In honor of this year's "Independence Day," let's take a brief walk through history, starting with the original meaning of our "Independence Day" celebration.
Happy Secession Day
Perhaps the best evidence of how American history was rewritten, Soviet style, in the post-1865 era is the fact that most Americans seem to be unaware that "Independence Day" was originally intended to be a celebration of the colonists’ secession from the British empire. Indeed, the word secession is not even a part of the vocabulary of most Americans, who more often than not confuse it with "succession." The Revolutionary War was America’s first war of secession.
America’s most prominent secessionist, Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration, was very clear about what he was saying: Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and whenever that consent is withdrawn, it is the right of the people to "alter or abolish" that government and "to institute a new government." The word "secession" was not a part of the American language at that time, so Jefferson used the word "separation" instead to describe the intentions of the American colonial secessionists.
The Declaration is also a states’ rights document (not surprisingly, since Jefferson was the intellectual inspiration for the American states’ rights political tradition). This, too, is foreign to most Americans. But read the final paragraph of the Declaration which states:
That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved; and that, as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and do all other things which independent states may of right do (emphasis in original).
Each colony was considered to be a free and independent state, or nation, in and of itself. There was no such thing as "the United States of America" in the minds of the founders. The independent colonies were simply united for a particular cause: seceding from the British empire. Each individual state was assumed to possess all the rights that any state possesses, even to wage war and conclude peace. Indeed, when King George III finally signed a peace treaty he signed it with all the individual American states, named one by one, and not something called "The United States of America." The "United States" as a consolidated, monopolistic government is a fiction invented by Lincoln and instituted as a matter of policy at gunpoint and at the expense of some 600,000 American lives during 1861–1865.
Jefferson defended the right of secession in his first inaugural address by declaring, "If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left to combat it." (In sharp contrast, in his first inaugural address, Lincoln promised an "invasion" with massive "bloodshed" (his words) of any state that failed to collect the newly-doubled federal tariff rate by seceding from the union).
Jefferson made numerous statements in defense of the defining principal of the American Revolution: the right of secession. In a January 29, 1804 letter to Dr. Joseph Priestly he wrote:
Whether we remain in one confederacy, or form into Atlantic and Mississippi confederacies, I believe not very important to the happiness of either part. Those of the western confederacy will be as much our children & descendants as those of the eastern, and I feel myself as much identified with that country, in future time, as with this; and did I now foresee a separation [i.e., secession] at some future day, yet I should feel the duty & the desire to promote the western interests as zealously as the eastern, doing all the good for both portions of our future family which should fall within my power.
In an August 12, 1803 letter to John C. Breckinridge Jefferson addressed the same issue, in light of the New England Federalists’ secession movement in response to his Louisiana Purchase. If there were a "separation" into two confederacies, he wrote, "God bless them both, & keep them in the union if it be for their good, but separate them, if it be better."
So on July 4 stoke up the grill, enjoy your barbecue, and drink a toast to Mr. Jefferson and his fellow secessionists. (And beware of any Straussian nonsense about how it was really Lincoln, the greatest enemy of states’ rights, including the right of secession, who taught us to "revere" the Declaration of Independence. Nothing could be further from the truth.)
Happy Secession Day by Thomas J. DiLorenzo, professor of economics at Loyola College in Maryland and the author of The Real Lincoln; Lincoln Unmasked: What You’re Not Supposed To Know about Dishonest Abe and How Capitalism Saved America. His latest book is Hamilton’s Curse: How Jefferson’s Archenemy Betrayed the American Revolution – And What It Means for America Today.
Using a new kind of spectral imaging technology, research scientists have discovered an important moment in Thomas Jefferson's thinking while he wrote an early draft of the Declaration of Independence.
That’s what Thomas Jefferson first wrote in an early draft of the Declaration of Independence to describe the people of the 13 colonies.
But in a moment when history took a sharp turn, Jefferson sought quite methodically to expunge the word, to wipe it out of existence and write over it. Many words were crossed out and replaced in the draft, but only one was obliterated.
Over the smudge, Jefferson then wrote the word “citizens.”
No longer subjects to the crown, the colonists became something different: a people whose allegiance was to one another, not to a faraway monarch.
“It’s almost like we can see him write ‘subjects’ and then quickly decide that’s not what he wanted to say at all, that he didn’t even want a record of it,” she said. “Really, it sends chills down the spine.”
[T]he difference in the two words is powerful, indeed, in shaping attitudes. The Brits are still subjects of the queen even to this day ...
And last but not least, we have some very interesting information about the signers of the Declaration of Independence.
Whatever happened to the signers of the Declaration of Independence? ... 5 were taken captive by the British in the service of this country. I am certain that the British knew, or found out, who they were.
Fifty-six men from each of the original 13 colonies signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. Nine of the signers were immigrants, two were brothers and two were cousins. One was an orphan. The average age of a signer was 45. Benjamin Franklin was the oldest delegate at 70. The youngest was Thomas Lynch Jr. of South Carolina at 27.
Eighteen of the signers were merchants or businessmen, 14 were farmers, and four were doctors. Twenty-two were lawyers – although William Hooper of North Carolina was “disbarred” when he spoke out against the king – and nine were judges. Stephen Hopkins had been governor of Rhode Island. Forty-two signers had served in their colonial legislatures.
John Witherspoon of New Jersey was the only active clergyman to attend. (Indeed, he wore his pontificals to the sessions.) Almost all were Protestants. Charles Carroll of Maryland was the lone Roman Catholic.
Seventeen signers fought in the American Revolution. Thomas Nelson was a colonel in the Second Virginia Regiment and then commanded Virginia military forces at the Battle of Yorktown. William Whipple served with the New Hampshire militia and was a commanding officer in the decisive Saratoga campaign. Oliver Wolcott led the Connecticut regiments sent for the defense of New York and commanded a brigade of militia that took part in the defeat of General Burgoyne. Caesar Rodney was a major general in the Delaware militia; John Hancock held the same rank in the Massachusetts militia.
The British captured five signers during the war. Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, and Arthur Middleton were captured at the Battle of Charleston in 1780. George Walton was wounded and captured at the Battle of Savannah. Richard Stockton of New Jersey never recovered from his incarceration at the hands of British Loyalists. He died in 1781.
Please click over and read the entire post. It's very interesting. H/T - motorcitytimes!
This wouldn't be the Classic Liberal if we didn't finish up with an all-American hottie, now would it?