meetings. It was the winning submission in a 1917 national writing contest for a creed of the United States. William Tyler Page used phrases from the Declaration of Independence, the Preamble to the Constitution and Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address in his entry. The American’s Creed was adopted by the U.S. House of Representatives in 1918.
The American’s Creed
I believe in the United States of America as a government of the people, by the people, for the people; whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed; a democracy in a republic; a sovereign Nation of many sovereign States; a perfect union, one and inseparable; established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes.
I therefore believe it is my duty to my country to love it, to support it Constitution, to obey its laws, to respect its flag, and to defend it against all enemies. —-William Tyler Page
Tomorrow we celebrate the birthday of our great nation, when we proudly fly our country’s flag and watch parades and fireworks in remembrance of our country’s independence. A time to remember so many who have sacrificed so much for freedom.
This is also good time think about the principles of freedom and liberty upon which our country was founded and strive to preserve the type of government our forefathers envisioned, as set forth in these historic documents.