Happy 243rd Birthday, America

On July 4, 1776, 243 years ago today, the Declaration of Independence was ratified by Congress. This seminal document, equal if not greater in magnitude and significance to other great historical documents (e.g., the Magna Carta), represents the first formal statement by then subjects of the British Crown of the reasons for proclaiming their reasons for, well, declaring their independence and establishing their own government. The document’s text reflects many, many, MANY reasons for the decision to break up with England, including the King’s “imposing Taxes on us without our Consent” and “depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury”. Notwithstanding its lofty language (“…all men are created equal …”) and likely accurate particularization of very valid grievances, others have, accurately, noted the document’s not-so-subtle racism, sexism, and prejudice.

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