The Second Continental Congress was meeting and what they were about to decide was historic.
When the Second Continental Congress met, there was great debate about declaring independence. Most of the colonists wanted independence, but there was still a large percentage of the people who wanted to remain British. After all, they had the protection of the British Army, the most powerful army in the world, and most of their ancestors were still of English descent.
The Congress was also undecided – but the actions of King George had brought them to this crossroad to concede to the kings demands or to fight. The colonists had been subjected to excessive taxes; further, King George had stationed a standing army in the colonies. Through all of this, the colonists had no say or representation before the king – in simple words – they felt bullied.
To protest these excessive taxes colonists organized a widespread boycott of British goods. tensions grew as more troops were sent to Boston in New York City. This made the people furious. Then on March 5th, 1770, as Boston civilians challenged a group of soldiers, the soldiers fired – and five were dead. This came to be called the Boston Massacre. As word of this event spread, the people became more scared and angrier – but King George persisted – he was determined to bring them in line. He closed the port of Boston, restricted trade, and forced the people to house and feed the British soldiers with no compensation. This seemed to be the last straw.
On September 4th, 1774 delegates from 12 colonies met for the first Continental Congress. They wanted a peaceful settlement with King George, but when they brought their request to him, his response was simply this – the colonist either submit to British rule or be crushed by the British Army – the colonists refused. In a tactical move to disarm the colonies, on April, 19th 1775, British armies tried to take the military supplies of the Massachusetts militia – and without a formal army or a call to arms, the people bravely took up their guns and turned back the British army.
So, on this day, July 4th, 1776, as the delegates wiped the sweat from their brows, they had much to consider. If they declared independence, could they stand up against the mighty power of the British Empire? Speeches and debates continued until finally, there weren’t enough votes to pass the Declaration of Independence. Even though they didn’t sign that document until weeks later, each delegate realized that signing would be at their own risk, and that it could lead to imprisonment or death, they would be branded by the king as outlaws and a bounty would be placed on their heads.
But one of the signers, Charles Carroll, when asked if anyone would know just who he was, he decided not only to sign his name, but the town in which he lived. You see, these men were dedicated and determined to stand up regardless of the consequences. They were willing to give their lives for the very ideals and principles which we now take for granted. Today, as we celebrate our independence. Let us not forget the sacrifice the great sacrifice that was made for our America. Let us stand up, speak out; but also let us spend much time on our knees, praying that Almighty God will not give up on us.
Have a wonderful Independence Day, and don’t forget to fly your flag.
About Jerry Stewart
I am a story teller. Since 1998, I have been telling the true stories of our nation and those Americans gone before us. To say the least, these stories have been well received by Americans, both young and old. So, here’s where the stories have taken me. In 1998, I was broadcasting my stories on just one radio station in Washington State. Today, from Texas 15 years later, these programs are now broadcast through a syndicated radio network to over 400 radio stations all across America, with literally millions of listeners.
“Duty, honor, country. These three hallowed words reverently dictate what a soldier ought to be, what you can be, what you will be. They are the soldier’s rallying post to build courage when courage seems to fail, to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith, to create hope when all hope is gone. Duty…honor…country.”
General Douglas Macarthur
“What we obtain for too cheap a price, we esteem too lightly.”
“Many men fail because they quit too soon. They lose faith when the signs are against them. They do not have the courage to hold on, to keep fighting in spite of that which seems insurmountable. If more of us would strike out and attempt the impossible, we very soon would find the truth of that old saying – nothing is impossible”.
Doctor C.E. Welch, Founder of Welch's Grape Juice
“Associate yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation. For tis better to be alone than in bad company.”
George Washington (Written as a Boy)
“America is great because America is good. And if America ever ceases to be good, it will cease to be great.”
French Philosopher, Alexis De Tocqueville 1840
“You cannot lift your children to a higher level than that on which you live yourself.”
“I regret i have but one life to lose for my country.”
Nathan Hale, just before he was hanged by the British army
“The spirit of this city and this nation will not be defeated because our deeply rooted faith will sustain us”.
Plaque at the Oklahoma City Bomb Site
“The philosophy of our school room in one generation will be the philosophy of the government in the next.”
“Never let yourself be persuaded that any one great man, any one leader, is necessary to the salvation of America; when America consists of one leader and 250 million followers, it will no longer be America.”