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Declaration of Independence found in Britain's National Archive

  1. Jul 2, 2009 #1

    Ivan Seeking

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    Just in time for the 4th of July.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...merican-Declaration-Independence--Surrey.html
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 2, 2009 #2

    Pengwuino

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    One of the comments:

    :rofl: :rofl:
     
  4. Jul 3, 2009 #3

    Moonbear

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    The article says they don't know how a copy got into British hands. Odd, I always assumed someone sent them a copy, as I was pretty sure that was the primary purpose of the document, to let them know the colonies were declaring independence. :uhh:
     
  5. Jul 3, 2009 #4

    Ivan Seeking

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    Haha, I think they meant that they don't know how the Brits got THIS copy. :biggrin:

    It was suspected that this copy was taken after the Brits seized a fort or something, but I didn't quite catch the details. In any event it is one of the original copies, which apparently makes it a rare find.
     
  6. Jul 3, 2009 #5

    LowlyPion

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    You'd think the King was at least cc'ed on it. What's the point of penning a Dear George letter calling the affair off, if you never mail it?

    Speculation on the news channels was that it was a copy recovered from a captured ship and forwarded to the Admiralty among the ship's papers. So knowing what a seditious document it was, like perfect bureaucrats, they filed it.
     
  7. Jul 3, 2009 #6

    Pengwuino

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    There!
     
  8. Jul 3, 2009 #7
    I have a fairly odd question regarding Britain's realization of US Independence.

    First, why did the American Colonies "need" Britain to realize it's independence. Sure, it is important for legal reasons but my question is regarding the American's outlook or attitude at "independence".

    Does anybody understand my question? It is kind of confusing at first but once thorougly thought about, it can be a trivial question.
     
  9. Jul 4, 2009 #8
    just think of it as an eviction notice
     
  10. Jul 5, 2009 #9

    Moonbear

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    It is legal reasons, and for the benefit of the full international community, not just between Britain and the colonies at the time. It was basically outlining grievances of the colonies and explaining why those grievances were so bad that they warranted forming their own government. It was also important to distinguish between forming a separate government to rule their own territory, vs any implication that it was a coup to take over existing government. They knew that England was not going to give up her colonies without a fight, so you have to define what it is you're fighting about so that whoever wins the war, you know what you've won or lost. Without declaring that the war was for independence, when all the fighting was done, all they might have won were some seats in Parliament with representatives of the colonies, and some tax reform, which was not the real goal.

    It's also important to show that all of the colonies supported independence, and that there was an organized leadership in place. It's the difference between a handful of malcontents being arrested for treason vs an organized revolution supported by a large contingent of the colonists. They knew they weren't just declaring independence, but also declaring war. When you declare war, you need to make it clear that you're not out to overthrow an existing government, but are instead drawing a boundary and telling them they can continue to govern on their side of that boundary, but you want them out of your side.
     
  11. Jul 5, 2009 #10

    russ_watters

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    When you say "realize" do you really mean recognize? The Brits didn't recognize the legitimacy of the document - that was kinda the whole point of the war.
     
  12. Jul 6, 2009 #11

    turbo

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    Please understand that as a colony, the "US" had no international standing. It was not recognized as an entity seperate from England - only as a holding of the empire. The foundling nation sought to fix this by securing the recognition of other European nations, and had the most success with France. Benjamin Franklin was our first "ambassador" of sorts.

    Lots of the muskets that our ancestors used to fight the British were British-made muskets that the locals were required to maintain (as colonists) to fight the French in local militias. Some of the first muskets that the colonists got, apart from these arms, were from the French arsenal at Charleville. Charleville muskets that are stamped with state and/or militia markings are highly sought-after collectibles.

    Lest we get too wrapped up in jingoism and media hype, it is probably helpful to recall that the colonists were called "renegades", "traitors", and worse by the British. When power and wealth are on the line, the first resort of the powerful and wealthy is the denigration of those who would prefer to be free.
     
  13. Jul 6, 2009 #12
    Yes that is what I meant. Sorry about that.
     
  14. Jul 6, 2009 #13

    russ_watters

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    It is certainly proper to call people who rebel against their government "renegades" or "traitors". That's not an attempt to denegrate, it is a factual description. Further, had the colonies lost the war, those who wrote/signed the Declaration could have been rightly convicted of such crimes. Not sure waht "jongoism and media hype" you are referring to...
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2009
  15. Jul 6, 2009 #14
    i suppose that today they would call us terrorists! :)
     
  16. Jul 6, 2009 #15
    To each his own, you know?
     
  17. Jul 6, 2009 #16

    russ_watters

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    Unlikely sinc that word also has a relatively straightforward definition. Besides...."us" weren't alive in 1776!


    -edit: and the word wasn't in common usage back then anyway!
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2009
  18. Jul 6, 2009 #17

    cristo

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    Well, yes, that's the definition of a colony; British America was an overseas territory of Great Britain.

    Hmm.. wonder why that was? :uhh:


    Like Russ, I'm not sure what you mean by the "jingoism and media hype." Colonists who rebelled were traitors, guilty of high treason (had the British won the war, as others have said-- not that there was much chance of that happening; when you're as strong as the British were it's not surprising that your enemies are going to jump into a war against you!).
     
  19. Jul 6, 2009 #18

    mheslep

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    Rightly? I would have gone with 'legally' on an Independence Day thread. :wink:
     
  20. Jul 6, 2009 #19
    operative word being "today". one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter, you know.

    We are all ready to be savage in some cause. The difference between a good man and a bad one is the choice of the cause. - William James 'Will' Durant
     
  21. Jul 6, 2009 #20

    russ_watters

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    I'm not exactly sure what you mean - was that supposed to be sarcastic? The words "terrorist" and "freedom fighter" are completely different words describing different things and obviously aren't even mutually exclusive. "One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter" is just something people say to try to obfuscate the definition of "terrorist" in a disingenuous/clandestine attempt to support it or use the word to denegrate someone else. But ultimately it is a meaningless phrase: Is one man's purple another man's chair?

    Regarding the colonial army, they were "freedom fighters", and certainly were not "terrorists". The most important part of the definition of "terrorism" is that it be directed against civilians. It would have been pretty stupid for the colonial armies to engage in terrorism, since support from their fellow colonists was pretty important to their success.
     
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