This coming Thursday, many of us will have a day off from work and be home to have a barbecue, watch the fireworks and proudly fly our American flag.
This uniquely American holiday is a time to reflect on the greatness of our Nation and its people.
However, it is not really a time to celebrate as “Americans”. It is a time to celebrate as sovereign people of the States. The Fourth of July was the day (it was actually a few days earlier) the people of the thirteen colonies through their representatives in the Congress, declared to the world that they were now independent and free States. Free from the King and Parliament and a centralized government. However, it would take a long and bloody war to actually permit these newly independent Sates to remain free.
The Declaration of Independence was signed by men who knew they were risking their “Lives, fortunes and sacred honor”. According to the King, they were all traitors who warranted death.
When the war finally came to a successful end the King and Parliament had no choice but to declare that the thirteen States were now free. The first Article of the Treaty of Paris that ended the war stated:
His Brittanic Majesty acknowledges the said United States, viz., New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, to be free sovereign and Independent States; that he treats with them as such, and for himself his Heirs & Successors, relinquishes all claims to the Government, Propriety, and Territorial Rights of the same and every Part thereof.
It appears that we have forgotten who we are. The King had to sign a treaty that recognized all of the States independently. We are a union of States that remain free and independent. The Articles of Confederation, our first Constitution, and the current Constitution never gave up the Sovereignty of the States. In fact the States delegated only limited authority to the Federal government. The Tenth Amendment made it very clear.
How does the Declaration of Independence sum up? Read it carefully:
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.
So this Fourth of July why not fly your State flag? It will show to the world that you are still a Sovereign and free people who choose to remain part of a union of States. How did John Adams say to celebrate: “…It ought to be commemorated as a day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bell, bonfires, and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other…”
Let’s not forget who we are.
He holds a B.A. in Legal Studies, graduating Magna Cum Laude from the State University of New York, College at Purchase and holds his M.A. in History at Western Connecticut State University, Danbury Connecticut. Rick is also the author of "the United States as a Confederation and the Relevance of the Tenth Amendment".