The Americans who read my blog all know what today is, but I know the others don’t. I asked my Korean son in law, and he didn’t know why today is special, so I informed him, and I am going to inform you. On July 4, 1776, America became a nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. We used to be part of England, but we had a war with England that separated us from her. Today, England is our number one ally and mother country. Americans love the British. However, during that period of time, the tensions became so high there was a war, so I am going to tell you how it came about.
America was the new world. Lots of different countries had interests on the American continent. The Spanish were there, mainly in Mexico, Texas, California, Colorado,, etc., the west and Florida. The French were there. They were in Louisiana and parts of Canada. The Dutch were there in New York. They were all looking for gold. It wasn’t that everyone had a pioneer spirit, but it was the Mercantile system that brought them. Under the Mercantile system, the way a country got rich was by conquering other countries and taking their gold. Kings and queens even had pirate ships to take gold from others.
They say America was discovered in 1492 by Christopher Columbus. He was a ship captain with a theory. Everyone thought the world was flat, but he had a theory that it was round. Everyone thought that if you just kept sailing, you would fall off the face of the earth, but he disagreed. He went from monarch to monarch in Europe trying to get them to sponsor him to make a trip to the East Indies, and Spain finally did. He had three ships, the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria. However, he ran into land on the way to the East Indies. Initially, when he ran into land, he thought he had made it to India. The people looked like the people from India, so he called them Indians, but they weren’t. American Indians aren’t even related to the Indians from India. Some came across on an ice bridge from Mongolia. Others were Polynesians.
They actually call America, America , but not Columbus because an Italian named Amerigo Vespucci had been to America before Christopher Columbus, but Christopher Columbus began all the interest in America and proved the world was round. They also say the Norsemen had also been to America even before that. Recently, they say they have found evidence that the Cherokee tribe of Indians may be part Norsemen.
The first British colony in America was a group of businessmen. They came to America looking to get rich. However, that colony didn’t get rich. A major problem was that they had a store room where everything they needed was kept. There was no store for them to go shopping. If they needed anything, all they had to do was go to the store room and get it without paying. Instead of working, they went to the store room and got what they needed. They fought with the Indians. They slept a lot because they didn’t have to work to live. It was Communism at its best. The people didn’t know how to overcome the diseases they encountered in America either. Fighting with the Indians killed many of them. Between Communism, Indian attacks, and illness, the colony was wiped out. They had been in Virginia.
The next group of people who came from England were the Pilgrims. They landed on Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts. They didn’t come to get rich. They came for religious freedom. They were Christians, and they had been persecuted in Europe. In Europe at that time, there were state religions. Most countries were Catholic, but the British had the Church of England. These people belonged to neither of those groups, and they had been pushed around everywhere they went. America gave the promise of freedom to worship however they felt was right. Instead of fighting with the Indians, they made friends with the Indians. The Indians taught them how to live in the new world. There was an Indian named Squanto who could speak English, and he helped them a lot. They didn’t have a store room where everyone took things for free. Everyone had to work for them to survive. The first winter was hard, and many died of pneumonia. However, they made it. After that, is when the first Thanksgiving took place. The Pilgrims had been successful. They had planted the first English colony on American soil.
In the early days, Americans used the Bible a a text book at school.
After that, many more colonies were planted. They were all along the eastern coast of what is now the United States. During the early times when the east coast belonged to England, besides the colonies, the English sent their criminals to Virginia. There was a thing called “Transportation” in England. If you were convicted of a crime, there were only two punishments: death or transportation to the new world. After that, England began sending them to Australia, but initially, in the 1700’s, they were sending them to Virginia, in America. There were lots of other types of colonies too. Most of the colonies were very religious. You can tour through some of the early places on the east coast in America and learn how they lived. There were a lot of Quakers, a Christian group that got their name because they were trying extremely hard to do right because they were afraid the wrath of God. I toured one town that didn’t survive because they were trying so hard to do the right thing that the men lived on one side of the town and the women on the other, and they weren’t even letting them get married. They were extreme, but there were many, many dedicated Christian people who came to America from England. I have read books about one of their big questions, “Was dancing okay or not?” In a lot of those churches, the men sat on one side of the aisle during worship, and the women on the other. They weren’t allowed to sit together. There were many early Americans dedicated to being the best Christians they could possibly be. Many were superstitious and afraid of witchcraft, and it gave rise to witch hunts that became a sad part of American history. However, the point is, Christianity was extremely important in the early days of America.
