Flags, fireworks and Patriots parade to fife and drum on the Fourth of July, to celebrate our national birthday in the uniting of our Colonies into states, who proclaimed their independence as a free nation from the British Crown by drawing up a document called the Declaration of Independence, back in 1776.
For the past year, the American Colonies had engaged in an undeclared war with British rule. Minutemen sprang into action ready to fight to counter the increasing number of Redcoats stationed throughout the Colonies. John Adams, our second President, claimed, “The basis for the American Revolution began in the 1760’s with a radical change in the principles, opinions and sentiments of the people,” which led them into conflict with their mother country. Throughout the 1600’s, large tracts or swaths of land were given by the King, wealthy English individuals or Charters like a corporation to form Colonies.
England wanted a return on her investment, but was haphazard in providing governance because of distance. Besides, pressing issues at home with a succession of Kings and constant spats abroad cost money. So, they were content to send merchant ships to the Colonies which they saw only as financial support. They limited Colony export of cotton, furs and timber to themselves for resale to other countries for profit. And they demanded that the Colonists import clothes, jewelry, furniture and coaches only from them. At first the Colonists saw themselves as English subjects and emulated their culture.
But as each Colony grew, the need for governance caused Governors and representatives to be placed, knowing that the English King’s word or Parliamentary law superceded their own. After all, they were under the protection of the British Army, and there were multiple threats. Like the Indians, who were alarmed as settlements pushed West. Other countries had also claimed land, like the Spanish in Florida, the Dutch in New York, and the French in Canada with forts extending through the Americas all the way down the Mississippi.
But when the English engaged in the French-Indian War of the 1760’s, they pushed France out of Canada and the Americas to gain the Ohio Valley, and the Spanish and Dutch interest ebbed as well. England now controlled North America and gained global dominance as well. Meanwhile, in the struggle to bear the cost of fighting the French-Indian War, King George III lost power to Parliament, who, wanting to recoup their countries financial loss, voted to tax the Colonies, then upped the ante`until the Colonists rebelled because it wasn’t their war, and they realized they had no representation. “Taxes,” they complained to the King, “would take their liberty!” But he ignored their plea. Instead, he dispatched more soldiers abroad and billed for the cost of their lodging and service. `An incident occured in April 1770 when Colonists in protest pelted the streets of Boston with oyster shells and rocks. Redcoats fired into the crowd, killing five and wounding more. Known as the “Boston Massacre,” John Adams later said, “On that night the Foundation’s of American Independence were laid.” The Colonists retaliated by refusing to purchase British goods, which led to the Boston Tea Party and the dumping of three ships of tea overboard.
(to be continued in Part-2) Get ready to join the Parade 10 am-noon: and Fireworks at Verdugo Hills High School 6 pm-10 Admission $8.