Thursday, September 21, 2017

Independence by C.B.

Dr. Joanne Freeman is a history professor at Yale University. She has been teaching early American history for over twenty years and has featured several lectures on Alexander Hamilton. In her lecture about the events of the American colonies declaring independence from Great Britain, she discusses the buildup of decisions that lead to the Second Continental Congress preparing the Declaration of Independence. Freeman argues that the events leading to the Declaration of Independence were an underestimated series of actions made by both the colonists and Great Britain in 1775-1776 that lead to separation. Freeman presents the case of both The Olive Branch Petition and the fighting that takes place at Bunker Hill outside of Boston and how the news reached King George III and parliament at about the same time. King George boldly declared the colonies in a state of rebellion. Parliament responded with the Prohibitory Act which removed British protection of colonial ships and allowed foreign nations to attack the colonies’ vessels. The colonies perceived the news as an act of disownment from their parent nation. Congress now formally upheld the idea of separating from Britain. Before independence was decided on, Congress asked about the colonies if independence was the path to take from the current events. 90 pre-made declarations of independence with several state constitutions were found within the colonies to suggest independence from Great Britain. Congress thus than the planning of the formal Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson was voted upon by the delegates of Congress the write the final letter along with support from John Adams and Benjamin Franklin.
Freeman’s purpose in her lecture is to point out that the colonists did not originally want independence and that the decision to separate was an overwhelming event. Throughout the events of 1775 of 1776, the main voices heard during this time come from the colonists that support independence from Britain. During the editing of the final letter, the delegates wrote out every complaint that they felt had impacted them and forced the decision to seek independence. Parliament, on the other hand, was not in full favor that the colonists wanted separation. Despite the disagreements, the majority of Parliament supported the king’s actions into taking an aggressive role to keep the colonists in order. The colonial response was arguably an action that the colonists had no choice but to make in order to persevere the natural freedoms they believed were right to maintain.
The Congressional Congress was America’s first acting body of government. Had the decisions made by the delegates been thwarted, the United States would not be the nation it had been today. Jefferson thought to himself as he wrote the Declaration of Independence that the events he participated in undertaking were not a major deal as seen viewed today by historians as students.  The letter was merely a list of complaints that were openly said by the colonists to their parent nation. The colonists never wanted independence but natural rights they believed their origin nation should protect for them as justly so.
In Class questions included; How did the fighting at Lexington, Concord, and Bunker Hill create tension between the colonies and Britain; Why was independence such a long process to declare; Who would rule the colonies after the separation from Britain? The battle of Bunker Hill represented an act of rebellion versus the most powerful empire in the world at the time. Independence took a long time to reach due to the actions the delegates of Congress had to take before declaring it. State government constitutions were already in the process of being created.

Where were the loyalist resistance forces during 1775-6?
Why did the Parliament voices that favored the colonists’ views outvoted?