Independence Day is truly a day of celebration. The day represents the nation's historic break from English rule of the colonies (colonial or Continental States is more appropriate), thus granting freedom in the "New World". The new nation offered unlimited opportunity for the nation's elite, everyday colonist, and possible better lives for thousands who bartered their freedom to serve in indentured capacities until freedom was either paid for or granted by the controlling elites.
The vast 'New World' land mass was far greater than most realized as they worked through early strife and hardships in developing from their foothold encampments through the Revolutionary War. As more and more settlers journeyed to the new nation from countries and background varied as the continental rivers and streams, life for others became as hellish as never before experienced by post 1500 AD mankind. Forced immigration of Africans to work and toil as free labour, and federally sanctioned manifest destiny led to a very different life for millions.
(Note: The imaginary, message, and meaning is comparable to that of an eventually minister of information for the Third Reich.)
Neither affected group celebrated independence for hundreds of years. Some still find less celebration in July 4 beyond a national holiday that guarantees a day or two off from work or school.
Yes, we celebrate our independence from Great Britain. We do so with occasional reminders for some in the GOP preach it is sanctimonious and somewhat unacceptable to take issues with colonialism. How many times have you heard Huckabee and Gingrich spewing multi-syllable (figurative) 'derecho' about President Obama as an anti-colonialist?
We live in the greatest nation on Earth, but we should not forget to recognize our celebrations are part of our lives based on much sacrifice and horror.
As with Memorial Day we also expend cognitive energy in remembrance of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in war (some actual justifiable wars). Today, The Progressive Influence celebrate independence from Great Britain with equal remembrance of the following.
A couple of areas of remembrance.
Native America Genocide: Manifest Destiny and the worst genocide in the history of mankind
That depends upon who you ask. Generally, estimates range from ten to twenty-five million Indians roamed North America. It may never be known exactly how many native peoples actually were here around 1500 AD. However, what is a fact is that by the 1890's there were just about 250,000 Indians remaining. This makes it the worst genocide in the history of man.
Slavery: Forced Immigration or the Triangle trade (as some now refer to African Human Bondage)
The actual number of men, women and children who were snatched from their homes in Africa and transported in slave ships across the Atlantic, either to the Caribbean islands or to North and South America, will never be known. Writers vary in their estimates, but there is no doubt that their number runs into millions. The following figures are taken from Morel's calculations as reproduced by Professor Melville J. Herskovits and cover the period 1666-1800:
31 January to 4 February 1978
Women the Constitution and the Vote
January 1, 1919
Map: States grant women the right to vote
Map: States grant women the right to vote
|While seeking to amend the U.S. Constitution, the women’s suffrage movement also waged a state-by-state campaign. The territory of Wyoming was the first to give women the vote in 1869. Other western states and territories followed.|
States granting women the right to vote prior to the 19th Amendment:
New York 1917
South Dakota 1918
Full Voting Rights before 19th Amendment and before statehood
Territory of Wyoming 1869
Territory of Utah 1870
Territory of Washington 1883
Territory of Montana 1887
Territory of Alaska 1913
Could vote for President prior to the 19th Amendment
North Dakota 1917
Rhode Island 1917
Gained Voting Rights after the passage:
by Patricia Ireland, NOW President
At a time when women are astronauts and truck drivers, it is hard to believe that the U.S. Constitution does not guarantee women the same rights as men. For most women, equality is a bread-and-butter issue. Women are still paid less on the job and charged more for everything from dry cleaning to insurance. The value of a woman's unpaid work in the home is often not taken into account in determining divorce settlements and pension benefits. When women turn to the courts to right these wrongs, they are at a distinct disadvantage because of what has and hasn't happened to the Constitution.
In 1776 Abigail Adams urged her husband, John, that he and other framers of our founding documents should, "Remember the ladies." John, who went on to become our second president, responded, "Depend upon it. We know better than to repeal our masculine systems," and women were left out of the Constitution.
Nearly a hundred years later, Congress adopted amendments to the Constitution to end slavery and provide justice to former slaves. The 14th Amendment, passed in 1868, guaranteed all "persons" the right to "equal protection under the law." However, the second section of the amendment used the words "male citizens," in describing who would be counted in determining how many representatives each state gets in Congress. This was the first time the Constitution said point blank that women were excluded. Similarly, the 15th Amendment in 1870 extended voting rights to all men -- but not to any women.It wasn't all doom and gloom for women in the 19th and early 20th centuries, though. Two women active in world anti-slavery efforts, Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, were leaders at the first-ever "Women's Rights Convention" in Seneca Falls, N. Y., in 1848. Their "Declaration of Sentiments" included this play on the Declaration of Independence, "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal."These women and others went on to form what became known as the suffrage movement. We now consider the suffragists the "first wave" of the U.S. feminist movement. During their long campaign to win women the right to vote, they used strategies including marches, pickets, arrests and hunger strikes. They triumphed in 1920 when the states ratified the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which corrected the long-time injustice the 15th Amendment had put into writing.
Suffragist leader Alice Paul authored the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to remedy women's exclusion from the 14th Amendment. Introduced in 1923, the ERA was buried in Congress for nearly 50 years. In the late 1960s, the "second wave" of feminist activists took up Alice Paul's cause. After getting the ERA voted out of Congress, we held marches, organized boycotts, lobbied and worked on election campaigns to try to get it passed by the necessary three-fourths of the states. When an arbitrary time limit expired in 1982, the ERA was just three states short of the 38 required for ratification.
The screed was posted not as an indictment of the glorious, yet at times tragic, American Past. It wa posted in an honest effort to recognize the sacrifices of those who are often let out of our thoughts. Our independence cleebrations should include recognition of parts of our past that are not so 'exceptional'. We associate the not so 'exceptional' parts of our past to actions and behaviors we are witnessing today. Growing authoritarianism from the poli/social right, greed deeply embed in our industry, and money consuming politics are forcing an upperclass that appears as the subservient millions in The Hunger Game. the underclass is almost comprehensible to the image of Manifest Destiny painted with the spirit of heartless steam-rolling across the land destroying all it encounters.
Of course, we should celebrate the Fourth of July. We should also commemorate our past and strive to avoid the horrible experiences of the past.