Many people consider Independence Day the “birthday of America.” During a speech at the Oakland County, Michigan, Campaign for Liberty, historian Dave Benner unravels this myth, asserting that the Declaration did not create a new “nation,” but in fact merely asserted the independence of 13 individual political societies from Great Britain.
“This is not a birthday for America. This is the departure from a governmental structure. So, when people say the birthday of America is 1776, that’s inaccurate. The Declaration of Independence actually didn’t even create any kind of government, nor did it create any kind of union. The first time a federal union was established was in the Articles of Confederation, which were not ratified until 1781.”
In the speech, Benner traces the Declaration of Independence from its roots in a “constitutional crisis” that started with the hated Stamp Act in 1765. He goes on to explain the how the movement for independence evolved. The focusing in on the Declaration of Independence itself, he details its drafting, the political philosophy that underpins it, and what exactly it did and didn’t do.