Reflecting on the Fourth of July

The signing of the Declaration of Independence, painting by John Trumbull, 1819. Photo: Public domain

The Fourth of July is always associated with the flag, family cookouts, and fireworks, but we sometimes forget what exactly we are celebrating and how groundbreaking a moment in history it was when the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. In essence, they committed an act of treason in turning their backs on King George III and the mother country, Great Britain. The penalty for treason is death, so liberty or death was exactly what they had chosen.

It is also easy to forget that not everyone living in the American colonies at the time was on the same page. The American Revolution divided families and for many it pitted brother against brother since the momentous decision to fight for freedom was not something most people would take lightly. For some, the taxes weren’t too bad, and having the might of Great Britain behind them seemed like a fine arrangement.

The mercantile system in which the colonies were run for the economic benefit of the mother country, led to high tariffs, especially on manufactured goods. The high tariffs then led to calls for “no taxation without representation” and created America’s first pastime, smuggling. Mercantilism often features a system of triangular trade, the best-known being the transatlantic slave trade which operated from the late 16th to early 19th centuries. Following the trade winds in the era of sail, ships carried slaves, cash crops, and manufactured goods between West Africa, the Caribbean or American colonies, and the European colonial powers, with the northern colonies of British North America, especially New England, sometimes taking Europe’s role in the triangle.

The Declaration of Independence. Photo: Public domain

The colonies began collaborating with each other, developing a shared identity, and protests escalated into hostilities with the Boston Massacre (1770), the burning of the Gaspee, a British customs schooner enforcing the Navigation Acts (1772), and the Boston Tea Party (1773). The actual date for the start of the American Revolutionary War is not the Fourth of July, but the Battle of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775. Over a year later, the Continental Congress voted to declare independence on July 2, 1776, but the actual declaration was made two days later.

The day after the Fourth of July in 1852, Frederick Douglass made the speech now titled, What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July? (Oration, Delivered in Corinthian Hall, Rochester, NY, July 5, 1852, edited by Leonard Harris, Scott L. Pratt, and Anne S. Waters and published in 2002 in American Philosophies: An Anthology) in which he compares the plight of the slaves to that of the colonists who lived under oppressive British rule over 70 years earlier. “They were statesmen, patriots, and heroes, and…with them, justice, liberty, and humanity were final; not slavery and oppression,” Douglass said.

He noted that true Christians should stand up for the rights and liberty of others, adding that “intelligence is penetrating the darkest corners of the globe. It makes its pathway over and under the sea, as well as on the earth.”

Douglass’ words resonate today when we see so many struggling under oppression of various kinds, not standing up for the voiceless, the needy, the homeless, goes against the core beliefs, ideals, and values not only of faith, but of the United States as well. The Hellenic ideals and values of democracy, philanthropy, philoxenia, and philotimo also fit in with the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness mentioned in the Declaration of Independence which in turn influenced declarations of independence all over the world, including modern Greece in its struggle for independence.

The rights and freedoms we take for granted today were not always guaranteed and many gave their lives so that future generations could be free, so remember to honor their memory as well as we celebrate the nation’s independence and have a Happy Fourth of July!

12 Comments

  1. HOW SAD! BUT APPROPRIATE FOR MARIA TO FEATURE THREE FLAGS AND WORSHIP AND BLESS THEM RATHER THAN FEATURE THREE CROSSES REPRESENTING THOSE CRUCIFIED WITH JESUS BY THE EMPIRE OF ROME AND THEIR JEWISH PRIESTS OF ISRAEL

    On this July 4, we would do well to renounce nationalism and all its symbols: its flags, its pledges of allegiance, its anthems, its insistence in song that God must single out America to be blessed.

    Is not nationalism — that devotion to a flag, an anthem, a boundary so fierce it engenders mass murder — one of the great evils of our time, along with racism, along with religious hatred?

    These ways of thinking — cultivated, nurtured, indoctrinated from childhood on — have been useful to those in power, and deadly for those out of power.

    Our citizenry has been brought up to see our nation as different from others, an exception in the world, uniquely moral, expanding into other lands in order to bring civilization, liberty, democracy

    This deception started early..

    When the first English settlers moved into Indian land in Massachusetts Bay and were resisted, the violence escalated into war with the Pequot Indians.
    The killing of Indians was seen as approved by God, the taking of land as commanded by the Bible. The Puritans cited one of the Psalms, which says: “Ask of me, and I shall give thee, the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the Earth for thy possession.”

    We see in Iraq that our soldiers are not different.

