USA - The Nation Born out of Sword and Fire on Jul 4, 1776

July 4, 2008

Every year July 4 is being celebrated with great enthusiasm and pomp as the Independence Day by the people of the United States. On this day in 1776, thirteen English colonies on the eastern Atlantic seaboard of North America declared their independence from their mother country, England and emerged as the United States of America.

The economic exploitation of the colonies by England and denial of basic political rights led the colonists to raise the cry of "No taxation without representation" against England. The colonists manifested their protest against the oppressive economic policies of England in various ways.

The most memorable protest staged by the rebel colonists against the British economic policies was known as the 'Boston Tea Party' in which the rebels disguised as port  labourers entered the ships belonging to the East India Company at the Boston port and dumped the boxes of tea into the harbour. This was a symbolic action on the part of the colonists to defy the right claimed by the British Parliament to tax the colonies.

The suppression of the colonists by the British troops eventually led to the American Revolution also known as the American War of Independence that lasted from 1775 to 1783.

As the American Revolution was in progress, the representatives of the thirteen colonies in a Congress at Philadelphia adopted the 'Declaration of American Independence' on July 4, 1776.
The Declaration of American Independence is a document of immense importance and became a guiding spirit to oppressed nationalities around the world.  The essence of the declaration runs thus, "… We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal... that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…"

Boson Tea Party

Under the able leadership of George Washington, the colonial troops won a number of victories against the British troops. There was immense loss of life on both sides. Ultimately, conceding defeat, England recognized the independence of the thirteen colonies by the Treaty of Paris (1783). Thus, the new nation of the United States of America was born. However, Americans celebrate their independence day on 4th July, the day on which the delegates of the thirteen colonies at Philadelphia had adopted the Declaration of American Independence.

The Constitution of the United States adopted the Federal and Presidential system of government. George Washington was elected as the first President of the United States.

Within a century and half of its birth, the United States emerged as a great nation through territorial expansion, economic growth and military might. Over the years, people from almost every part of the world, including India, continued to settle in the United States. They came seeking the golden opportunities that had become part of the American way of life. Owing to this immigration, the United States has one of the world's most varied populations and has been often been called 'a nation of immigrants'.

The United States had to face some serious challenges such as the issue of Negro Slavery leading to the Civil War (1860-65), two World Wars, the Great Depression (1929), racial conflicts and more recently international terrorism.  Out of these challenges the United States has emerged as a stronger and unified nation.

The United States had played an important role during the two World Wars and the 'Cold War' era that followed the Second World War. Even after the end of the 'Cold War' in 1980s, the United States has been playing a dominant role in an increasingly uni-polar world.

The foreign policy of the United States, especially during the Cold War was aimed at 'containing the spread of communism' in Western Europe, Asia and Africa. With this view, though a model democracy, the United States propped up autocratic regimes in different parts of the world including in Pakistan, India's neighbour. The fear of the spread of communist influence prompted the United States to build up strategic military alliances such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the Central Treaty Organization (CENTO) and the South-East Asian Treaty Organization (SEATO). American participation in the Korean War (1950s) and the Vietnam War (1960s and 1970s) with the same aim resulted in the loss of thousands of lives and misery to millions of people in the war affected zones.

With the collapse of communism in Russia and Eastern Europe in the 1980s, the United States has emerged as the paramount economic and military power in the world. Presently, the United States is embroiled in a different kind of containment, that is containing international terrorism. The American military involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq has been a matter of grave concern for the world in general and the American people in particular.

The American society has been undergoing a lot of change. With family bonds becoming weaker, divorces and promiscuity increasing, crime and violence becoming rampant, gay marriages and live-in relationships becoming common, the future direction of the American society has become quite unpredictable.

In spite of its short-comings, the United States is the leading nation in science and technology. Be it transport and communication, education and literature, standard of living and  health-care, space exploration and aviation, sports and entertainment, the United States  has maintained its lead over the other nations of the world.

The fundamentally sound democracy and mature political system has been the hallmark of the American nation. With the two party system and Presidential form of government, the constitution of the United States has guaranteed political and administrative stability which few countries can boast of.  As witnessed recently, both the Republican and Democratic parties choose their presidential candidates through a process known as 'primaries'. Once the candidate for the presidential election is chosen, the entire party rallies behind its candidate to win the presidential election.

