It’s that time of year again when this particular Briton feels compelled to wish all my many readers in the United States of America a very happy Independence Day.
Since 1776 the people and (most) of the governments of the USA have been showing the world what freedom is like. Since declaring independence from the British Monarch King George III Americans have been carrying out a mostly successful experiment in liberty and freedom, an experiment that the world had never seen before. Americans have made flesh on their vast continent those ancient British desires for liberty as expressed in documents such as Magna Carta and by the great 18th century political writers who greatly influenced the views and attitudes of the Founding Fathers.
As well as wishing my American friends and readers a happy Independence Day I also need to say thank you to America. I have very valid personal reasons for thanking those long dead statesmen who put together the US Bill of Rights. My reason for this is as follows: Any American observer of the United Kingdom political scene will not fail to notice that Britons are rapidly losing their rights to speak freely without fear of arrest or imprisonment. Although we did once have these rights, which were granted to British subjects following the coronation of King William and Queen Mary in 1688 and which were codified under the UK Bill of Rights in 1689, these rights have been steadily eroded. This is in stark contrast to the situation in the USA where a citizen can say what they want without fearing the cell door banging shut behind them.
The only reason that I’m not languishing in one of Her Majesty’s Prisons at the moment on a ‘hate speech’ charge for writing critically about the ideology of Islam, is because my writings are published in the Untied States. Because of the 1st Amendment, I have some protection from harassment by the British Police because of your constitution. If I published my writings in the United Kingdom, the police would have long since kicked in my door, arrested me, imprisoned me, harassed my family and may even have forcibly seized my child, merely because I hold opinions that differ from those opinions which Her Majesty’s Government insist I should have. I say this not only in gratitude, but also to inform Americans to cherish the freedoms that were so hard fought for by your ancestors and to remember that other nations are not so lucky and not so free.
Happy Birthday America from a proud Briton happy to live in a constitutional Monarchy, but one who is grateful for the reason I gave above, that America exists. Let us give thanks to those far sighted and most worthy gentlemen who back in 1776, composed the text below that protects both American citizens and those of us who shelter under the wings of American liberty.
For 240 years the USA has been a curious, open minded and inventive nation that has been a friend to many nations including my own despite its bloody birth in violent but justifiable rebellion. It’s right at this point that I acknowledge the undoubted cruelties inflicted on the American people by the King’s soldiery during the Revolutionary War, including the appalling treatment of American POW’s in the British prison hulks of New York. This terrible act of cruelty, one that many Britons are unaware of, was the cause of a greater number of deaths of US troops than the number who died on the battlefields of the Revolutionary War.
Despite that, and other incidents that may have soured the relationship between Britain and the USA, Americans have fought alongside Britons on many occasions. We have fought together to liberate places benighted by tyranny, and Americans have sacrificed a great deal for others, and asked for little in return. I hope that the long standing, friendly and mutually beneficial associations between our people’s continue.
Britain has recently taken the first steps to free ourselves of the domination of the European Union and I hope and pray that in future years, later generations will celebrate the 23rd of June with just as much fervour as Americans celebrate the Fourth of July.
Happy Independence Day America.
The Declaration of Independence
“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with 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, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, 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; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”
See http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_transcript.html for more information