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St. James Plaindealer - St. James, MN
  • Kent Bush: The origins of our independence

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  • The Declaration of Independence didn’t start a war.
    The 13 American colonies began revolting against their British landlords a few years before. By July 4, 1776, the colonial militias had gained control of their borders and boundaries.
    The Declaration of Independence was the Continental Congress’s way of saying, “Let’s do this!”
    They knew the British had no intention of letting up on the unfair taxation of the colonies. They knew that the British were preparing their forces for a major push to put these outmanned American rebels in their place. They knew they were calling down the thunder when they signed that document that said, “We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, 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.”
    But they didn’t care. The Declaration didn’t start the war, but it did define what was at stake. Considering the resources available, the new Americans fought well. However, it wasn’t as easy as we sometimes like to believe.
    Even five years later, the British were able to resubjugate a few of the colonies, but thanks to other European countries wanting to see England lose part of its empire, the landlocked militias received some timely help from the French and Spanish and finally helped us level the playing field at sea and secured the victory.
    France wanted to hurt England, and they did. But they spent themselves into huge debt helping with our revolution and tumbled into a revolution of their own soon afterward.
    While bullets were still flying in the Revolutionary War, the Continental Congress wrote and ratified the Articles of Confederation. Less than a decade after fighting ended, the U.S. Constitution was written and ratified.
    By 1791, the Bill of Rights was attached and the primary law of the land - that is still the basis and baseline for all of our laws - was in place.
    It would have been impressive to create legislation of this magnitude once during the best of times. Our nation’s founders managed to do it twice while the country was embroiled in a war for its independence.
    Think about that when you find it hard to concentrate on a task at hand because your neighbor kids sit on the porch throwing one firecracker after another into a bucket full of water.
    Page 2 of 2 - Kent Bush is the publisher of the Butler County, Kansas, Times Gazette and can be reached at: kbush@butlercountytimesgazette.com.

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