10 Things You Should Know About the American Founding | Dr. Bradley J. Birzer | CWR
On this Fourth of July, 238 years after Congress declared independence from the British Empire through the Declaration of Independence, it’s well worth reminding ourselves of a number of things about the Founding era.
In 1776, numerous individuals, families, committees, congregations, localities, and states had already proclaimed their independence, and almost no remaining imperial structure could continue to operate with any legitimacy in what would very soon become 13 states. By the very beginning of July of 1776, it became clear that members of Congress would have to catch up quickly to the more activist localities if they hoped to rein in the movement of independence before it got out of hand and splintered from lack of central direction and a coherent philosophy.
While the passage of the Declaration came on July 4, the members of the Second Continental Congress did not sign the venerable document until August 2.
Here are 10 facts about the American founding that are worth knowing and contemplating as our country celebrates its independence on the Fourth of July.
1. At the time of the passage and signing of the Declaration, roughly 2.15 million persons lived in the 13 colonies. Of those not enslaved, the vast majority was of Anglo-Saxon-Celtic descent and nearly 100 percent were Protestant. The “fierce spirit of liberty is stronger in the English Colonies probably than in any other people on the earth. … Religion, always a principle of energy, in this new people is no way worn out or impaired,” Edmund Burke stated publically in 1775. “The people are Protestants; and of that kind which is most adverse to all implicit submission of mind and opinion.”
2. Within Parliament and English governance, a debate had raged regarding the nature of the British Empire itself. ...