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July 4, 1776

Independence Day

Traduction en Français

On July 4, 1776, in Philadelphia, where they met in Congress, the representatives of England's Thirteen Colonies of North America proclaimed their independence with enthusiasm.

Unilateral (that is to say, not recognized by the home country), this proclamation would lead to a war involving the insurgents, minorities, and the English troops reinforced by loyalist colonists.

The Philadelphia Congress in 1776 (Yale University Gallery, New Haven)

The idea of ​​a fundamental resolution stipulating that ‘these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States’ is the responsibility of the Virginian R.H. Lee. The resolution was seconded by John Adams, a delegate from Massachusetts (one of the Tea Party's inspirers). A committee of five members was immediately charged with drafting the text.

The main author of the Declaration of Independence was the chairman of the committee, Thomas Jefferson. A man of the Enlightenment, he was also a rich Virginian plantation owner with many slaves. He was assisted by John Adams and Benjamin Franklin.

In terms destined for immortality, the Declaration pronounces each human being’s right to the quest for happiness:

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.

The anniversary of this day deserved to become the national holiday of the United States of America even if it did not mark the actual independence of the country, which would have to wait for the Treaty of Versailles.

It must be said that for a long time two thirds of the 2.5 million inhabitants of the Thirteen Colonies remained faithful to the British crown and King George III, or at least indifferent to the insurgents’ claims. Among the loyalists was the son of Benjamin Franklin, one of the heroes of the insurrection.

The Declaration of Independence marked the beginning of the confrontations between the small group of insurgents under the command of George Washington and the loyalist and English armies reinforced by many German mercenaries.

European Impact

The insurrection and the declaration of independence had a great impact on the liberal nobility of Europe. Against the advice of the young King Louis XVI, the Marquis de La Fayette (nineteen years old) armed a frigate at his own expense and joined the insurgents.

Other officers joined the movement, including General Louis Duportail and Major Pierre L'Enfant, who would lay the plans for the future capital, but also the Prussian von Steuben, the Polish Kosciusko or the German of Kalb. Their military experience was precious to the insurgents, who won their first victory at Saratoga (1777).

The writer and spy Beaumarchais organized shipments of arms to America with the approval of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Vergennes, who favored anything that might weaken the hereditary enemy of France, England.

In 1780, King Louis XVI himself resolved to send a corps of 6,000 soldiers under the command of the Comte de Rochambeau. This decisive support allowed the insurgents to take the decision to Yorktown (1781).

Fabienne Manière

Publié ou mis à jour le : 2017-06-30 15:32:14

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Les commentaires sur cet article :

Ghislain (05-07-201408:59:39)

L'incompréhension persiste. Ce que les protestants (et les catholiques si ils en avaient eu l'occasion) ont écrit: 'nous tenons ces vérités..', ces vérités donnent des droits. Les révolutionnaires français, abrutis, ont transformé l'humanité en droit, l'abaissant ainsi au statut de déclaration au droit d'exister. Et ces crétins croyaient faire œuvre de progrès.... Ce que nous voyons maintenant n'est que la perversion d'un simple droit, et pas d'une vérité transcendante.

Quant au r... Lire la suite

Louis (11-07-200909:36:08)

Louis XVI commit une lourde erreur en aidant les insurgés américains:

elle alourdit le déficit du Trésor et favorisa la diffusion des "idées nouvelles" dans son royaume qui sombra dans la calamiteuse révolution de 1789.

Comment pouvait-il impunément s'allier avec des colons protestants qui nous avaient impitoyablement chassés de ce continent quelques années plus tôt?

Quant à vouloir affaiblir l'Angleterre et laver l'humiliation du Traité de Paris de 1756, le... Lire la suite

Lilian Coimbra (06-07-200819:51:12)

Je suggère à tous ceux qui s'intéressent à l'histoire de l'Indépendance américaine de voir la série de HBO "John Adams". C'est un excellent complément aux articles d'Herodote.

Peytavi René (05-07-200810:29:07)

Nous Français, nous ne devons pas oublier, que par deux fois, au cours des 2 guerres mondiales du 20ème siècle, la 1ère ils nous ont aidé à la gagner, et la 2ème, ils sont venus nous libérer de la dictature nazie.

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