Declaration is a window into the past
Looking out my window at the fireworks displays are always a highlight for me. The rockets bursting in midair celebrate the birth of a democratic nation. The USA is the first experiment in democratic rule and the beginning of the end to the divine right of kings.
King George III did not give up his divine right to rule his American colonies without a bloody fight that divided this country between those who supported the Declaration of Independence and the King's loyalists.
Few people realize that the Fourth of July celebration marks the birth of the first democracy and a new concept that challenged the divine rights of kings.
There are those in this country today that deny the religious roots of the founding of the USA. The Declaration of Independence should be read more carefully.
It replaces the rights of the governed over the rights of kings. That may not seem so strange today, but it was a new idea our forefathers were willing to die for.
The declaration states individuals have certain unalienable rights endowed by their CREATOR. That includes the right of the people to be governed by the consent of the people.
Many folks lost their heads challenging kings in England and Europe. King George III hoped to quell the American Revolution and kill a lot of our brave forefathers.
The signers of the Declaration appealed to the Supreme Judge of the World. I assume that is God. They went on to ask for the Protection of the Divine Providence. I assume they meant God.
The John Adams family celebrated the July 2, 1776, approval of the Declaration of Independence and continued to make it a family rite for many more generations. Adams called it a "Day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty."
The first state to make the Fourth of July a state holiday was Massachusetts in 1781. That is also the state where the Pilgrims landed in 1620 to find a place where they could worship God and make him central to their daily existence.
North Carolina first celebrated the Fourth of July in 1783. The constitution and election of George Washington did not occur until 1789, more than ten years after the war was won and the British went home.
Two of the men who made major contributions to the war were opposed to violence yet supported the Declaration of Independence and the Revolutionary War. Gen. Nathaniel Greene and Thomas Paine were both Quakers and opposed war but were so convinced that the colonies must be separated from the rule of King George III that they advocated rebellion.
The sacrifices of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence and the forefathers who fought and won the Revolutionary War gave us the opportunity live under a democratic government and broke the divine right of kings. President George W. Bush has declared the spread of democracy around the world as the policy of this government.
Democracy will look different in each sovereign nation with one commonality. The government operates by the consent of the people. Those rights are endowed by our creator and basic to the human condition.
All individuals have a desire to be free. Americans need to learn more about our history as it happened. Too much of it is ignored or revised to make it fit with someone's current ideas.
Generations of our forefathers have shed blood to keep this nation one and to protect us from various threats over the 229 years since July 4, 1776.
The bloodiest war was the Civil War, when we fought each other to keep the nation intact. More than 8,000 men died just in the battle of Antietam in Maryland near Washington.
The History Channel and the Internet give each of us access to mountains of information about our history. All the documents are there for you to explore at your leisure. The History Channel is a great and entertaining source of our history.
We no longer need to depend on the daily news or talk shows for our historical facts. We don't even need to depend on our schools to teach history.
All we need is the desire and motivation to know what our forefathers have done for us. I challenge you to check out a copy of the Declaration of Independence on the Internet, in an encyclopedia or at the local library.
It opened my eyes and made the view from my window a look into the past.
Knowing the history keeps us from having to live the history again.
I thank those who signed the Declaration of Independence and began this free democracy for me to enjoy.
I also thank all those who have fought to keep me free.
May Divine Providence show us the way to keep it free for generations to come.
Marvin Robertson writes a weekly column for the Miner.