1.) We Are Not a Democracy: People often associate democracy with freedom. We hear this word used all the time by our politicians, by our neighbors, even sometimes by our educators. But the fact is we are not a democracy. We are a republic. Our Founding Fathers deemed this an important distinction to make and discussed the matter quite a bit. In the end, our Founding Fathers claimed that a democracy was both extreme and dangerous for a country as it would most assuredly result in the oppression of the minority by the majority. Take this one example from Founding Father, Elbridge Gerry: "The evils we experience flow from the excess of democracy." And Thomas Jefferson said that democracy should never be practiced outside the limits of a town. Our Founders were very wary of power no matter who had it and thus limited it as much as possible -- this is why we have such a unique system of checks and balances.
2.) Our Founding
Fathers Would Not Have Recited the Pledge: Another patriotic tradition
that gets a lot of attention, particularly around this time of the year,
is the Pledge of Allegiance. The Pledge did not exist during our
Founders' lifetimes -- something that is very clear when looking at its
text. The Pledge was written over a century after America's founding in
1892. It was also written by a socialist -- Francis Bellamy, whose
original text was: "I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for
which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for
all." According to our Founders, the states are not indivisible, but
very much the opposite. In fact, when ratifying the U.S. Constitution,
some states, such as Virginia among others, specifically declared the
right to secede from the Union should they feel it necessary just as an
extra precaution to make sure that that state right was understood. Our
Founders took their states rights very seriously and considered the U.S.
Constitution to be a compact amongst the sovereign states so that any
state could secede if it felt the federal government had become
oppressive. So, if not with a pledge, how would our Founding Fathers
begin meetings and celebrations? The answer: most likely with a prayer.
In fact, the very first resolution brought before the First Continental
Congress, and immediately passed, was the declaration that they would
open every meeting with a prayer.
3.) The Midnight Ride
of Paul Revere . . . and 40 others? The mythology of Paul Revere's
midnight ride can be traced back to the year 1860 with the writing of
that famous poem, "Paul Revere's Ride." Here's what really happened: On
April 18, 1775, British troops were ordered to arrest John Hancock and
Samuel Adams, both of whom were in Lexington at the time and to seize
arms and provisions at Concord. Upon hearing this, Paul Revere and
William Dawes set out on horseback -- taking two different routes to
Lexington in order to warn Hancock and Adams. Along the way, they warned
the towns they passed through of the British invasion. By the morning
of April 19 roughly 40 men were out on horseback spreading the news.
Revere arrived at Lexington first, followed by Dawes. The two men then
headed toward Concord, but were intercepted by British troops. Dawes,
though injured, managed to escape, but Revere was captured. He was
rescued by American militiamen a short while later. It was during this
confrontation between British troops and American militiamen at Concord
that the famous shot heard 'round the world was fired.
this July Fourth, research what you're celebrating and talk about it
with your family. Benjamin Franklin said that we have Republic, if we
can keep it. Former Congressman and author of the book "In Tune with
America: our History in Song," George Nethercutt Jr. put it this way:
"The foundation of the freedoms we enjoy as Americans is the U.S.
Constitution, the longest surviving constitution of any nation in
history. To be civically unaware is to diminish our freedom, but knowing
our history makes us all better Americans. Read our nation's Founding
documents and they will inspire you."