The Birth of the United States
as a Collective Person
If the preceding statements are accepted as valid,
then there is no problem in determining the birth date of the United States of America. July 4, 1776, is considered to be the day on which the representatives of the Colonies proclaimed their ability to respond to their international environment as a national whole, and gave the reasons justifying that claim. That this date was considered to be valid is demonstrated by the last paragraph in the document, passed by the Congress on June 20, 1782, defining the design of the Great Seal of the United States.
This date  underneath [the Pyramid, on the reverse side of the Seal] is that of the Declaration of Independence and the words under it [Novus Ordo Seclorum] signify the beginning of the new American Era, which commences from that date. (bold ours)
The last paragraph in the text of the law passed by the Congress on June 20, 1782.(1
Nevertheless, some astrologers are still debating what they think would be the most significant date for the beginning of the American nation. Some take the beginning of hostilities at the Battle of Lexington on April 19, 1775, some the convening of the second Continental Congress on the following May 10. A number of other dates have been suggested: on May 15, 1776, the Virginia Convention unanimously instructed its delegates to cast their votes for independence and the "Union Flag of the American States" was raised over the capitol of Williamsburg(2
) on June 15, Washington was selected to be supreme commander of the Continental Army. Yet through the year 1775, neither Washington nor the majority of the colonists actually favored independence. It was largely due to the exhortations of Thomas Paine, who had recently come from England, that Washington, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and other leaders toward the close of 1775 began to accept the necessity of total independence from the mother country.(3
Paine's uncompromising and forceful pamphlet Common Sense
) had a tremendous effect upon the colonists, coming as it did (January 10, 1776) at the same time they heard of a speech by the king of England denouncing the Americans as rebels and traitors, and asserting that the English Parliament had the right. to bind the colonies in all cases whatsoever.
An attack by British naval forces on Charlestown, South Carolina, is said to have crystallized a majority in Congress in favor of independence, but the middle colonies, especially New York, continued to resist. Finally, on July 1, 1776, Richard Henry Lee's resolution — which he had introduced into the Congress almost a month before, on June 7 — stating that "these unified colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiances to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved," was finally debated. It was approved on July 2, with each state voting as a unit.(5
) In the meantime, Jefferson had been at work drafting a formal declaration for a congressional committee that included Franklin and John Adams. The terms of Jefferson's declaration were discussed and debated on July 3 and 4, and after a condemnation of slavery unacceptable to a number of states was dropped, the document was accepted on July 4.
It might seem logical to accept the day the vote was taken on Lee's "resolution of independence" (July 2) as the time marking the beginning of the new American nation. But in fact the resolution was not made public at the time and should therefore be considered only the first phase of a process that culminates in the official proclamation of independence which gave all the colonists and the world at large the reasons for the step being taken. The Declaration of Independence was not a decision (the decision had been taken on July 2,) but rather it was an act of public information
. The Colonies needed the help of friendly nations, particularly France; and they had to give clear information to all nations — to their planetary environment — that they now claimed the right to existence as an integral whole in relation to other nations
Until the Declaration of Independence was accepted by the Congress and, on July 8, read to the people of Philadelphia from the Statehouse window by Colonel John Nixon (of Westford, Ireland), no event had had such a profound and irrevocable significance. The Battle of Lexington was only an incident provoked by what could be regarded as a local rebellion; it did not even cause the main leaders in the Colonies to desire, much less demand, independence. Even the fact that there soon was an actual state of war did not mean that the Colonies had claimed individual existence as a nation. The "birthing process" had begun. There was pain and bloodshed — but there had not yet been a proclamation of independent existence.
The Great Seal of the United States: Its History, Symbolism and Message for the New Age
, by Paul Foster Case (Rowny Press, Santa Barbara, Calif.) Return
Cf. Origins of the American Revolution
by Jobn Miller, p. 489. Return
Cf. Life of Paine
by Calvin Blanchard. Return
In three months 100,000 copies of this anonymously published pamphlet were sold; yet the total population was about – two and one-half million, including slaves and indentured servants. No pamphlet ever had so immediately compelling an influence as Common Sense. Return
What many people don't know is that New York was still holding out against taking the fatal step, voting "neither aye nor nay" on July 2, and still declining to vote on July 4. Not until July 14 did New York accept the Declaration of Independence. Return
By permission of Leyla Rudhyar Hill
Copyright © 1974 by Dane Rudhyar
and Copyright © 2001 by Leyla Rudhyar Hill
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