The 4th of July is the national day of the United States. It commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain by the Continental Congress of the United States on July 4, 1776.
Things to Do in NYC around July 4, 2022
Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day Weekend
ORCHARD BEACH PARKING SECTION 5
Pelham Bay Park, The Bronx
Monday, July 4, 2022
NBC 4, Manhattan, Brooklyn & Queens
Jazz, Rap, R&B, Rock & Country
FOURTH OF JULY
Monday, July 4, 2022
Friday, July 1, 2022
CARNEGIE HALL CITYWIDE
Monday-Friday, June 29 – July 3
Nightly popups in every NYC borough
Saturday, July 4, 2020
CNBC Channel 4
The Continental Congress
The Continental Congress was a convention of delegates from the Thirteen British Colonies that became the United States. The Congress actually made the decisive vote for independence on July 2. We celebrate the day, two days later, when the Declaration of Independence document was approved.
The “Declaration of Independence of the United States of America” is worth reading over and over again. It reminds us where we come from, and where we should be going.
The greatness and flaws are equally obvious. The Declaration and Constitution that followed, are great humanitarian documents that inspired a series of revolutions around the world including the French Revolution and the Haitian Revolution. These revolutions were a turning point in history.
But our founding fathers failed Indigenous, African and Female Americans. The description of the tyrannies of the king is especially weird because it describes the behavior of some of our own politicians today.
The founding fathers didn’t get everything right, especially human slavery, but they got a lot right. In our implementation of these principles, we got a lot right, but we haven’t gotten everything right.
The American Dream is still a dream. It’s on each of us to keep the American Dream alive!
U.S. Declaration of Independence
In its day, the Declaration of Independence was paperwork. It inspired other revolutions, but was mostly forgotten in the U.S. We owe its recognition as a great humanitarian document to two Americans:
- Frederick Douglass (c 1817-1895) is the American most responsible for holding us to the promises in the Declaration. Isn’t it ironic that a Black man, an American who was once enslaved, is the person most responsible for upholding American values?
- President Abraham Lincoln wrote and spoke at length about the Declaration during his term from 1861-1865.
It is sad how we seem to be losing the humanitarian element that is essential to American identity. We became an independent nation to get away from a terrible king. We recently had someone who thought he was a king leading our government, and many Americans went along with that falsehood.
Here is the text.
In Congress, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
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; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
King George III of the United Kingdom
The Declaration of Independence was triggered by problems with King George III, the king of Great Britain and its American colonies.
The fence around Bowling Green park in Manhattan’s Financial District was put up for him in 1771. There used to be a giant statue of King George where the fountain is today. Trash would blow down Broadway and pile up against the statue. The unpopular king was afraid of vandalism, so he had the fence built around Bowling Green to protect his statue.
When news of the Declaration of Independence reached New York from Philadelphia, a mob tore down the statue and sent much of it to Connecticut to be turned into musket balls to fight the British army. But the fence is still there.
What does this mean Now?
The American Revolution was one of the inspirations for the French Revolution (1789-1799), the Haitian Revolution (1791-1803) and the Latin American revolutions that followed after 1810.
Our vision for independence was powerful, but not perfect. Our founding fathers were human slavers which is an inexcusable fail. Yet they inspired the Haitian Revolution which was the beginning of the end of legal human slavery.
It’s worth contemplating what the U.S. Declaration of Independence meant to the world in 1776 and what it means to us now. Can we inspire the world again?
Reading our Declaration of Independence and its description of the failures of King George which required a change of government, there are many complaints herein that could be made against recent Federal governments in Washington D.C.
The declaration also contains comments about people of color that are offensive. Those are some of the reasons we arrived where we are today.
We can do better just by following the good principles that were laid down for us. Some of it must be changed, but there’s a lot of sense in the document. We just don’t seem to have the sense to follow it right now.
It’s time for real change. Isn’t it ironic that we have to rely on some of the most disenfranchised Americans to keep our country true to its values?
“E pluribus unum” (Out of many, one).