The presidential election to be held in November this year will be unique in the political history of the United States. Barrack Obama, the black presidential candidate of the Democratic Party may create history by being elected as the 44th  and  first black President of the United States, thus manifesting the progressive outlook and political maturity of the people of the United States.

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Dr Eugene D'Souza, Mumbai
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Comment on this article

  • Purushottama, Byndoor

    Sun, Jul 06 2008

    Thank you Dr,. D'Souza for that more informative article. Also thanks to Mr. Joe for his immature comments about Indian past. Better you read Indian History before you comment. The Briish had the arrogance to say that the Sun never sets on its Empire. Now you know what is the position. America now says it has wealth which never gets exhausted! Let us see future History books pages of which some are already being written going by the economic conditions there. Till then get a good History book and read!

  • John R. Pereira, Kulshekar, Mangalore/Ghatkopar(W), Mumbai

    Sun, Jul 06 2008

    Dr. Eugene is a personal friend of mine, and also related. I am very proud of him as his articles mostly based on history are quite crisp, informative and readable by a layperson. Dr. Eugene has narrated briefly the historical events leading to the American Independence from British rule on this auspicious occasion of American Independence Day on 4th July, which is laudable. He has also further stated some significant events about American Governemt vis-a-vis the current world scenario evolved since the World war days.

    He had briefly mentioned how the rebels disguised as workers entered the ship and threw the boxes out of the ship in protest of 'taxation without representation' by the British. Ultimately, they fought wars in their struggle to gain independence from the tyrannic British rule. I think India gained their freedom by struggles organised by leaders like Dr. Annie Besant, Subhash Chandra Bose, Mahatma Gandhi and many others. Now-a-days, looking at the current Political scenario, many old-timers say that we were better off during British rule as apart from discipline, during the British rule, they helped India to become united despite 'tundu rais' ruling regions within India whereas the present day parochial leaders are trying to divide India, by demanding breakup of existing states with various excuses.

    Also, Kashmir issue has become a bone of contention as the separatist leaderes are demanding freedom from Indian rule even as part of Kashmir is with Pakistan. In fact the rise of terrorism has been attributed to this Kashmir problem as well as Sri Lankan Tamil separatist problem promoted by the Pak ISI and Taliban which once gobbled up Afghanistan and now it has become a global phenomenon. This was also responsible for the rise of Al Quaida who were respnosible in the destruction of Twin towers of World Trade Centre in New York's Manhattan, popularly known as 9/11 episode of the year 2001. Iraq war by the US was in retaliation to this ostensibly to wipe out the global terror network. This plan will never succeed, as there are people who run with the hare and hunt with the hound such as some countries who are sympathetic to the terrorist cause.

    Based on Dr. Eugene D,Souza's comments about the present secenario in America, although I agree to some extent, I feel with the new dispensation after the November Presidential election, the direction of American policy is poised for a change for the better which I hope will help to curb the rise in oil prices and also curb the run-away inflation by early next year.

  • Joe Feynman, Bangalore/NYC

    Sun, Jul 06 2008

    It's silly to say that the US has invaded other countries. I assume the reference is to the war in Iraq. Contrary to what is said here, the US was invited, as in WW1, WW2, Kosovo, Africa, by the Shia population of Iraq to rid them of their regime.

    This is not unlike the Indian military action in Sri Lanka at the behest of the government there. India HAS invaded other countries, Goa and Sikkim being the two obvious examples. Remember, 'India' did not exist before 1947 and was much a collection of princely states with an administration in Delhi run by the British.

    Much like the European Economic Union today. Goa was never part of the Indian subcontinent and for over 400 years a protectorate of Portugal. Sikkim was an independent entity. India's economic growth is mostly due to American help and investment, along with assistance from other European countries and fron Japan.

    This arrogance that some Indians show here is shameful given it's millenia of oppression of a huge percentage of it's population. Throughout it's history Americans have been ahead of everyone else in human rights. One has to compare 18th century America to 18th century India. One only has to watch the manner in which Indians (probably Mr.'s Shenoy and Moras) treat their fellow citizens.

