As a nation, we recognize July 4th, 1776 as the beginning of our independence. But, it wasnâ€™t until September 3, 1783 that The Treaty of Paris was signed between Britain and America providing for the recognition of American independence. It was not until 1783 that the British finally conceded that America was in fact, free.
So, technically, on July Fourth 1776, the United States of America was not free at all, really. In 1776, according to the circumstances, America was still under British dominion. Americans still made and spent British money. British soldiers still patrolled the colonies, still in charge. The official church was still the Church of England. King George was still the BOSS.
But the founding fathers refused to rely on what the circumstances told them was true. Instead, they chose to be bold and to declare independence even if it seemed unpopular, impossible, unlikely to achieve. The United States of America lived free as of July Fourth 1776, because of their declaration, that it was so.
The founding fathers of the United States of America lived by the word of their mouth as free and Independent for seven years and then in 1783, it finally came to pass.
I do give Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, John Hancock and the rest, credit. I give them credit â€” but, I have to admit that I struggle as I do.
On the one had, it was a pretty courageous, optimistic and bold to take the stand for independence that they took. On the other hand they took that stand for independence while —
denying others the very freedom they desired for themselves; the very freedom they proposed as a founding principle for the United States of America.
Slavery is still the difficult truth that America has yet to fully embrace as part of its original legacy. To recognize and celebrate The Fourth of July without some kind of an acknowledgement that, at one time, not everybody in America was allowed to live free, is to ignore the entire truth and the full reality of what the holiday could be all about, and it severely undermines the possibility for America to finally move beyond. To include that undeniable bit of our history, as part of the story that we tell once a year, would be yet another â€“
pretty courageous, optimistic and bold stand for independence, indeed.