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July 04, 2010

Happy Birthday?

July Fourth, 1776 was the day the 2nd Continental Congress approved the text of Jefferson’s famous essay as its official explanation of an action they had taken on July 2nd: treason, (at least in the eyes of the British) by their rejection of the authority of King Gerge III over his American colonies. Be that as it may, the Fourth of July has been celebrated as our national birthday almost from the beginning. Among many other overlooked details, the Fourth also commemorates our first two wars as a nation: both fought against Great Britain, then the strongest military power on Earth.

The first was our Revolution; it gained freedom from the Crown and also marked the historical beginning of the end of the Divine Right of Kings as a plausible theory of government. The second, The War of 1812, matched the same two antagonists three decade later in a war neither side was prepared for. The Americans, goaded by British insults and provocations, but also seeking territory in Canada, foolishly risked their national existence, but were ultimately able to win enough key battles to claim victory. That "victory," coming on the heels of a windfall acquisition from France, also allowed the fledgling nation to pursue its hypocritical development of chattel slavery while taking its first halting steps toward ultimately replacing Britain as the World’s dominant colonial power.

Ironically and unhappily, an accidental catastrophe sustained by a British oil company just off shore from New Orleans may have exacted the vengeance an equally vengeful Andrew Jackson had denied the proud British Conquerors of Napoleon just under two centuries ago.

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at July 4, 2010 05:17 PM