    Also, virtually all technology that is produced and used in India today was first invented in America. Yes, countries like Japan and S. Korea mass produce several items. I can't think of anything that India produces, besides more Indians. Nearly all the roads and railway systems in India were made by the British.

    They also brought in the concept of equality of humans and opportunities for all. They also brought in the concept of an educational system, based on the English grammar school, the concept of hygiene, rule of law and government.

    The Indian national obsession, cricket, is a British import. So is hockey and much else. What is it really that Indians do that is Indian? A significant amount of her culture came from the rulers of mid-eastern origin before that. and the Aryans brought the origins of Hindu culture further back.

    From the names of the people here, I'd imagine they are all Catholic, a western religion. Quite simply, if it wasn't for 'outsiders' India wouldn't be worth much. And today, if it wasn't for the US, India wouldn't be worth anything at all!

  • kumar,

    Sat, Jul 05 2008

    Eugene Sir Thank you for a wonderful article. It is true that the US is born out of hard work and dedication of its nationals and I wish our people will do the same to our country and see that India raises above the US before critisising her.

    With expansionist china becoming increasingly dangerous to India and the terrorist countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh around us, India should associate more with the US in Millitary and economy. I hope india will have the kind of social security system the US has and laws to protect individual's rights in the future.

    Unfortunately, when we think about our corrupt politicians and bureauctats, we hang our heads in shame.

  • A.D'Cunha Shenoy, Mangaluru

    Fri, Jul 04 2008

    A nation born out of sword and fire and indeed it did. But this nation being domocratic in its claims has imperialisic dogma and domination. It invaded other nations in the name of democracy. Yes, it claims to be a nation of human rights yet human rights were abused for black people and thousands were taken as prisoners in Iraq/Afghanisthan war without legal cover. Can we compare this nation to our own nation. I would say no, even in terms of democracy because our democracy is far superior than US. Our values are different. We are subjects of terror, yet we have not declared war or invaded other nations. Can a nation declare war on other nations by holding bible in the hand? Can I say America lives at the cost of other nations?

  • Austin Prabhu, Nanthur/Chicago

    Fri, Jul 04 2008

    Good article Dr. Eugene, However, it is very sad that - "USA - The Nation Born out of Sword and Fire" is now ruling the world with bombs and machine guns! Wow, what a change by a super power.

  • Fr Roque D'Souza, Mangalore (Seminary)/ Fort Dodge, Iowa

    Fri, Jul 04 2008

    I have come to USA 3 months ago as a part of my sabbatical leave and for field experience for 6 months. I am in Iowa state (white majority) which voted Obama as its leading candidate in the primaries. As July 4th is clelbrated today with gaity & color, I wished to rebrush its significance.

    Dr Eugene's article did more than that. Congratulations and thanks for the crispy summary of the history and the current issues. Being in priestly ministry here and having some touch with priests and people and life reality here. I wish to note one note about it: Americans are mostly religious and respectors of human rights, despite some shallowness and 'hi-finess'. May be their main roots of being Christians is the cause for this, and they are not shy of their Christian beliefs.In moments of crisis, they are at their best.They love to celebrate their life and its differences too.

    There is something fine about their informal ways, when we compare them to the other developed nations. I wish US new administration will learn from present mistakes (most of them seem to be aware of it!!) does not poke its nose too much in other nations' affairs. Our world is much more complex and somebody needs to put some sense, when things go wrong. God bless America!! and of course the United Nations, and every other Nation too, inculdin India!!.


  • JERALD MORAS, Kuppepadauv / Calgary, Canada

    Fri, Jul 04 2008

    Very resourceful article! There is something common with Indians and Americans as both are democratic. But both were ruled by British. There is something different with both countries: American has invaded many countries Where as India has never invaded any country not till date.

    While India export people to gulf countries and rest of the world, America exports what? military might and nuclear power. Of course in India don’t have any emigrants like in America do. With regards to economy there seems always domino effect on both countries. If US markets fall due to oil price hike (currently price climbed towards 150$ per barrel), interest rate or any political decisions taken by US has bearings on Indian economy.

    While America influences other countries ( India on nuclear issue ) they command respect and ready to take any risk if they are right. I really appreciate this article is rightly titled – America born out of Sword and fire.

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