On July 4, 1776, delegates from the 13 colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence, a historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson.
Today, the United States of America will celebrate with picnics, parades, fireworks, concerts of patriotic songs and peaceful gatherings of the country’s blessed neighbors, who inherited freedom from the intelligence of the founders.
In recent years, while America quarrels over the meanings of the Constitution, inhabitants of the U.S. marvel at the rules that were set up by those original fathers 243 years ago.
The plentiful paragraphs have provided guarantees of many freedoms, long before there were computers, airplanes and traffic jams of cars.
In this year of 2019, many public officials have had educational advantages far beyond what filled the heads of the founders and yet quarreling shouts often dominate the political palaver of our country.
The governance of this great nation has become so cumbersome that mistakes are made repeatedly, in spite of the volumes of history that have been published.
In the United Kingdom, where most of the pilgrims originally came from, the people can’t decide on a proposal to withdraw from the European Union.
On July 4, 1777, Philadelphia held the first annual commemoration of independence, while Congress was still occupied with the ongoing war.
George Washington issued double rations of rum to all his soldiers to mark the anniversary of independence in 1778 and in 1781, several months before the key American victory at Yorktown, Massachusetts became the first state to make July 4th an official state holiday.
After the Revolutionary War, Americans continued to commemorate Independence Day every year, in celebrations that allowed the new nation’s emerging political leaders to address citizens and create a feeling of unity.
By the last decade of the 18th century, the two major political parties, the Federalist Party and Democratic-Republicans, began holding separate Fourth of July celebrations in many large cities.
The tradition of patriotic celebration became even more widespread after the War of 1812, in which the United States again faced Great Britain.
In 1870, the U.S. Congress made July 4th a federal holiday; in 1941, before America became involved in World War II, the provision was expanded to grant a paid holiday to all federal employees.
Benjamin Franklin provided the motto for the young nation: “E Pluribus Unum,” which translates as “Out of many, one.”
The 21st century adaptation can proclaim, “We’re all in this together.”
This year, it is to be hoped that politicians will again address citizens and create a feeling of unity, as the forefathers did in the late 1700s.
The raw divisiveness of modern politics creates a widening gap that belies the founders’ attempts to unite the nation’s inhabitants, who still enjoy most of the freedoms handed down on July 4, 1776.