When I want to take a walk I prefer my most comfortable pair of boots. When I want to return to a destination I choose the route I previously successfully traveled. Even when I mow my yard I normally approach the task the same way each time. Surprises are okay for birthdays and Christmas, but for almost everything else familiarity tends to work best if it is an option.
So when the New Harmony, Indiana Working Men’s Institute asked me to speak this Fourth of July after the initial glow of pride the rush of trepidation led me to seek out shelter in time-tested material such as the following offerings. As most of the original authors have already received their “summonses to join that innumerable caravan..”, I presume a little plagiarism will pass without complaint.
As to July 04, 1776
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. The British had provided America with a system of government, but imposed taxes upon us to pay for it without allowing us to be represented in our own government.
It was a time of dark and stormy nights filled with British soldiers being quartered in our homes without our permission and Americans being impressed to serve on British ships. Such treatment incited the embattled American farmers to stand at Lexington and Concord and fire the shots heard ‘round the world. At least one patriot decided death was preferable to dishonor and wondered why some still remained silent while their brethren were already in the field.
Others declared the course of human events made it necessary to sever America’s ties to Great Britain and take its rightful place among the nations of the world. From 1620 until 1776 people had dithered and wondered whether to be or not to be free. Whether it was nobler to suffer Britain’s slings and arrows or to take up arms and oppose them. In other words, should we drink high taxed tea or dump it in the harbor?
Fortunately for us our Forefathers and Foremothers chose liberty over acquiescence, freedom over paternalism and sacrifice over dishonor. Thanks to all of them.