July 4, 1776: Independence Day

by Manuel B. Quintal, Esq.

Today, nobody questions the date the United States became independent from the Great Britain. It is July 4, 1776, the day the thirteen (former colonies) United States of America, in the Second Continental Congress unanimously approved the Declaration of Independence.

There can be no question about it. Justice Samuel Chase, writing for the Supreme Court in 1796 stated: “I have ever considered it as the established doctrine of the United States, that their independence originated from, and commenced with, the declaration of congress on the 4th of July, 1776; and that no other period can be fixed on for its commencement…”

In other words, as far as the United States is concerned, and rightly so, the colonies, which voluntarily and freely constituted themselves as a political entity known as the United States of America, became an independent and sovereign country on July 4, 1776 when it declared its independence. It is on that date that they decided “to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them…” It is not on September 23, 1783 when the Treaty of Paris between His Britannic Majesty and the United States, in which Great Britain recognized the United States of America’s sovereignty and independence.

“The commencement date for independence of a sovereign state is determined by its people not by the recognition accorded by others.”

The commencement date for independence of a sovereign state is determined by its people not by the recognition accorded by others. The Philippines can relate to this. It commemorates and celebrates its independence on June 12 because its revolutionary leaders declared the Philippines an independent and sovereign country on June 12, 1898. No other countries recognized it independence.

While the declaration of independence from its former colonizer may sever the political bond between them, the economic and social relations remain. It is a truism that the bond between the former colonizer and the newly independent state is not totally dissolved, even when the separation was achieved through a bloody revolution. Reality dictates that they must learn to co-exist, as “separate and equal” nations.

Today’s realities and the advances in telecommunications behoove leaders to adopt a policy, particularly a foreign policy that has become antagonistic to traditional allies. The United States cannot, or should not, try to live alone within its own protective shell.

On this day, July 4, 2020, I greet you all HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!