Independent Thoughts

July 3rd, 2009

A beautiful finish to the week- and a chance to get much accomplished.  I was on the tractor yesterday thinking of how much we celebrate and take for granted on such holiday weekends as this.   So many of us will gather with friends and family, and enjoy good food and special times.   As it should be.   What a proud day in our nation’s history- we have much to be thankful for.  

On July 4th, 1776, the delegates to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia voted to adopt the Declaration of Independence.  Most of us knew that, but we don’t often think about the price those men and their families paid for doing so.  Or why they voted for independence in the first place.


There were many reasons leading to the desire to be an independent nation.  I remember the story of the Boston Tea Party as a child for example.  In 1773 angry colonists dressed as Mohawk Indians and dumped over 40 tons of taxed British tea into the Boston Harbor.  This in response to the Tea Act- levying taxes on colonists by an unelected legislature far across the Atlantic Ocean.  In response, Boston Harbor was shut down completely by the British, stopping all commerce and hurting businesses and families. 

That was one of the Coercive acts that led to the first Continental Congress  meeting in 1774.  It’s hard to even relate to events so long ago, until we feel or see how our lives may be touched in similar ways.  Those who serve this great nation at home and abroad feel deeply about their service in much the same way as those patriots of long ago- they are serving because they believe in America.  

Those who believe strongly in limited government and fiscal responsibility also feel deeply about things, for example to what degree our government should be involved today in our lives in terms of laws and taxation.  And others believe that government should have a much larger role to play. Sometimes it leaves you wondering- here in Missouri for example, there are a host of auto workers who just produced the last Dodge Ram pick-up truck at a plant near St. Louis, Missouri.  The plant is being closed down, presumably for good.  And while these fine men and women are out of jobs- they watched as tax dollars were spent bailing out the auto companies- and those tax dollars in essence have been funneled to another auto plant in a different country to produce the same vehicles.   Competitiveness is one thing- but it doesn’t seem appropriate that taxpayers have been asked to support jobs to make American cars and trucks in another country, while leaving our own citizens without jobs at home.

Some have even chosen July 4th this year as TEA Party Day– representing a remembrance and organized form of protest over how much spending and taxation we may see in the years ahead.    We see California beginning to write IOU’s because they can’t figure out a state budget.  Other states struggle with the same debate over increasing taxes, or reducing spending, and these issues are integral to the lives and fortunes of the people who live there.

We live in a great country- where we can freely discuss, debate and organize over issues people believe are important.  We may not always agree- but the pendulum still swings. Have a great weekend!

6 Responses to “Independent Thoughts”

  1. There are plenty of unemployed auto workers up here, too! I think a day on a tractor would do me good!

  2. Yep, it’s hard to believe so many people DIED to escape a government that taxed and ruled without the approval of it’s citizens. And the majority just welcomed the spend-and-tax sort into office. Sheesh.


  3. The Declaration of Independence was actually voted on July 2. July 4th was the day the wording was approved and August 2 was when it was signed. But I’m not about to change when I celebrate this event.

    Colonial merchants were more upset with the tea because it was too cheap (due to most of the taxes being already repealed) and undercut their smuggling operations of Dutch tea making it hard to sell. With the cheaper British tea dumped in the harbor, problem solved.

    It is funny what one picks up when they start a project to read biographies on presidents and other founding fathers of our nation.

  4. R. Sherman

    I wonder what Jefferson would think today, if he knew that someday the people would feel even more disconnected from the “government” than they did in the day when King George III and Parliament were several months across the North Atlantic.


  5. Sage- Too many unemployed, that’s for sure. Think I’d rather be in your canoe for a day!
    Ron- Makes you wonder where we’re going.
    Ed- Hmmm… My history always showed the initial vote on July 2nd, but then debate, wording, discussion and another (unchanged) final vote of approval on July 4th! But yes, mincing days indeed. Makes sense about the tea undercutting the smuggling operations- left the colonists unable to sell. I like the nerve of the colonists to say the h#@! with your damned tea! Thanks for the clarification.
    R.- Wouldn’t that be something… sit in a room with a handful of the signers, and talk about how the nation has changed?!

  6. Our histories are the same. My poor sentence structure is the only thing different.

    To me though, the first vote always seemed to be the most significant. It was at that point that they committed “treason” and were subject to death should they have been caught. There is an interesting story on that subject that is viral on the internet telling about what happened to all the people who voted for and signed the Declaration of Independence. They are all true heros in my eyes.

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