  2. continued…They have, perhaps against their better nature, killed thousands of Iraq civilians. And some soldiers have shown themselves capable of brutality, of torture.
    Yet they are victims, too, of our government’s lies.

    How many times have we heard President Bush tell the troops that if they die, if they return without arms or legs, or blinded, it is for “liberty,” for “democracy”?

    And nationalism is given a special virulence when it is said to be blessed by Providence. Today we have a president, invading two countries in four years, who announced on the campaign trail in 2004 that God speaks through him.
    We need to refute the idea that our nation is different from, morally superior to, the other imperial powers of world history.

    We need to replace this flag with 3 crosses and blessed by God, not degenerate people and media like TNH and Elina responsible for the genocide around the world by their flag which is in 80 counties and occupied by 850 military bases by telling myth of spreading democracy that has killed 22 million non Anglo citizens of the world, since WW2!

    In the end. TNH and mass media have enable these degenerates to shred the flag of America with their fake news narratives which conceal that America is run by racist white supremacist who are very good at genocide, and selling the myth that America is a democracy , blessed by God.

    Maria Elisa and TNH…you are not blessed by God, when you worship a U.S flag…instead of humanity!.

    1. Mike, you need to be deported back to Greece and left on a small island with no boat. You are a seditious lunatic and it’s irresponsible of THN to print your posts. I had hoped you’d take your meds and stay in your padded cell. Since you escaped, deportation is the only answer, even in your sanctuary borough, Queens.

      On the other hand, you do drive traffic to the site, so Diamantaris ought to pay you by the word.

      Just do us a favor and go away.

  3. Spiro., Basil, TNH, Menendez , Endy Zemennides and his Geek Secret Society of Masons Glory to Ameica and Israel fanatics have freely castigated our Greek Orthodox Church for corrupt practices, and suggest that we should leave the church, now tell uI to leave America, because I expose the fact that fanatical fascist and Marxist like Spiro and Basil are actually in charge of just about every department of our government..and simply an International organized crime family committing perpetual wars , and genocide against the citizens of the world .to feed their never ending lust for power and greed!,

    The leadership of Spiro. in the Greek Secret Societies of America like Ahepa and Halc are the epitomy on how the secret society of America runs the corrupt government of America ..where 78% of American consider it.corrupt thru and thru!

    To repeat from what Spiro suffers from…

    Is not nationalism — that devotion to a flag, an anthem, a boundary so fierce it engenders mass murder — one of the great evils of our time, along with racism, along with religious hatred?

    These ways of thinking — cultivated, nurtured, indoctrinated from childhood on — have been useful to those in power, and deadly for those out of power.

    Our citizenry has been brought up to see our nation as different from others, an exception in the world, uniquely moral, expanding into other lands in order to bring civilization, liberty, democracy

    AS Tulsi Gabbard said…this is not America!

  4. Hahahaha
    From Pledge of Allegiance to mass murder in one sentence. Are you in.a 30 day court ordered psych evaluation at Bellevue or are you still at Rikers for running scams in your parish?

    Are you at AHEPA National in Chicago so I can say hello, if not, then change
    your adult diapers and take your meds and say goodnight to all the AHEPA, Mendendez, Greek Masonic CIA Secret Societies ghoolies hiding under your bed before kissing your live in caretaker Tulsi as she tucks you in. Nani Nani, Michali.

    1. Hey Spiro, at least being in the company of Tulsi Gabbard, an Iraq War Veteran , Congresswomen from Hawaii , member of the Arms services committee and now Presidential candidate and patriot, is far honorable , then with New Supreme Commander of the Ahepa Secret Society of Masons…the Ahepa Pay for Play indicted corrupt Senator from New Jersey Robert Menendez.the greatest Hellene in Greek History, who you and TNH endorsed and legitimized public corruption to hold office in America!

      He is the perfect poster child for your convention,since, he is not only a traitor to America for representing the interests of Israel and Saudi Arabia.but a war criminal for arming jihadist in Syria, and being only one of 4 democrats to oppose the Iran international treaty which forbidded Iran from producing Nuclear warhead…and then supporting Trump in tearing it up, and then starting economic, political , and military warfare against a country that is complying with all conditions of a treaty with the major powers of the international community!

      Be proud , he also is the coordinator in starving the people of Venezuela ,because they threw out Exxon Mobil for skimming profits from their people!

      The U.N. inspectors.call the starving and strangulation of Menendez as crimes against humanity..and has recommended that the International criminal prosecute Menendez for crimes against humanity!

      Just know..Tulsi Gabbard and I ..know what you really represent and support!..

