IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776

It may be only July 3, but we are smack in the middle of our Independence Day weekend, so this feels timely:

As I point out every year

(yes, yes you do have to listen again, it’s a TRADITION)

it used to be that on every Fourth of July, in every town square and large park and public gathering place in the United States, people would indeed gather, and someone would get up and read out the Declaration of Independence*. It is now two hundred and forty years since that document was written, but its words still evoke all the courage and dignity and idealism and determination it took to make such a radical and irrevocable break with tradition and heritage and history. So before heading out to your barbecue or picnic or fireworks or whatever celebration you have planned (and you should have a celebration planned), listen up:

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

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.

[…]

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.

 
So that’s the why. Please take a minute or two to remember the people who did, quite literally, put their Lives and Fortunes and sacred Honors on the line–or as John Adams put it in a letter to Abigail, “the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration”–to make this a free and independent country.

A safe and happy Independence Day to all!

Oh, still here? Then have a Fanfare for the Common Man (because what could be more appropriate, really):

And a little Sousa:

Also have some fireworks for John Adams, who wrote to his wife Abigail on July 3, 1776, that the Declaration of Independence

ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, … Bonfires and illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.

 

Video posted by Boston Pops

 

* The above is the abridged version of the Declaration–I left out the charges which the colonists leveled against King and Crown. That they actually leveled charges against King and Crown was, of course, among the most radical acts imaginable at the time. Go read the whole thing at the US Archives. … Yes, you really should. It’s not long, and it’s a masterpiece of political writing.

Thanksgiving Proclamation, 1789

By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor–and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be–That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks […] for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted–for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

[…]

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

Go: Washington
George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress

 


(un)Official CastroCornuCopia

 

Happy Turkey Day, everyone!


Video by MusicCityRoots

 
*Yes, this is the same Thanksgiving Day post as last year (and the year before, and…you get the idea). This makes it a Copia TRADITION, up to and including this note, which is nothing at all like me being lazy. Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Long Holiday Weekend!

Today is Labor Day in the US, the [un]official end of summer–sales, barbecues, flags and fun, right? But also what today is about is the “labor” in “organized labor.”


Image from US Dept. of Labor

In 1898 (four years after Labor Day became a federal holiday), Samuel Gompers, head of the AFL, called Labor Day

the day for which the toilers in past centuries looked forward, when their rights and their wrongs would be discussed…that the workers of our day may not only lay down their tools of labor for a holiday, but upon which they may touch shoulders in marching phalanx and feel the stronger for it. (source)

 
So, on your way to your end-of-summer celebration, take a minute or two to think about (and maybe even discuss!) the courage and determination of the workers who joined together to create American labor unions, who stood up to every kind of pressure up to and including armed violence, and without whom we wouldn’t have a 5-day work week, an 8-hour work day, limits on child labor, safe(r) working conditions, a minimum wage, and many other other aspects of working conditions in the US that we take for granted.

Now, go enjoy one of the fruits of their labor!

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776

It may be only July 3, but today is the start of our Independence Day weekend. And, as I point out every year

(yes, yes you do have to listen again, it’s a TRADITION)

it used to be that on every Fourth of July, in every town square and large park and public gathering place in the United States, people would gather, and someone would get up and read out the Declaration of Independence*. It is now two hundred and thirty-nine years since that document was written, but its words still evoke all the courage and dignity and idealism and determination it took to make such a radical and irrevocable break with tradition and heritage and history. So before heading out to your barbecue or picnic or fireworks or whatever celebration you have planned, listen up:

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

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.

[…]

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.

 
So that’s the why. Please take a minute or two to remember the people who did, quite literally, put their Lives and Fortunes and sacred Honors on the line–or as John Adams put it in a letter to Abigail, “the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration”–to make this a free and independent country. A safe and happy Independence Day to all!

Oh, still here? Then have a Fanfare for the Common Man (because what could be more appropriate, really):

 

*The above is the abridged version of the Declaration–I left out the charges which the colonists leveled against King and Crown. That they actually leveled charges against King and Crown was, of course, among the most radical acts imaginable at the time. Go read the whole thing at the US Archives.

On this Memorial Day weekend…

It’s great to have a long holiday weekend, isn’t it? Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer; it’s a day of big sales and parades and picnics and all Good Things. But on your way to that backyard barbecue, won’t you please take a moment to remember those who stood and fell for our country?

