July 4th 1010
“The Country That Almost Wasn’t”
There is the notion that the July 4th holiday is one that was born out of an outcome that was predestined. The progression to nationhood was "in the stars" as it were. Not at all, the people of the days when this nation was forming were as confused and divided as we are today. The Loyalists were the conservatives of their day. They were British and that is where their loyalties would continue. So attached to the status quo were they, that some of them sailed to England to escape the carnage they knew would ensue. They were convinced that the British would prevail and life in the colonies would become infinitely worse. I don’t blame the Loyalists for feeling the way they did. We damn near lost that war. But for a little luck, and the French at our side, we probably would have.
Despite the heavy handed governing of the British, life in the colonies was not unbearable. The real tyranny was toward the business class who were restricted from manufacturing anything substantial, Wood, cotton and other resources could be grown and harvested, but the raw materials had to be sent back to England where finished products could be made and then sold in England and the colonies around the world, including America. This arrangement insured that a certain level of wealth could happen here, but the real wealth was to be in the hands of the influential people in England.
For all that we laud the great sentiments of freedom expressed in the documents that spelled out our new nation’s vision and purpose, the underlying impetus was economics. Economics are as important as personal freedoms, and personal freedoms are all but impossible without an economic system that addresses the needs of the people.
A great framework was needed to enlist the support of all the people, but even the lofty words of the Declaration of Independence, and later the Constitution, fell short of perfection. After all, the institution of slavery remained intact, but it worked anyway.
When the war was over and the Constitution was agreed upon, Benjamin Franklin said "We have given you a country, if you can keep it." We have kept it, but the struggle was long and it continues, and will continue. It never has been a straight-line progression to a better country. And yet, we are a better country. We will continue on that path as long as we look inside ourselves and constantly rediscover what made us great.
In the words taken from an Arlo Guthrie song "Hello America, how are ya?"
Happy Birthday America- Ernie Fazio