July 4, 2018
American Independence: An English Celebration
By David Semple
242 years ago, on July 4th 1776, the European order was shattered by the most famous political declaration in modern history. The Thirteen American colonies of the British Empire declared independence:
“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”
A generation of English Americans stood up and loudly declared, to the most liberal and free country in the Old World, their right to overthrow tyranny:
“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.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”
The Queen Anne Flag, first flag of the American colonies
This week we celebrate the birthday of the United States of America. The United States has 50 states. Actually, there are 51. For England is and will always be the First State of the United States of America.
Remember, the Constitution of the United States is the greatest English political document since Magna Carta. The American War of Independence was an English civil war, a second civil in less than 130 years. This would be followed by a third civil war, between the North and the South, less than 90 years later. Remember too the Declaration of Independence was the beginning of the most democratic revolution in history.
Americans love Shakespeare perhaps more than the English, for Shakespeare is part of America’s heritage, as is Magna Carta, the King James Bible and the English Bill of Rights of 1688. The American Revolution was the greatest chapter in the battle for English freedom, for English values, culture and language. The United States is not a foreign country. It is the upholder of English freedom. It is the leader of the Western world.
England was our first America. Our ancestors came to England from the continent of Europe in search of freedom. The English settlement of America took that English journey of freedom to the New World.
England is not a European country; it is the foundation stone of the New World. Our language and our culture and our English freedoms and liberties have spread throughout the world, to North America, to Australasia and to India.
I am a Canadian, but England, the United States and Australia are my countries too. The English language and the English political and cultural heritage bonds us together in one international community, which we today call the Anglosphere, comprising different races and cultures, but tied together by our common language and political heritage.
1775 American colonial flag, with one stripe for each state
Independence Day celebrates the beginning of the greatest struggle for human freedom and liberty since Moses and the Israelites left Egypt for the Promised Land. Without Moses there would be no Judeo-Christian value system, and therefore no England. And without England, there would be no America or Canada. Independence Day celebrates freedom not just for the English-speaking people, but for everyone throughout the world.
It is fitting that the greatest Englishman of the 20th century was half-American. Winston Churchill saved Western civilisation from being destroyed by Nazi Germany, the greatest evil in human history. In the early 1940s, the West faced almost certain annihilation from the Nazi military campaign to dominate not just the European order, but the world order. Saving the West from Nazism was Churchill’s single greatest achievement. He knew that the only way to win the war was for the New World, the United States and the British Dominions, to come to the rescue of the Old World. America has been the nation of refuge for persecuted people from all the corners of the world. But Churchill knew that there was no refuge from the growing military might of Nazi Germany. So America had to fight, not just to help Britain save Europe, but to protect the New World from the tyranny of Hitler’s New Order.
To achieve victory, Churchill established the special relationship with President Franklin Roosevelt of the United States. In August 1941, Churchill and Roosevelt signed the Atlantic Charter. This was before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The Atlantic Charter became the first policy document for the wartime anti-Nazi alliance; a document which loudly proclaimed the kind of the post-war world the Anglo-Americans wanted to build, a world built upon the traditional English freedoms and liberties which inaugurated the democracies of the New World. Together with the British Empire, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand (in alliance with Russia), worked together to save the freedoms and liberties of people throughout the world. They saved Europe from the New Dark Age which Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany brought upon the whole continent from 1933 to 1945. Europeans today owe theitr prosperity and political freedoms to the United States and the people of the British Empire.
This was the finest hour of the English-speaking peoples. But without the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America, we would never have won the Second World War. The American Revolution is thus our revolution too. Never forget this.
Many critics have called the United States an imperial power. It is indeed a continental empire, but it’s not an empire in search of colonies. Historians have speculated that the Americans should embrace imperialism as the true successor to the British Empire. But imperialism and colonialism are not in the American DNA. There is always a temptation for American presidents to follow in the footsteps of Julius Caesar and “cross the Rubicon”. The American people, however, would never allow this to happen. The Republic created by George Washington and the Founding Fathers is too rooted in the American identity. Today, the Americans are the true inheritors of English freedom and English individualism.