So to the indifferent inquirer who asks why Memorial Day is still kept up we may answer, it celebrates and solemnly reaffirms from year to year a national act of enthusiasm and faith. It embodies in the most impressive form our belief that to act with enthusiasm and faith is the condition of acting greatly. To fight out a war, you must believe something and want something with all your might. So must you do to carry anything else to an end worth reaching. More than that, you must be willing to commit yourself to a course, perhaps a long and hard one, without being able to foresee exactly where you will come out. All that is required of you is that you should go somewhither as hard as ever you can. The rest belongs to fate. One may fall-at the beginning of the charge or at the top of the earthworks; but in no other way can he reach the rewards of victory.

 

Thanksgiving Proclamation, 1789

By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor–and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be–That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks […] for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted–for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

[…]

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

Go: Washington
George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress


(un)Official CastroCornuCopia

Happy Turkey Day, everyone!


Video by MusicCityRoots

 
*Yes, this is the same Thanksgiving Day post as last year (and the year before, and…you get the idea). This makes it a Copia TRADITION, up to and including this note, which is nothing at all like me being lazy. Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone is having a great Labor Day!

Labor Day–that’s the [un]official end of summer in the US–sales, barbecues, flags and fun, right? Actually, what today is about is “Labor” as in organized labor. In 1898 (four years after Labor Day became a federal holiday), Samuel Gompers, head of the AFL, called Labor Day

the day for which the toilers in past centuries looked forward, when their rights and their wrongs would be discussed…that the workers of our day may not only lay down their tools of labor for a holiday, but upon which they may touch shoulders in marching phalanx and feel the stronger for it. (source)

 
So, on your way to your end-of-summer celebration, take a minute or two to think about (and maybe even discuss!) the courage and determination of the workers of the early American labor unions, who stood up to every kind of pressure up to and including armed violence, and without whom we wouldn’t have a 5-day work week, an 8-hour work day, limits on child labor, safe(r) working conditions, a minimum wage, and many other other aspects of working conditions in the US that we take for granted.

Right, now to party!

Happy Independence Day, all!

As I point out every year (yes, you have to listen again, it’s a TRADITION), it used to be that on every Fourth of July, in every town square and large park and gathering place in the United States, people would gather and someone would get up and read out the Declaration of Independence. It is now two hundred and thirty-eight years since that document was written, but its words still evoke all the courage and dignity and idealism and determination it took to make such a radical and irrevocable break with tradition and heritage and history. So before heading out to your barbecue or picnic or fireworks, listen up:
 

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

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.

[…]

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.

 
So that’s the why. Please take a minute or two to remember the people who, quite literally, put their Lives and Fortunes and sacred Honors on the line to make this a free and independent country. A safe and happy Independence Day to all!
 

Oh, still here? Then have a Fanfare for the Common Man:

And because John Adams wanted fireworks:

On this Memorial Day weekend…

It’s great to have a long holiday weekend, isn’t it? Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer; it’s a day of big sales and parades and picnics and all Good Things. But on your way to that backyard barbecue, won’t you please take a moment to remember those who stood and fell for our country?

So to the indifferent inquirer who asks why Memorial Day is still kept up we may answer, it celebrates and solemnly reaffirms from year to year a national act of enthusiasm and faith. It embodies in the most impressive form our belief that to act with enthusiam and faith is the condition of acting greatly. To fight out a war, you must believe something and want something with all your might. So must you do to carry anything else to an end worth reaching. More than that, you must be willing to commit yourself to a course, perhpas a long and hard one, without being able to foresee exactly where you will come out. All that is required of you is that you should go somewhither as hard as ever you can. The rest belongs to fate. One may fall-at the beginning of the charge or at the top of the earthworks; but in no other way can he reach the rewards of victory.

&nbsp

Thanksgiving Proclamation, 1789:

By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor–and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be–That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks […] for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted–for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

[…]

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

Go: Washington
George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress


(un)Official CastroCornuCopia

 
Happy Turkey Day, everyone!


Video by MusicCityRoots
 

*Yes, this is the same Thanksgiving Day post as last year (and the year before). This makes it a Copia TRADITION, which is nothing at all like me being lazy. Happy Thanksgiving!