The Revolutionary War began with small battles in April of 1775. At that time, only a few colonists desired complete independence from Great Britain and those who did want complete separation were considered radical. In early 1776, publisher Thomas Paine expressed revolutionary sentiments in his best selling pamphlet, “Common Sense”. This added to the growing resentment of British rule, leading many colonies to change their position and join the revolution.
On June 7, 1776, during a session at the Pennsylvania State House (known later as “Independence Hall”), an American statesman from Virginia by the name of Richard Henry Lee presented a resolution with the famous words: “Resolved: That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.”
Although it was not put into motion right away, Lee’s words were a catalyst to begin drafting a formal Declaration of Independence. The resolution was first postponed four days later by a vote of seven colonies to five, with New York abstaining. Nonetheless, John Adams of Massachusetts, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Robert R. Livingston of New York and Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, later known as The Committee of Five, was appointed to draft, and present to the world, the initial statement of the colonies’ case for independence. Jefferson was tasked with drafting the actual document.
The following month, on the first of July, the Continental Congress reconvened. There must have been a lot of discussion that day because on July 2nd, Lee’s Resolution for independence was adopted by 12 of the 13 colonies. Again, New York didn’t vote, but at least they didn’t vote it down. Baby steps!
Jefferson’s first writing of The Declaration of Independence received some minor revisions on July 3 and was officially adopted in the late afternoon of July 4th. This time, nine out of the thirteen colonies voted in favor of the Declaration, with Pennsylvania and South Carolina voting “Nay”. Delaware was undecided and New York again abstained.
John Hancock, President of the Continental Congress, was the first to sign the Declaration of Independence. Details are unconfirmed, but it has been said that Hancock signed his name “with a great flourish” so England’s “King George can read it without spectacles!”
The colonies rejoiced and Philadelphia held the first annual commemoration of independence on July 4, 1777, while Congress was still occupied with the war. George Washington celebrated the anniversary of independence in 1778 by issuing double rations of rum to all his soldiers.
In 1781, months before the American victory at Yorktown, Massachusetts eagerly became the first state to make July 4th an official state holiday. It took almost a century for Congress to make July 4th a federal holiday in 1870, and in 1941, Congress made July 4th a paid holiday to all federal employees.
Our business started as a small dream. Opportunity, hard work, good people and good luck have allowed us to remain in business. America is the land of opportunity for many reasons. The biggest is because you have the freedom to choose to do anything you want. Anyone can come to this country, work hard and be successful. You can start your own business and grow it as big as you want.
In many countries, if you are poor, you cannot get a proper education and you certainly cannot grow a big business. Choices give you the opportunity to determine your success. Millions have come to America in pursuit of this dream and the freedom we often take for granted.
Every business started as a dream. For our founding fathers, it was the dream to have America run by the people, for the people. How can you use your business to celebrate your american dream coming true? We’re not suggesting to get your associates drunk like George Washington did, but what can you do to show your appreciation while gaining a few new customers along the way?
Here is to all you business owners who are embracing their right as Americans to chase that dream. We wish you all the success in the world. You can achieve it! We only hope to play a small part to help you attain it. Happy Fourth!