After the Second World War, the Americans did their best to bring about the demise of the last remaining European empires. This brought on diplomatic and political conflict between two American presidents and prime ministers Winston Churchill and Sir Anthony Eden, the last British leaders who believed Britain was an independent great power. What the Americans wanted was a united Europe and a world order built upon free markets, prosperity and democracy. Harold Macmillan saw Britain’s relationship to the United States as being like the Greeks were to the Romans in the Ancient world. Upon becoming prime minister, Macmillan quickly disposed of what remained of the British Empire and set England on the path to joining the European Economic Community.
President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill on board HRH Prince of Wales at Placentia Bay, Newfoundland, in August 1941,setting out a new vision for the postwar world.
At the end of the 19th Century, Britain possessed over 900 navel bases across the globe and ruled the waves in Spendid Isolation, free of permanent alliances and interests, determined to keep the balance of power between the great continental powers so that no one nation dominated Europe. At the start of the 20th Century, the rising power of the newly united Germany, now no longer ruled by the nation’s founder, Otto Von Bismarck, began to overshadow the continent. A German-dominated Europe posed a great threat to the English homeland. Britain entered into an alliance with Japan.
At the beginning of the 21st Century, the United States possessed over 900 military bases across the globe, having become the dominant world power after the collapse of Soviet Union, the last European empire left standing. The Americans, unlike Britain, were never in a position to maintain the balance of power outside the great power system. They had formed NATO and SEATO in the postwar era. They were, and still are, the greatest power in world history. However, just as Britain was threatened with the rise of Germany before the First World War, so the United States is faced with the rise of Communist China as its new great rival.
First flag of the United States; 1776, the Betsy Ross Flag.
That’s why the Americans are asking the nations of Europe to take more responsibility in looking after European defence. Russia is no longer a threat. But China looms large over the Pacific and Indian Oceans. There is still an ideological divide between the free world and totalitarian Marxism. China is still a “revolutionary” power in the tradition of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. China’s power is nothing compared with the power of the United States, however, and its future prospects are limited by the weaknesses of the totalitarian system which the Chinese leadership refuses to abandon. They refuse to abandon at their own peril.
The last true form of colonialism left over from the Middle Ages refuses to go away. When the Arabs began their imperialist expansion, they took advantage of the weaknesses of the two great powers of the 7th Century, having reduced each other into economic exhaustian after decades of wars between them. The Persian Empire and the Roman Empire ended up as prisoners of Islam. Today, Iran and Turkey and Muslim fundamentalists across the globe, look upon China and the United States as the Rashidan Caliphate of Arabia looked upon Persia and Rome. Herein lies the danger of our times. We may need both the United States and China to work together just in order to maintain the existing world order. For that world order is more fragile than we think.
Since 9/11, the West has been weakened by the new terrorists of the same old caliphate which came out of the darkness of the deserts of Arabia 1400 years ago. The military majesty of the United States is all that keeps the West strong in a world of rising totalitarianism. The greatest danger is not that America will abandon Europe; it is that Europe will turn against America.
That’s why it is important for the countries of the Anglosphere to work to support Pax Americana. We may lose Europe and face serious rivalry from the Far East. We need America. Now more than ever. The only world order which can keep the West strong and stable is the one built by Britain in the 18th Century, a world built upon free markets, free societies and our Western Judeo-Christian inheritance. Only America, with the full support of its allies in the English-speaking world, can uphold the flame of freedom in a world which can at any time fall into darkness. That was true in Ancient times and it is equally true today. We must look to the Western collapse of the 7th Century and make sure it doesn’t happen to us in the 21st Century. Those who abandon America will be weak and fall into darkness. For America is still the land of liberty. And the greatest defender of free people throughout the world.
God bless the United States of America.
First President of
the United States