Here in the United States, we are preparing to celebrate Independence Day this weekend on July 4. Now is a good time to reflect on what independence means, both individually and collectively in America.
The Boston Tea Party, a political protest led by American colonists in 1773, pushed back against taxation without representation by destroying an entire British ship’s cargo of tea. Tea was a very big deal at that time, by far the most popular non-alcoholic drink of the day. The target was the Tea Act, which allowed the British East India Company to sell tea from China in America to the colonists without paying taxes.
The British government responded harshly to the colonists’ actions, calling the protest an act of treason. Tempers flared and the protests escalated. The crisis boiled over, resulting in the American Revolutionary War that began near Boston in 1775.
Relations had steadily deteriorated between the young colonies and the mother country since 1763. From the Sugar Act to the Stamp Act, Britain imposed harsh penalties on the colonists, most of whom were native born property owners with an independent set of mind and the wherewithal to make good on their beliefs.
The Revolutionary War ultimately secured the United States’ independence from Great Britain. In 1774, the First Continental Congress petitioned the King of England and began boycotting British goods. In 1776, the Declaration of Independence was signed. Fighting continued in North America until 1778, but the war did not end until 1783 when the British accepted American independence with the Treaty of Paris.
The Declaration of Independence justified the petition for independence by listing 27 colonial grievances and by asserting certain natural and legal rights. The original purpose was to announce the colonies’ independence from British rule. The document has grown to become an internationally understood statement on human rights. The second sentence is one of the best-known sentences in the English language:
“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 passage has come to represent a moral standard toward which all people and businesses in the United States should strive. American business has made great strides through the years in equal employment opportunity and diversity, inclusivity, and equity. More work remains to be done. As we celebrate Fourth of July in 2022, let’s all try to remember that our great country stands for equal rights for every person.
July brings many Chamber activities, including Group Lunch on July 6 at noon, and ribbon cuttings: Dunham’s Sports on July 8 at 8:45 a.m. and TLC Marketing and Trustpoint Insurance on July 12 at 4:00 p.m. Check our website at emporiakschamber.org for all the details, call us at 620-342-1600 or stop by the Trusler Business Center at 719 Commercial St.
It’s a great day in Emporia!
“Let’s Talk Business” is a weekly column of the Emporia Area Chamber of Commerce and Visit Emporia. The mission of the Chamber is to be proactive in creating an environment for business and community success, guided by the vision that positive attitudes promote positive actions. Contact us at 620-342-1600 or firstname.lastname@example.org and visit our website at www.emporiakschamber.org.