What Really Happened

When we stuck together and boycotted British goods using the argument of “no taxation without representation”, we were able to get the Stamp Act repealed, however most colonists continued to quietly accept British rule.  Who knows what tax King George III will resurrect next to infringe on our liberties, as he keeps ignoring our complaints and the British Parliament just passed a series of laws that will severely limit our freedom, so we have no choice except to revolt.  The Coercive Acts also known as the Intolerable Acts (Boston Port Act, Massachusetts Government Act, Administration of Justice Act, and the Quartering Act of 1774) were enacted as a response to the Boston Tea Party, and they sought to punish Massachusetts and issue a warning to the other colonies.  This legislation has become a violation of our constitutional rights, our natural rights, and our colonial charters.  They are a threat to the liberties of all of British America, because they constitute unnecessary and cruel punishment.

Thomas Gage, the British governor of Massachusetts, ordered British troops to march to Concord, Massachusetts, where a Patriot arsenal was known to be located.  On April 19, 1775, the British regulars encountered a group of American militiamen at Lexington, and the first shots of the American Revolution were fired.  The Battles of Lexington and Concord took a toll on both sides, as the colonists had 49 dead, 39 wounded, and five were missing.  For the British, 73 were killed, 174 were wounded, and 26 were missing.  The British did not want to lose control of the colonies due to spontaneous eruptions in an armed struggle which threatened to become an independent force guided only by the masses and their leaders.  King George III told his ministers that blows must decide whether the Americans submit or triumph, and the battles of Lexington and Concord let everyone know that England was determined to crush the colonies’ resistance by force.  While the colonists lost many minutemen, the Battles of Lexington and Concord were considered a major military victory and displayed to the British and King George III that unjust behavior would not be tolerated in America.  While the Patriots began to celebrate their victories at Lexington and Concord and prepared for a revolution, Gage was shipped back to England in shame.

After that Peyton Randolph a patriot from Virginia, Thomas Jefferson’s first cousin once removed and a close friend of George Washington died from a stroke in Philadelphia while the Congress was in session.  Although Randolph who served twice as the president of Congress didn’t live to see the Declaration of Independence come alive, he played a key role in the formation of the Continental Congress and was a patriot in every sense of the word.  The third Continental Congress led by John Hancock drafted a committee made up of John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Roger Sherman, and Robert Livingston to write the Declaration of Independence.  Jefferson was recognized for his ability with words, so he was given the task to write the first draft for the Declaration of Independence, which he worked on from June 11 to June 28.  He showed it to John Adams and Benjamin Franklin who each made revisions before the Declaration was presented to the Continental Congress.  It incorporated ideas from Locke, Montesquieu and the Scottish Enlightenment, and it was edited again by the whole Congress.  Fifty-six members of Congress signed it, all representatives from different states.

The Declaration of Independence, unanimously declared by the thirteen United States of America, and it was adopted by the Continental Congress in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776.  The first celebrations occurred shortly after the declaration in various locales along the Eastern Seaboard.  An elaborate celebration was organized in Philadelphia on July 4th 1777, the first of its kind.  Although the capitol of the US was New York City at this time and Philadelphia would not become the capital for another 13 years, they marked Independence Day by adjourning Congress and celebrating with bonfires, bells and fireworks.  This event had all of the elements of celebrations that we embrace today including the discharge of cannon fire, one round for each state in the union, the ringing of bells, a dinner, music, drinking toasts, people cheering, a parade, fireworks, the nation’s colors proudly displayed, and many armed ships out in the harbor.

Daniel Webster wrote about an 81-year-old Jefferson, “His mouth is well formed and still filled with teeth; it is strongly compressed, bearing an expression of contentment and benevolence.”  Jefferson was particularly happy that he did not need artificial porcelain teeth which were a new reliable development at the time that were replacing ivory, animal, and human teeth for dentures.  Jefferson was known to be fastidious about his health.

Written for Daily Addictions prompt – Reliable, for FOWC with Fandango – Fireworks, for July Writing Prompts – Spontaneous eruptions, for Sheryl’s A New Daily Post Word Prompt – Celebrate, for Ragtag Community – Resurrect, for Scotts Daily Prompt – Fastidious, for Teresa’s Haunted Wordsmith Three Things Challenge, where the three prompt words are “declaration, freedom and fireworks” and for Word of the Day Challenge Prompt – Independence.

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