After a while, there were lots of British in America. From 1492 to 1776 is a long time, and lots of people from lots of places had come to the land of opportunity. It was a land where people could begin again. It was a land of freedom. However, King George of England messed it all up. Since the British colonies were British, he was taxing them. He was taxing them so hard they couldn’t take it anymore, They had no representative in Parliament. England didn’t understand what they were doing to America, but they were taxing the American colonists more than they could bear. One of the biggest taxes was on the tea. The whole world knows how the British traditionally love their tea, and big ship loads of tea came into the harbors in the American colonies all the time. The British were also practicing what the Americans would eventually call “illegal search and seizure.” The British soldiers could come into someone’s house any time of the night or day and search it and take anything they wanted without a warrant. The American colonists didn’t seem to have to rights at all when it came to the British government, and they wanted the British to go away..
Boston was one of those harbors where the tea was being delivered. In Boston, they decided to protest the taxes. A group of Englishmen from the colonies dressed up like Indians. They boarded a ship full of tea that had come into the Boston harbor one evening. They began throwing cases of tea into the harbor. The fighting between the American colonies and the British began.
A great American general rose up called General Washington. He had been a great Indian fighter and learned warfare from fighting the Indians. He had learned the Indian ways, but the British didn’t know the Indians ways of warfare. It was that edge that gave the American colonists the advantage. George Washington became known as “the father of our country.” The British became known as “the red coats.” We had heroes like Patrick Henry who said, “Give me liberty or give me death!” We had Paul Revere, a silversmith. He was immortalized in a poem called “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere”, but from what I understand, he wasn’t they only one who made the famous ride. They were watching to see if the British were coming, and they were watching a church tower. If the British came by land, there was supposed to be one lantern in the church tower. If they came by sea, there was supposed to be two lanterns in the church tower. When they knew, there were riders ready to ride throughout the land from house to house, from town to town warning the people that British soldiers were coming and how they were coming. Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson, three great American statesmen came out of this.war. They all signed the American Declaration of Independence. Benjamin Franklin became America’s wise man. He penned things like “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” The name John Hancock on that Declaration of Independence is used today, not as a name, but as a regular noun meaning a signature. We say to someone, “Put your John Hancock on that paper,” and it means, “Put your signature the paper.” Betsy Ross was commissioned to make a flag. The first flag only had 13 stars because there were only 13 colonies that became states at that time. Every time America has gotten a new state, we have added another star.
Our national anthem came out of that war because the author was on a ship watching the bombs go off looking for the American flag, the star spangled banner. He penned, “Oh say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light what so proudly we hailed in the twilight’s last gleaming?” They were looking through the bombs for the American flag. He ended with, “Oh, say, does that star spangled banner still wave, over the land of the free, and the home of the brave?” I was raised in a very patriotic home. My dad stood to attention every time that flag went up or that song was played. I was taught to respect the American flag for what it stood for. It stands for freedom. It stands for equality. It stands for independence. It stands for all the good things that America stands for. There is a reason we let of fire works on the evening of the fourth of July. We are recreating that battle where they were looking for the flag among the bombs going off. We became “One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
Yes, we became a nation “under God.” If you look at the early documents, the early Americans believed in God. They penned “freedom of religion” into our country’s documents, but they didn’t envision any other religion but Christianity being in America. They were thinking, if you wanted to be Catholic, if you wanted to Presbyterian, if you wanted to be Baptist, if you wanted to be Quaker, etc. it was all okay. Many Americans came to America for religious freedom, to worship God in a way they thought was right. We became a Christian nation. They printed on the money, “In God we Trust.”
Today, on July 4th, many Americans are cooking hamburgers outside. They are eating watermelon and making home made ice cream. In the evening, in every town across America, they will be letting off huge fireworks displays. In the smaller places, there will be fire works stands where they sell fire works. When I was in high school, I worked in one of those fire works stands. My older sister and our friend, Steven, put their money together to set the stand up. They got me a TV to watch and paid me in hamburgers and cokes to sit in the stand and sell fire works for them. All the kids want those fire works. They go out into the country where it is safe and set those fire works off in the evening. Everyone is having fun setting fire works off. They are all celebrating the birth of America, the birth of freedom, the birth of equality, and the birth of independence.