243 years ago today an initial draft of The Declaration of Independence was penned. Think about living anywhere in this world without air conditioning. The AC unit in my opinion is still one of the most underappreciated technological advances of the last century. That’s not a “whoa is me” for any of our founding fathers in Philly during that hot sweaty summer. But think about being stuck in Independence Hall with a bunch of politicians without it and trying to pen this all important document.
243 years. A relatively minute (myNUTE) amount of time considering the history of this very world. A discussion for a different day.
243 years. About the same amount of time as the Golden Age of Greece. That is the time we most associate with the Ancient Greece from about 500-300 BC. During this time the City States of Greece started focusing on the finer things in life.
Or for the SPQR crowd, roughly the time of Pax Romana from 27 BC- 180 AD/CE.
2,519 and 1,902 years ago respectfullyA long, long time ago
Consecutive Empires from the Western World that are still memorialized today. Others from the East included The Mongol, Qing, Ottoman, and Japanese Empires spanned an even greater area and time frame.
243 years seems like a long time until you consider it in relation to all the above. At only 243 years I hope that our best years are ahead of US. All empires seems to follow a similar path, territorial expansion to sustain itself until all has been consumed. Then, how do we evolve?
During our 243 years there have been many positives and negatives, up and downs, ebbs and flows, etc.
Intended and unintended consequences. A push from sea to shinning sea, treaties signed, treaties broken, deals made, deals broken, our self-fulfilling manifest destiny set forth by those land owning white dudes from the books. Those who came before us have claimed these lands because they didn’t legally belong to anyone. Surely, we all have been taught the history of the Native People’s that inhabited all these lands before U.S. Nothing stays the same in this world, for it has always been evolving.
Our Flag itself has evolved to represent US during those 243 years.
Want even more vexillogical fun? Visit ushistory.org
The story of America has always been built on the backs of humans. The working class. Legal and illegal. It does make a difference. In 243 years we have crossed the continent faster than anyone could have dared to dream.
Do you know how long it took us to do so?
It took US 76 years.
Some thought it might never happen, some predicted a thousand years to cross the continent.
76 years. That’s it. 4 generations is basically all it took to go from coast to coast. Right to left across this land. 5 years less than my grandfather’s age at this very moment.
158 years ago our own Civil War. We only had 34 states at that time. The 3/5th’s Compromise, The Missouri Compromise which actually helped shape the Northeast, The Kansas and Nebraska Act where the States flexed their muscle repealing the aforementioned Missouri Compromise. This is what our politicians came up with to avoid total war until secession.
Four score and seven years agoPresident Lincoln citing how long it had been since 1776
87 years after The Declaration of Independence President Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address after issuing the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863.
The Civil War we learned in school officially abolish slavery. An institution that legally helped build this country for the first 87 years, and the 300+ years previous to that. A war that until Vietnam accounted for more than half of American killed in war (622,000 of a now roughly 1,264,000). That’s 49% of the total today. A war that all adults now should understand had as much economic interests pushing it as societal ones.
243 years of trade routes forging ahead of our own boundary in search of what else was out there to provide US with stuff. Trade routes that would shape our boundaries for individual states and that of our nation. Yes, there is a TV series that documents that very topic.
We crossed it first by walking and shortly thereafter on horseback. The rivers first rapidly connected US, then the Pullman train, now cement paths and aeroplanes (air oh planes). It seems roughly the same now as it was back then. We want stuff brought to US and the ability for US to move relatively freely in search of our very own American Dream. Through these connections we have begun to develop our own culture.
Since the original 13 colonies we always needed to stay in touch. To begin, it was horses, river barges, and the USPS. Then, trains, telegrams, and the Sears & Roebuck catalog. They allowed US to to stay in touch, live mildly freely, and consume. Now, web cams, drones, and huge mega stores like Amazon are filling the needs of this nation.
The we in We the People
It’s incredible to see the evolution of US. The “we” in “We the People”. It hasn’t always been a pretty history. But, freedom never has, and never will be completely free or pretty.
It’s also never been without debate and conversation.
Can we all just spend a little time during the next few crucial months and talk about “US” moving forward? For starters lets start talking about the world we want to leave to our kids and grandkids for the next 76 years. Yes, there is plenty of reasons to yell. But, that usually stymies growth. Plus, we all learn more when we listen. By communicating with one another we will probably learn that we are all more alike than we are different.
243 years. Hopefully you don’t have to work. If you do, I hope you are getting holiday pay. If not talk to your representative. If you don’t have one, you’re on your own then.
Enjoy the parades, barbecues, beers, and remember those fireworks that the vast majority of us will hear today are to remind US of the sound of the battlefields then, now, and sadly tomorrow for our freedom.
Say thanks to the people in uniforms at the parade. It will warm their hearts and yours to know that you do care.
Thanks for reading.