NSA limits our Independence

Published: Tuesday, July 2, 2013 at 12:53 PM.

In Congress, July 4, 1776, our independence was declared. "When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them to another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them …"

According to author Norman T. Simpson, "It was a time of accusations and counter-accusations. Households were divided, loyalties confused. General Washington had emerged as the Commander-in-Chief and the British declared war on the Colonies."

Just two years earlier in 1774, though, American independence was hardly inevitable. Most American colonists were either ambivalent about independence or were against it.

We didn’t have polls in 1775, so educated guesses are necessary to determine how many colonists were actually in favor of declaring independence from the British. According to Historian Robert Calhoon, the percentage of Loyalists — those loyal to the King of England — in the 13 American Colonies in 1775 is estimated to have been somewhere between 15 and 20 percent.

"Approximately half the colonists of European ancestry tried to avoid involvement in the struggle — some of them deliberate pacifists, others recent immigrants, and many more simple apolitical folk. The Patriots received active support from perhaps 40 percent of the white populace," according to Calhoon.

Even with the odds stacked firmly against them, the Patriots were nonetheless willing 237 years ago to sacrifice their "lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor …" for the cause of liberty as they stated in our Declaration of Independence.

And even with less than half of the population on their side, they still had a fighting chance — to our ultimate blessing as citizens, indeed the world’s — to succeed.

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