Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Independence Day-And A Brief History

For those of you that do not live in the United States or need a quick history refresh, my friend’s Craig James blog has a great summary of the significance of this day.
”As we speak, we are witnessing history-in-the-making, yet again, in Egypt... hour-by-hour and nearly word-for-word.
237 years ago a similar process occurred. Certain humans residing in thirteen colonies located in a certain part of North America debated how they wanted to govern—and be governed. Together, they decided it wasn't going to be the Kingdom of Great Britain.
We often pick a single day to recognize historic events, but rarely does it play out that way. Human achievements and historic decisions are byproducts of extensive conversation, discussion, debate and associated actions.
Here's a quick timeline of what happened for us to celebrate (U.S.) Independence Day on the Fourth of July:
  • April 1776: North Carolina proposed a resolution to declare independence from Great Britain
  • May 1776: Virginia proposed a resolution to declare independence from Great Britain
  • June 7, 1776: Richard Henry Lee of Virginia proposed to the Second Continental Congress a resolution for separation from the governance of Great Britain
  • June 10, 1776: The United Colonies in Congress postponed final consideration of the resolution until July 1, 1776; and decided a committee should be created to draft a document listing the reasons for separating from the governance of Great Britain
  • June 11, 1776: Five men were selected to write the draft declaration: John Adams (Massachusetts), Benjamin Franklin (Pennsylvania), Thomas Jefferson (Virginia), Robert Livingston (NewYork) and Roger Sherman (Connecticut), a.k.a. the Committee of Five
  • June 28, 1776: A copy of the proposed draft was given to Congress (considered the first reading)
  • July 1, 1776: Congress debated if there should even be a declaration of separation—The vote was 9-2, with 2 abstaining
  • July 2, 1776: The document written by the Committee of Five was read by the entire Second Continental Congress (considered the second reading)
  • July 3, 1776: After a third reading, the debate of language and content began. Vote for the formal adoption was postponed until the next day
  • July 4, 1776: After voting to accept the resolution, the Committee of Five were given the edited document for printing
  • July 5, 1776: John Dunlap received the document, and began printing 200 copies
  • August 2, 1776 is the date believed to be the actual signing of the Declaration of Independence, although it is unclear if all 56 signatories were present at that time
Then: The work continued
  • 1783: The Treaty of Paris ended the American Revolutionary War — 8 Years, 4 months, 2 weeks, and 1 day after the Battles of Lexington and Concord (which occurred ~1 year prior to July 4, 1776)
  • September 17, 1787: The creation of the Constitution of the United States
  • June 21, 1788: The ratification of the Constitution of the United States
  • March 4, 1789: The Constitution of the United States went into effect
  • September 25, 1789: Ten amendments to the Constitution of United States were proposed
  • December 15, 1791: The first ten amendments, a.k.a. The Bill of Rights, were ratified
  • 1781: The Massachusetts General Court recognized July 4 as a state celebration
  • 1870: The U.S. Congress created the federal holiday (unpaid) of Independence Day
  • 1938: Independence Day became a paid holiday for federal employees
It was a fifteen year period from the initially proposed resolution—to the ratification of the Bill of Rights.

And Now: The work continues

Throughout time, this kind of human discourse has happened, and it will continue to happen. Technology has given us the opportunity to have global discussions—on a world stage. The benefits can be great, but this freedom of connection and exchange is not guaranteed. It's up to all of us to remain connected, informed and active. We are required to ask questions, analyze the responses, ascertain the sources, and act according to our principles. 
We are not going to be given simple, easy, "recipe" answers—and if we are, all the more reason to scrutinize them.
Like Rome, the United States of America was not built in one day... and neither will any country, state, city or citizen.”
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