Today is the anniversary of our nation declaring its independence from Great Britain. It is not, however, “America’s birthday.” Let’s break this phrase down a bit.
When the word “America” is used in a phrase like “America’s birthday,” it is a metonym for “United States of America.” Obviously, the geographic hemisphere that accounts for the Americas had a birthday several million years ago.
The United States of America as a nation did not exist until the ratification of the Constitution of the United States of America. We have come to understand Constitution as a word meaning “the document that outlines the basic laws and organization of something” but at the time, they really meant that this was what constituted the new nation they were creating.
The United States of America was born 17 September 1789. That’s its birthday. From the moment independence was declared in July 1776 until that date, the thirteen independent colonies were nation-states, autonomous and sovereign, loosely connected first by the Continental Congresses and then the Articles of Confederation. And while the phrase “united States of America” appears in the Declaration of Independence, it was not referring to any such organization, but instead the fact that the States had decided unanimously to declare their independence.
We must remind ourselves that the word STATE means a self-organized governmental entity.
July 4th is the anniversary of our (using our loosely since only a few of us have ancestors who actually acquired their independence on that day, or at least declared it) independence. Our independence, once it was finished being fought-for, enabled us to give birth to a nation that was the United States of America.
July 4th is an anniversary. September 17th is the birthday. Both are important.
Also, today is the day gluttons gather in New York. You already know how I feel about this event, and who I will be cheering for.