"When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another..." The opening phrase of the United States of America's Declaration of Independence.
How many people actually understand the significance this document has on our country nowadays? How many understand the significance of the American Revolutionary War and other American historical events?
Here is a list of some of the things that many Americans today often forget about, but made a huge impact on our society.
Thomas Paine's pamphlets
Thomas Paine, an American writer during the revolution, wrote two pamphlets that were published in 1776.
The first one, "Common Sense" was published on January 10, 1776. "Time makes more converts than reason," as Paine stated in the pamphlet. In regards to the Revolution, Paine's pamphlet would provide a much needed spark to the cause, and in one of the Continental Army's worst times, Paine's words gave those across the nation hope.
"Common Sense" also provided multiple arguments that appealed to many across the colonies that independence from Great Britain was the right path for America.
Later on that year, on December 23, 1776, two nights before the turning point battle of Trenton, Thomas Paine's second pamphlet, "American Crisis" was published.
It starts: "These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict; the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value."
Thomas Paine would write these words at a key time in American history, and they would ultimately convince many of the volunteers in the Continental Army to re-enlist and stay in the army, keeping the Americans in the war.
Declaration of Independence
Another influential person in American history was Thomas Jefferson. Some know that he was the third president, and during his time he acquired the Louisiana territory from France. Others may remember his time as George Washington's French diplomat during the first presidency, or perhaps his time serving the state of Virginia as part of the Continental Congress.
The main reason we are supposed to celebrate the Fourth of July, however, is due to the Declaration of Independence being adopted by the Continental Congress. After many drafts and several amendments to the original document Jefferson submitted, America's Continental Congress finally agreed to adopt the document.
This single piece of paper would be the start of a foundation of the United States becoming its own country, free from a monarchist reign under King George III.
The United States Constitution
The Constitutional Convention shaped the way the country works today. It continues to shape the way the Supreme Court determines whether a law is legal, what rights American citizens have, and guarantees basic principals to them.
"We the people, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution of the United States of America."
The preamble and the Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the Constitution, give us our fundamental rights, freedoms, and guiding principals to how our country is run. Its fair to say the Constitution holds as much power over its citizens as religious texts hold over their followers.
Without people like James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Franklin and many others, this country would not have a Constitution that defines the rights of its people.
The American Revolutionary War
George Washington, the General of the Continental Army, was a major figurehead and leader during America's harshest times. The man who would become America's first president started off as a major factor in battles against the crown.
Washington and his staff were not the most successful men, particularly before the French navy and army support was acquired from Benjamin Franklin, however they did enough to show one of the mightiest countries in the world what this young, soon to be country was capable of.
Many often forget all the struggles that past ancestors went through to become an independent country. The winters that included Valley Forge, the deadly battles that included Bunker Hill, the many years recruits spent away from their families, similar to what soldiers go through today when they fight overseas are amongst examples.
Women at war
Women have also played a large part in our history, and due to the discriminations against them early on in American history, often result in footnotes or even go unnoticed by many in today's world.
Women such as Phillis Wheatley, who would become the first African-American author to be published in the United States, a slave who wrote poetry about George Washington. Or Sybil Ludington, who rode 40 miles (twice as long as Paul Revere) on the night of April 26, 1777 to warn militiamen on an attack on Dansbury, CT, a major supply depot for the United States at the time.
There were also women that fought on the front lines, including Deborah Sampson, who was wounded in battle, or Molly Pitcher, who took her husband's spot firing a cannon in the battle of Monmouth.
It wouldn't just be during the American Revolution that women would fight either. The service of women in armed combat continues to grow stronger as time passes, but merely started in the United States with some brave women fighting valiantly for independence.
Its not about noise
The United States of America's Independence from Great Britain should not be used as an excuse for noise. Veterans are still fighting overseas to protect these same freedoms that the United States soldiers fought for 240 years ago. People of the United States should remember all those who risked their lives for the future of the United States and its people.