America's Revolutionary War broke out in April 1775. The British Empire had poked the people living in the thirteen colonies living across the Atlantic. Great Britain had treated the colonists as subjects of the King who needed to pay taxes from their sweat and toil without having anyone to represent their interests.
The battles throughout the Summer, Fall and Winter of 1775 had been met with some indifference by many of the colonists who had not yet worked up enough dissent to rebel against the King. Sentiments were changed, however, by Britain's tyranny and cruelty, along with the growing number of battles and emotions that were fueled by statements written in the paper, "Common Sense" by Thomas Payne.
Great Britain's King had exacted taxes unduly, the King's men were unjustly cruel and the people had been reading the words of Thomas Payne:
"Government by kings was first introduced into the world by the Heathens, from whom the children of Israel copied the custom. It was the most prosperous invention the Devil ever set on foot for the promotion of idolatry. The Heathens paid divine honors to their deceased kings, and the Christian world hath improved on the plan by doing the same to their living ones. How impious is the title of sacred majesty applied to a worm, who in the midst of his splendor is crumbling into dust!"
"As the exalting one man so greatly above the rest cannot be justified on the equal rights of nature, so neither can it be defended on the authority of scripture; for the will of the Almighty, as declared by Gideon and the prophet Samuel, expressly disapproves of government by kings. All anti-monarchial parts of scripture have been very smoothly glossed over in monarchial governments, but they undoubtedly merit the attention of countries which have their governments yet to form. Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's is the scriptural doctrine of courts, yet it is no support of monarchial government, for the Jews at that time were without a king, and in a state of vassalage to the Romans."
"Near three thousand years passed away from the Mosaic account of the creation, till the Jews under a national delusion requested a king. Till then their form of government (except in extraordinary cases, where the Almighty interposed) was a kind of republic administered by a judge and the elders of the tribes. Kings they had none, and it was held sinful to acknowledge any being under that title but the Lords of Hosts. And when a man seriously reflects on the idolatrous homage which is paid to the persons of kings he need not wonder, that the Almighty, ever jealous of his honor, should disapprove of a form of government which so impiously invades the prerogative of heaven."
"Monarchy is ranked in scripture as one of the sins of the Jews, for which a curse in reserve is denounced against them. The history of that transaction is worth attending to."
So, according to Payne, continuing with submission to the King of Great Britain was the same as participating in the sin the Israelites of old had perpetuated from "heathen" nations. The only answer was to sever ties and declare independence.
With the motivation from the "Common Sense" and the white-hot words of Thomas Payne ringing in their ears the Continental Congress met at what is now the Independence Hall in Philadelphia, the city of "Brotherly Love." Virginia's delegate Richard Henry Lee called for the colonies to demand independence from Great Britain. Throughout June the debate raged in the Congress no doubt recalling some of the battles and the unfairness of the taxation imposed by the King. With the persuasive words of Thomas Payne and others who wished for secession ringing in their ears, the Continental Congress called upon Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, John Adams of Massachusetts, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania and Robert R. Livingston of New York to write and submit for consideration a draft statement that would serve as justification for secession of the colonies from Great Britain.
By July 2, 1776 the smaller committee from the Continental Congress had presented the Declaration of Independence, written primarily by Thomas Jefferson over a two day period, to the Continental Congress on July 2nd. The Congress voted for independence on that day, but on July 4, 1776 the Continental Congress formally adopted the Declaration of Independence as their singular voice to the Monarch of Great Britain they would no longer be subjects belonging to him. On this day in our history, July 4, 1776 Americans took a stand against tyranny and injustice.
Happy Birthday America!