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Nine Points to Ponder About the Fourth of July

by

There are some significant points to ponder about the Fourth of July, among which are:

1. The men who signed the Declaration of Independence were not American citizens. They were British citizens. They were every much citizens of England as Americans today are citizens of the United States. They were simply British citizens living abroad, much as many Americans today live abroad.

2. Once the fighting started, British citizens, both here and at home, were exhorted to support the troops. It has been estimated that about 1/3 of the British citizens living here did support the troops and thanked them for their service. Another 1/3 stayed neutral. But the remaining one-third, including those who signed the Declaration, refused to support the troops. In fact, not only did they refuse to support the troops (and thank them for their service), they actually did their best to shoot them and kill them. Keep in mind that the troops were the soldiers who were loyally obeying the orders of their superiors to shoot and kill their own citizens — specifically, the 1/3 of the British people over here who had chosen to rebel against their government.

3. If the troops had prevailed against the British rebels, the men who signed the Declaration would have gone down in history as nothing more than criminals, terrorists, brigands, and traitors. Even today, the British still do not honor such former British citizens as George Washington, Patrick Henry, and Nathan Hale for their courage and patriotism. For the British, citizens who refuse to support the troops, refuse to thank them for their service, and do their best to shoot and kill them are not worth honoring. In fact, those men who signed the Declaration of Independence were essentially signing their death warrants because if they had lost, there is little doubt that their government would have executed them as criminals, terrorists, brigands, and traitors, especially after many of them had shot and killed British soldiers.

4. If the troops had succeeded in confiscating the weapons of their fellow citizens at Concord and Lexington and elsewhere, there wouldn’t have been a revolution. That’s because the British citizens living here would have lacked the means to resist the tyranny of their own government, which was being enforced by the troops.

5. The American Revolution wasn’t actually a revolution but instead was a secession. A revolution is when citizens are trying to oust a ruling regime and take control over their own government. That’s not what happened during the Revolutionary War. The British citizens living here were not trying to take control over the British government over there. Instead, the message simply was: “We don’t want to be part of your nation anymore and instead want to form our own nation.” In fact, that act of secession in 1776 was really no different in principle from the act of secession that would take place on the part of the Confederacy in 1861, where the citizens of the South said the same thing: “We don’t want to be part of your nation anymore and instead want to form our own nation.”

6. Among the acts of tyranny against which the British citizens here were rebelling were immigration controls. The king — their king (because it was their government, not some foreign government) — had restricted the entry of foreigners into New World colonies. The British citizens living over here considered such immigration controls to be tyrannical and expressly enumerated them in the Declaration among the reasons for declaring independence from their own government.

7. It wasn’t just “taxation without representation” that the colonists objected to. It was taxation itself. That position was reflected in the Articles of Confederation, under which America lived for more than a decade after the Declaration was signed. Under the Articles, the federal government lacked the power to tax, and the federal government complied with that restriction on its power. Even under the Constitution, which replaced the Articles, the federal government was denied the power to levy direct taxes, which resulted in a nation in which there was no income taxation and IRS for more than a century.

8. The Constitution, which called the federal government into existence, was guided by the spirit of the Declaration of Independence. That’s why the American people, notwithstanding slavery, tariffs, and other exceptions to freedom, ended up with a nation with no income tax, IRS, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, drug laws, DEA, Departments of Labor, Agriculture, Housing, Homeland Security, Education, and others, public (i.e., government) schooling, immigration controls, minimum-wage laws, Federal Reserve System, fiat (i.e., paper) money, gun control, military-industrial complex, enormous standing army, CIA, NSA, national-security state, and foreign military bases. Needless to say, that way of life was the most radical political and economic system in history, one that has never again been replicated. For more than 100 years, that way of life was what our American ancestors celebrated as freedom every Fourth of July.

9. The most important aspect of the Revolution was the message regarding fundamental rights found in the Declaration. It stated that all men are born with fundamental, unalienable rights that preexist government and that no government can legitimately take away. Such rights include, but are not limited to, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That message shocked the world because throughout history people have believed that their lives and fortunes are subject to whatever their government dictates, especially with respect to economic activity. Even today, many Americans believe what people throughout history have believed — that government can legitimately do whatever it deems is in the best interests of the citizenry and the nation. The result is a way of life that we now know as the “welfare-warfare state,” a way of life that many modern-day Americans celebrate as “freedom” on the Fourth of July. Not so, of course, for libertarians, who still celebrate the concept of freedom that guided those British citizens who signed the Declaration of Independence on the Fourth of July, 1776.

This post was written by:

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.