04 July 2010

America: Raw hide, gumption, courage, gristle, ambition, and whiskey

Despite popular belief that the Fourth of July is America's birthday, people continue to celebrate the birth of a nation on this date. However, America was "born" fifteen years prior to the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

During the French and Indian War, the British government allowed for writs of assistance (basically open-ended search warrants) by any person, whether an authority or neighbor. "Every men prompted by revenge, ill humor or wantonness to inspect the inside of his neighbour's house may get a writ of assistance" (Otis). By 1760, at the death of George II, all writs expired. However, the Boston governor continued to write out warrants to search the property of merchants for smuggled goods. James Otis, colonial lawyer and representative of the Massachusetts merchants, argued against the writs of assistance. He argued that laws, such as the writs, were against the fundamental principles of law:
A man's house is his castle; and while he is quiet, he is as well guarded as a prince in his castle. This writ, if it should be declared legal, would totally annihilate this privilege...this wanton exercise of this power is no chimerical suggestion of a Brain...
John Adams, at the time a young lawyer in Massachusetts, wrote in his notes of Otis' speech, "the first scene of the first act of opposition to the arbitrary claims of Great Britain. Then and there, the child Independence was born."

The escalating tension between colonists and British authorities continued to build until the first shots ten years later in 1770 on the streets of Boston. Four years later a war will officially begin with the creation of Provincial Congresses.
The war will not end for another ten years and it will only be then that the formation of the United States of America will be formed. Yet, it will continue to evolve as Americans evolve. These are the foundations of the American people. History repeats itself, yet Americans are uniquely different from any other people.
Americans are made of raw hide, gumption, courage, gristle, ambition, and whiskey.
Americans don't give up. They take pride in their trials and turmoil, turning their hardships into achievement and prosperity. They take the bull by the horns and conquer. Where there's a will there is always a way. American's don't know the word "can't," but understand the word "can;" after all it is an inherent part of US. We are immigrants, soldiers, farmers, laborers, newsies, slaves, bootleggers, factory workers, mothers, fathers, daughters and brothers. These are the people we come from and these are the people we will always be, for it runs in our veins.

Battle clip from The Patriot:

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