American Heritage: How we became the United States of AmericaPublished 9:23pm Wednesday, November 30, 2011
By Bob Hess
Too many people do not know much about the history surrounding the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the people who signed it. Therefore, I will do my best to try to enlighten those who really want to know how we became the United States of America.
Woodrow Wilson once said, “A nation which does not remember what it was yesterday does not know what it is today, nor what it is trying to do. We are trying to do a futile thing if we do not know where we have come from, or what we have been about.” (1) A truer statement cannot be made. More and more of our children are getting out of school without knowing how we became a nation. They do not know why people came to this continent. They have no idea of the thoughts and beliefs of those who wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America. All they know is what they have learned from modern day history revisionists, who have as their motive the dumbing-down and disrespect of their students concerning our precious history as a nation.
When I was younger, I remember the statement of Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev, the leader of the USSR during what is known as the Cold War Years. He made a statement that rings, more and more, true in my ears today. His statement to the United States went something like this. “…we will bury you without even firing a shot. As I see what is happening to the revision of true history by writers, schoolteachers and professors in our “higher education institutes,” I now know the plan that he had in mind. As Wilson said, “take away the knowledge of one’s past and their Heritage, and they will go in any direction that they are led, because they have nothing to look back on and be proud of.”
The Declaration of Independence was, what I call the birth document, written to give an oppressive government notice that the colonists would no longer put up with the oppression of their English leaders. It was followed up by the new “…supreme law of the land” (2), the Constitution of the United States of America. The Constitution was written for the benefit, not of the people of the world, not of non-citizens, but for it’s own personal citizens. Not the words in the preamble: “We the people of the United States…do ordain and establish this Constitution FOR the United States of America” (3). We will discuss the Constitution in future columns. It may be interesting to many what this marvelous document does to protect the citizens of the United States from an oppressive government.
Benjamin Franklin tried to get an intercolonial meeting in 1773. It did not gain support when it was first proposed. However, after the Port of Boston had been closed because of the action of some colonists in what is known as the Boston Tea Party, things started to move forward (5).
In May 1774, the Boston Committee of Correspondence decided to take some action. They sent out a letter to get the colonies to stop trading with England. Some merchants in the colonies did not want to participate in a boycott. Instead, they called for a continental congress, which was proposed on May 27, 1774, by the Virginia House of Burgesses. On Aug. 1 a special convention was held to elect special delegates to attend the meeting in Philadelphia. Thomas Jefferson presented a “Summary View of the Rights of British America,” which failed to gain support of the Virginia convention (4).
The First Continental Congress took place on Sept. 5 through Oct. 26, 1774, in Carpenter’s Hall in Philadelphia, Pa. “It was called in response to the passage of the Coercive Acts (also known as Intolerable Acts by Colonial Americans) by the British Parliament. The Intolerable Acts had punished Boston for the Boston Tea Party” (4).
The First Continental Congress was attended by 12 of the 13 colonies. Georgia did not attend. There was a total of 56 members.
This congress was opened with prayer, which lasted for hours. The 35th Psalm was read and the delegates felt that God used this psalm to “speak directions into their live.” The following was recorded of that day: Washington was kneeling there, and Henry, and Randolph and Rutledge, and Lee and Jay; and by their side there stood, bowed down in deference, the Puritan patriots of New England, who at that moment had reason to believe that an armed soldiery was wasting their humble households … They prayed fervently for America, for the Congress, for the province of Massachusetts Bay, and especially the town of Boston…’It is enough,’ said Mr. Adams, ‘to melt a heart of stone. I saw the tears gush into the eyes of the old pacific Quakers of Philadelphia.’ John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail, ‘we have appointed a continental fast. Millions will be upon their knees at once before their great Creator, imploring His forgiveness and blessing; His smiles on American councils and arm.’”(1).
(TO BE CONTINUED)
(1) For You They Signed, Marilyn Boyer
(2) Constitution of the U.S., Article IV, Para. 2
(3) Preamble of the Constitution
(5) U.S. History.com