Thomas Paine in Great Britain’s ass, and the other great men who won our Independence

The opening battles of the Revolutionary War began in April, 1775. There were few colonists at this early juncture who actually desired complete independence from Great Britain–these colonists, by the way, were called radicals (like, totally). By the middle of 1776, however, many more colonists had come to favor severance from Great Britain; hostility against Great Britain was increasing, and revolutionary sentiments were being spread, most famously through a pamphlet titled Common Sense, written and published by Thomas Paine. Common Sense was composed of simple language to appeal to the men of the Thirteen Colonies, and challenged the authority of the British government—a proper Rebel Yell for the times.

“It is repugnant to reason, to the universal order of things, to all examples from the former ages, to suppose, that this continent can longer remain subject to any external power. The most sanguine in Britain does not think so. The utmost stretch of human wisdom cannot, at this time, compass a plan short of separation, which can promise the continent even a year’s security. Reconciliation is now a falacious dream. Nature hath deserted the connexion, and Art cannot supply her place. For, as Milton wisely expresses, ‘never can true reconcilement grow where wounds of deadly hate have pierced so deep.’

Every quiet method for peace hath been ineffectual. Our prayers have been rejected with disdain; and only tended to convince us, that nothing flatters vanity, or confirms obstinacy in Kings more than repeated petitioning—and nothing hath contributed more than that very measure to make the Kings of Europe absolute: Witness Denmark and Sweden. Wherefore, since nothing but blows will do, for God’s sake, let us come to a final separation, and not leave the next generation to be cutting throats, under the violated unmeaning names of parent and child.”

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Born in 1737, Thomas Paine immigrated to America in 1774. Common Sense sold more than 100,000 copies in the first three months; today it remains one of the best selling titles of all time. Go on with your bad-self, Thomas!

Continental Congress met at Independence Hall (then called the Pennsylvania State House) on June 7, 1776. Virginia delegate, Richard Henry Lee introduced a motion calling for the colonies’ independence, and a heated debate ensued. The vote was postponed, but Congress appointed a five-man committee, which included Thomas Jefferson (Virginia), John Adams (Massachusetts), Benjamin Franklin (Pennsylvania), Roger Sherman (Connecticut), and Robert R. Livingston (New York), to draft a formal statement that would justify independence from Great Britain.

On July 2, the Continental Congress voted nearly unanimously (what the fuck, New York? You guys are lucky you decided to vote affirmatively!) in favor of Richard Henry Lee’s resolution for independence. Hooray! On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was formally adopted. America was like, “Peace, muthafuckas!”

On July 4, 1777, Philadelphia held the first annual commemoration of independence. In 1781, Massachusetts became the first state to make July 4th an official state holiday. U.S. Congress made July 4th a federal holiday in 1870; seventy one years later, the provision was expanded to grant holiday pay to federal employees.

So there it is, an all too brief history of America’s independence from Great Britain. Happy Independence Day!

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Our American flag

Published by Kindra M. Austin

Author of fiction, poetry, and very sweary social commentary. Editor, and co-founder of Indie Blu(e) Publishing. Co-founder of Blood Into Ink, and Heretics, Lovers, and Madmen.

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