Be careful playing with fireworks. Common sense
is a good thing to have when lighting firecrackers and cherry bombs (or any
bombs, for that matter). We could use some more common sense these days. Our
founding fathers did not start out to write a declaration of Independence.
They first met to write something called the: Declaration of the Causes and
Necessity of Taking up Arms - Jul 7, 1775. It does not quite have the right
ring to it.
The Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia to draw up a
“declaration” to address their grievances. They had difficulty in agreeing
what to demand and what to declare. They were in agreement on one thing.
Under no circumstances were they to use the word or threaten “independence.”
The idea of independence was not born easily. It slowly gathered like a
storm. Conditions were not right in 1775. Such a declaration in 1775 would
have been premature and would have been unprepared for the sacrifices such a
dream would demand.
Before secession, the best minds would try reason. They would appeal to
British , “law” as loyal Englishman.
George III sent his army to crush the colonial rebellion. Everyone has heard
of what has been coined as it’s cause: “Taxation without representation.” It
is hard to picture Washington’s freezing Army trudging through the snow in
their bloodied stocking feet because of taxes. For the average colonialist,
it did not matter where the money went for his coffee or tea into colonial
or royal coffers. This was a matter for merchants and the landed and
privileged. It was not something worth dying for.
After their one year obligation, men deserted the field for home. Why should
one Englishman kill another Englishman over a tariff paid by rich men? In
1775, even when the battle had already been engaged, the second Continental
congress was trying to reason with the English Parliament which was itself
divided over treatment of the Colonies. It was not until Thomas Paine wrote
and published his now famous Common Sense that the American mind seized upon
the word and the idea of Independence.
The Declaration of Independence would never had been written and signed in
July if Common Sense had not been printed in January. That 46 page pamphlet
gave the enemy a face and it gave the human spirit a cause and reason to
fight and sacrifice everything for a thing called freedom.