  5. continued.and prepare yourself.because Tulsi is coming for Menendez and you degenerates who would support Adolf Hitlers policies of genocide, if he was the leader of the Glory to American masons meeting in Chicago!

    But Tulsi and I.will continue to fight against Menendez and his supporters meeting in Chicago who couldn’t get elected to the board of a homeless shelter!

    Stand up against those who pollute our land, the air we breathe the precious fresh water resources we need to live and our oceans like in Crete and Cyprus.

    Stand up against bought and paid-for politicians, kowtowing to special interests and selling their votes to the highest bidder.like Menendez who has taken thousands of dollars from embezzled medicare money by his best Jewish lobby friend who is doing a 20 year prison sentence in a federal !

    Stand up against those who dishonor our troops, treating them as political pawns, and mercenaries-for-hire in wars around the world.

    Stand against powerful politicians from both parties who sit in ivory towers thinking up new wars to wage and new places for people to die.Wasting trillions of dollars, hundreds of thousands of lives, undermining our economy and security, and destroying our middle class. These self-serving politicians are dragging us from one regime change war to the next, exacerbating the New Cold War, and pushing us to the brink of a nuclear war.

    Wave your flags and swords, and then trash the lords prayer..which you do not follow!

  6. We in the US who are of Greek ancestry have the distinction to have had our people participate as part of two of the greatest political creations in history: The Byzantine Empire–at its height from the ninth to the eleventh century and the United States, a world power from the nineteenth century to the present. Both entities were bastions of Christianity, extremely prosperous and successful on many levels, the envy of other peoples near and far.

    Neither creation was perfect, no nation is, but their accomplishments have been great.

    But with the envy they inspired also generated the temptation to attack the object of envy and to loot and ultimately destroy it. That is what happened to the Byzantine Empire at the hands of the western Europeans and the Turks.

    Similar envy exists of the United States. Will destruction happen to the US also? I sure hope not.

  7. John, the SEE NO EVIL , HEAR NO EVIL Patriot of the Glory to America and Israel Aristocrats and what White Supremacist supporters of Adolph Hitler screamed about German Exceptionalism and race!

    But John, .what Tulsi Gabbard.a real American Patriot thinks of Patriots like you.,who serving two tours of duty in Iraq, now running for President of the United States….

    This July 4th, let’s take patriotism back.by Tulsi Gabbard!

    Since 9/11, I’ve watched as patriotism was used as an excuse for disastrous regime change wars and surveillance of the American people, as a euphemism for bigotry, and as a cover for McCarthyist hysteria and the lead up to a new Cold War and nuclear arms race.

    But that’s not what patriotism is, and it infuriates me to see it abused. Patriotism is the reason I and so many of my fellow service members put our lives on the line to defend our country. Patriotism is not about symbols or fake outrage. It’s about love – real, active love.

    Is not nationalism that devotion to a flag, an anthem, a boundary so fierce it engenders mass murder one of the great evils of our time, along with racism, along with religious hatred?

    These ways of thinking — cultivated, nurtured, indoctrinated from childhood on — have been useful to those in power, and deadly for those out of power.

    Our citizenry has been brought up to see our nation as different from others, an exception in the world,
    uniquely moral, expanding into other lands uniquely moral!

  8. Michael, I suspect that with the passage of time, the only ones still looking at this article are you, me, and perhaps the writer Eleni.

    Hopefully you at least liked my putting in a good word for the often-maligned Byzantine Empire.

    1. John, you are right, I am not sure …that there are any other posters in most of the articles, because John, in the end , I do appreciate whether I like what you say or not…that you care enough for speak up for what you beleive is right or wrong about our society or issues that harm or help Greeks, and Humanity!

      However , nothing I say to you is personally directed at you …but those who ultimately responsible for telling the truth , and I mean the whole truth and that is Eleni!

      Eleni ..is the last line of defense for society, and has always been…in stopping evil agendas…that do not serve the masses, but individual interests!

      Who is responsible John…when you decide to support what is an act of terrorism, but portrayed to you by the press ..as a humanitarian cause!

      John, you still trust America..I do not!

      ‘I write to Eleni..nobody else.and hope she starts to understand , what her responsibility is morally, and her obligation to our lord..which is to tell the truth! Today, less than 13 % of the population trust the media and consider it one of the most corrupt institution in the world!

      The damage plays into the hands of the real degenerates.when they tell the truth..we will not believe them, and evil thrives.

      John, I respect your narrative on the Byzantines.and when I was visiting relatives in Sparta, I and my wife climbed the mountain of Mistra.to the very top admiring the byzantine chapels and monasteries.damaged by invaders!

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