This country could have many "Independence Days".
Of course the most popular is July 4, which is the date the Declaration was ratified
. But we could also use July 2, which is the date it was approved by the Continental Congress, or August 2, when most of the delegates actually signed it.
But there's also the Constitution. For our first decade or so, we operated under the "Articles of Confederation
", which weren't the most efficient way of doing things. A Constitutional Convention took place in 1787, which in turn led to the final draft being approved on September 17 of that year. On June 21, 1788, New Hampshire ratified the document and it became official.
But we didn't start the new government until March 4, 1789 - the first session of Congress under the new rules.
But that's all political. I'm looking at the Veteran's side of the ledger. Again, many days could be used for America's First War, but you know where I'm sitting. We'll be using April 19, 1775, the location mere miles from here at Lexington and Concord.
The United States didn't come into being on that morning by the Rude Bridge, but that is when citizens first took up arms in the name of self-rule.
I have often pondered how much of our existence has been spent at war. Counting from that April morning, it has been 242 years since those first shots were fired.The United States has a long and varied military history
- some of it necessary, but most of it not. As it turns out, much of the fighting the United States has participated in has been suppression of natives. Look at the litany of battles throughout the Trail of Tears.
I did some math the other day, using this convenient timeline from the Wiki
. Looking over the centuries of our existence, if I found a year without any military action listed, I counted that as "peace". If there was even a single battle in any year listed, I counted that as a "war year". (Of course my logic may be flawed).
The results are astonishing:
Counting from April 18, 1775 at Lexington and Concord
60 years with no war.
242 years since first shots fired at Lexington
24% of nationâ€™s existence at peace.
76% at war.
I'm not entirely sure this is what the Founding Fathers intended.