Friday, July 4, 2008

Freestyle Friday

Happy 4th of July, everyone!

I'm not a big holiday person and neither is my husband. We see holidays as an opportunity for time off, however since he works in a retail store, he doesn't get many holidays off. So the 4th is just another day for us.

But the meaning behind today's celebratory status isn't lost on either of us. I was thinking this morning about how America gained its independence, and the Revolutionary War that was fought on our soil. We have many heroes to thank: the Patriot soldiers who gave their lives for this country, George Washington who led them, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and many more.

Since I don't celebrate the holiday with fireworks, I decided to celebrate in a different way by reading up on what led to America's independence and blogging about it. My school days are long behind me and I've forgotten so much, but after reviewing the subject I'm amazed at how stubborn the British were, and how poorly they treated the American colonists. Taxation was off the hook! Parliament imposed all these stupid acts to make money for the King of England. It was ridiculous. Americans retaliated by boycotting British goods, and that's when all hell broke loose. First the Boston Massacre, then the Boston Tea Party, and the violence escalated from there. No wonder we wanted freedom from these tyrants! What a bunch of asshats.

One of the unsung heroes of those times was Thomas Paine, a British citizen sympathetic to the American cause. In 1776, he wrote the famous Common Sense pamphlet and was the one who said "These are the times that try men's souls." Paine was an astute and passionate writer, and his words really did make a lot of sense. His pamphlet was so popular that as a percentage of the population, it was read by more people than watch the Super Bowl. That's amazing to me. Paine said "a thirst for power is a natural disease of the monarchy." He also said that the monarchy "by being hereditary, are independent of the People; wherefore in a CONSTITUTIONAL SENSE they contribute nothing towards the freedom of the State."

Paine was a British citizen and only came to America as a visitor in 1776. His writing got him into lots of trouble in his homeland, especially when he supported the French in their revolution. The British labeled him an outlaw for his anti-monarchist views. So he moved to France and got himself put in jail for not endorsing the execution of Louis XIV, and he almost got executed himself. But James Monroe got him out, and Thomas Jefferson invited him to live in America. He died in 1809 at the age of 72 in New York City.

I'm not into politics, but human rights is a huge deal to me. It's the theme running through my book, Knight's Curse. I consider this day in our history a significant milestone for us as human beings. Hail to the heroes of the American Revolution!

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