I truly appreciate history, especially American history, and especially those certain events that do so much to weave the fabric that makes up the American tradition. There is perhaps no better time of the year to reflect upon the varied and remarkable account of our country than Independence Day. One of my favorite holidays of the year, the Fourth of July is not only an ideal time to spend outside with your friends and family, but it is also an opportunity to display your enthusiasm and respect for the United States.
Independence Day is the story of our nation’s founding, and the events of that period depict the establishment of the first modern democracy. Moreover, our revolution for independence is proof of how our government can operate at its very best. The Continental Congress, a convention of delegates from the original 13 colonies, voted in favor of independence from Great Britain on July 2nd of 1776. Two days later, the delegates adopted the Declaration of Independence, drafted by Thomas Jefferson, and thus, the United States was founded.
We all know the essentials regarding the American Revolutionary War, they have been seemingly ingrained in our American ideal since elementary school. But many might not know the details behind how independence was proposed. Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee was the man who first introduced a motion calling for the colonies’ independence, sparking a heated debate. The vote was postponed, and the Continental Congress appointed a committee to draft a formal statement reasoning the break from Great Britain. This behind-the-scenes story is a great example of how democracy continues to work today, similar to how ideas in the Ohio House get introduced and discussed and how we work together to create the best solution.
This demonstrates how the principles that the United States was originally founded upon still endure today, almost two and a half centuries later. We continue to celebrate freedom, equality, and the individual’s right to the pursuit of happiness. Our representative democracy lives on—we each have a right to vote on the issues and elect people to represent our thoughts and opinions when developing policies to better the greater society.
This Fourth of July, as you attend parades and enjoy fantastic fireworks displays, remember these principles. Though our country has evolved greatly over the last 241 years, our foundation remains the same. Through our differences, as Americans, we are able to come together with pride for the United States.
Cliff Rosenberger is the Ohio House Speaker.