How much do you know or remember about the day of freedom that we celebrate on July 4th? Has this day become just a day off work or school? A day where you get to go to the beach or have cookouts with family and then view the fireworks that your town displays? When is the last time you paused to think about why we hoist our flags and celebrate with fireworks on the fourth of July? Let’s travel back a few hundred years to find out.
As people found their way to this land, they were under British rule. That means the British monarchy made the people who settled in this land pay taxes to them even though there was no one to represent these people in Parliament. They used the people who settled in New England to build their ships; their fleets that were used for trade and their Navy. “Taxation without representation” became the outcry of the united colonies of this land. Around August 23, 1775, King George III issued a proclamation, that was meant to suppress rebellion and sedition of the people who occupied the land we now call America, and the king prepared for war. The people elected delegates that would become the governing body of the union during the Revolution. On June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee, brought forth a resolution that declared that “these united colonies are and of right ought to be free and independent states.
There were secret meetings to organize and protect the plans of the freedom cause of the American people and on June 11, 1776, Thomas Jefferson took Lee’s resolution and other existing documents and began to draft what would become the Declaration of Independence. On July 2, 1776, the established congress voted to declare independence, and two days later, the text of the Declaration of Independence was ratified and signed, making it an official document. A copy made its way to King George, who responded swiftly. Just because a people declares independence, doesn’t mean they are independent until they break free from the rule that exists over them. The American people would have to stand tall and fight to finally be free from the oppression of the British government. Men would give the ultimate sacrifice for this freedom.
In 1781, under the leadership of General George Washington, the Continental Army and Navy the British were defeated, securing the independence of what was then the thirteen colonies of this land. A few changes in documents that existed after this defeat resulted in the writing of the Constitution of the United States in 1789. This document still stands today as the fundamental governing law of our country.
A set of beliefs of a united people created this great nation – “One Nation Under God!” Yes, these founding fathers believed that God had freed them and set them up as a free nation. In God’s Word, it says, “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” (Romans 13:1 NIV). God has the authority to set up governments and remove them. So, as we celebrate our freedom from a rule that had become oppressive and wicked, let us thank God for emboldening people to rise up and sacrifice their lives to create a land of the free, for true freedom will always come with the cost of a life. Let us thank God for the men and women who still hear the call to stand tall and protect that freedom that we still enjoy today. Let us thank God for sending his Son to pay the ultimate price so that we could be truly free!