When the initial battles in the Revolutionary War broke out in April 1775, few colonists desired complete independence from Great Britain, and those who did were considered radical.
By the middle of the following year, however, many more colonists had come to favor independence, thanks to growing hostility against Britain and the spread of revolutionary sentiments such as those expressed in the bestselling pamphlet “Common Sense,” published by Thomas Paine in early 1776.
On June 7, when the Continental Congress met at the Pennsylvania State House (later Independence Hall) in Philadelphia, the Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee introduced a motion calling for the colonies’ independence.
Amid heated debate, Congress postponed the vote on Lee’s resolution, but appointed a five-man committee – including Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, John Adams of Massachusetts, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania and Robert R. Livingston of New York – to draft a formal statement justifying the break with Great Britain.
Early Fourth of July Celebrations
In the pre-Revolutionary years, colonists had held annual celebrations of the king’s birthday, which traditionally included the ringing of bells, bonfires, processions and speechmaking. By contrast, during the summer of 1776 some colonists celebrated the birth of independence by holding mock funerals for King George III, as a way of symbolizing the end of the monarchy’s hold on America and the triumph of liberty.
Festivities including concerts, bonfires, parades and the firing of cannons and muskets usually accompanied the first public readings of the Declaration of Independence, beginning immediately after its adoption. Philadelphia held the first annual commemoration of independence on July 4, 1777, while Congress was still occupied with the ongoing war.
George Washington issued double rations of rum to all his soldiers to mark the anniversary of independence in 1778, and in 1781, several months before the key American victory at Yorktown, Massachusetts became the first state to make July 4th an official state holiday.
After the Revolutionary War, Americans continued to commemorate Independence Day every year, in celebrations that allowed the new nation’s emerging political leaders to address citizens and create a feeling of unity. By the last decade of the 18th century, the two major political parties – the Federalist Party and Democratic-Republicans – that had arisen began holding separate Fourth of July celebrations in many large cities.
Fourth of July Becomes a Federal Holiday
The tradition of patriotic celebration became even more widespread after the War of 1812, in which the United States again faced Great Britain. In 1870, the U.S. Congress made July 4th a federal holiday; in 1941, the provision was expanded to grant a paid holiday to all federal employees.
Over the years, the political importance of the holiday would decline, but Independence Day remained an important national holiday and a symbol of patriotism.
Falling in mid-summer, the Fourth of July has since the late 19th century become a major focus of leisure activities and a common occasion for family get-togethers, often involving fireworks and outdoor barbecues. The most common symbol of the holiday is the American flag, and a common musical accompaniment is “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the national anthem of the United States.
Abuse can take a number of forms—physical, verbal, emotional, psychological, sexual, etc. But any form of abuse is opposed to the ruling principle of God’s kingdom—unselfish love. An abusive person does not know love and does not know God. It’s in the Bible, 1 John 4:7, 8, NKJV. “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”
The Bible forbids physical or verbal spouse abuse. It’s in the Bible, Colossians 3:19, NIV. “Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.”
Persons given to verbal abuse reveal their true selves in their words. It’s in the Bible, Proverbs 13:3, NIV. “He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.”
Violence is a characteristic of the unfaithful. It's in the Bible, Proverbs 13:2, NKJV. "A man shall eat well by the fruit of his mouth, but the soul of the unfaithful feeds on violence"
We are not to admire violent persons or pattern our lives after them. It's in the Bible, Proverbs 3:31, NIV. "Do not envy a violent man or choose any of his ways."
God forbids incest—one form of sexual abuse. It’s in the Bible, Leviticus 18:6, NIV. “No one is to approach any close relative to have sexual relations.”
Victims of abuse often feel guilty as if they have done something to provoke their abuser or that they somehow deserve the abuse they receive. Abusers are often skillful at making their victims feel responsible. But no one deserves to be abused by another, and abusers are responsible for their own choices and actions.
The Bible offers comfort—not guilt—for the victims of abuse. It’s in the Bible, Psalm 91:1-16, NKJV.
“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you. Only with your eyes shall you look, and see the reward of the wicked. Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place, no evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; for He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone. You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, the young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.
“Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. with long life I will satisfy him, and show him My salvation.”
Eventually abusers will get their due. It's in the Bible, Romans 12:19, NKJV. "Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, 'Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,' says the Lord."
With God’s protection and blessing, we are safe and can sleep without fear. It’s in the Bible, Proverbs 3:24-26, NKJV. "When you lie down, you will not be afraid; Yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet. Do not be afraid of sudden terror, nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes; for the LORD will be your confidence, and will keep your foot from being caught"
Jesus came to the world for abused victims. It's in the Bible, Isaiah 61:1, NKJV. "The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, because the LORD has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound"
You are not all alone. It's in the Bible, Hebrews 13:5, NKJV. "Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Fatalities from U.S. Wars and Conflicts
American Revolution (1775-1783 )4,435
War of 1812 (1812-1815) 2,260
Mexican War (1846-1848) 13,283
Civil War (1861-1865) 620,000
Spanish-American War (1898-1902) 385
World War I (1917-1918) 116,516
World War II (1941-1945) 405,399
Korean War (1950-1953) 36,574
Vietnam War (1964-1975) 58,220
Gulf War (1990-1991) 383
Afghanistan War (2001-present) 2,381
Iraq War (2003-2012) 4,500
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