7 Quick Facts about Independence Day

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1. The road to revolution was paved by growing tensions between Britain and its colonies due to politico-economic differences, culminating in the Stamp Act of 1765, the Townshend Tariffs of 1767, and the Tea Act of 1773, all of which were heavy economic burdens on the colonies. This explains the origin of the phrase, “No taxation without representation.”

2. Initially, colonists were wanting more rights from the British, and the small number who wanted complete independence, such as the lawyer John Adams, were considered radicals. About 20% of the roughly 2,100,000 white colonists in 1770 were British loyalists.

3. The Declaration of Independence was not originally seen as the critical document it later came to be. But together with the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, they became the three most important founding documents on which the republic of America would be formed.

4. The revolution almost ended prematurely with the British navy’s arrival at the colonies in 1776 at New York, where the Continental Army, led by George Washington, was easily beaten but intentionally allowed to remain and eventually escape.

5. The issue of tackling the institution of slavery, which many colonies had outlawed by the time, was intentionally delayed so that all would be united in their front against the British. African American slaves fought on both sides in the war.

6. Several founding fathers—especially, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Paine—were not Christians. Instead, they practiced a kind of rationalistic deism/theism. Thomas Jefferson is most famous for his Jefferson Bible, a selective assortment of New Testament passages that left out hints of supernaturalism or the divinity of Jesus.

7. A parallel of revolution in American religious authority followed the political revolution as older churches like Congregationalists, Presbyterians, and Anglicans were replaced by Methodists and Baptists which focused more on personal salvation.

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