The Rachel Report
Monday, July 4th, 2022
THIS MONTHS LIBERTY GEM:
It seems so fitting that the beginning of July happens to be when a lot of major events in American history have taken place. For today’s Liberty Gem, I want to visit America’s cradle of liberty where one of the most significant events in American military and political history occurred- the Battle of Gettysburg.
Between July 1st and July 3rd 1863, Major General George Meade leading the Army of the Potomac and General Robert E. Lee of the Confederacy clashed in what proved to be not only the deadliest battle of the Civil War but is regarded as one of the bloodiest battles in American history.
After claiming victories in a few strategically significant battles, including a crushing win in Chancellorsville, the Confederate army found themselves with renewed morale and fresh confidence in mid-1863. Bolstered by the blunders of Union General Hooker, General Lee led his troops north for his second invasion of enemy territory. Major General George Meade was ordered to relieve General Hooker of command and moved his Army of 90,000 men north; splitting his troops between guarding the nation’s capital and perusing General Lee.
By mid-June, the Confederate General’s army of 71,000 men had amassed by the Susquehanna River and in the early morning hours of July 1st, Lee’s troops marched on Gettysburg. After gaining ground and claiming victories on July 1st and July 2nd, the Confederate General believed his enemy to be destabilized. Gambling on the weakened state Lee perceived the Union army to be in; he ordered one final and disastrous push up Cemetery Ridge which resulted in nearly 60% casualties for the Confederates. Lee’s strategic miscalculation of Union strength and morale left both the Union and Confederate Armies with mass casualties. By the time of General Lee’s withdrawal on July 4th, Union troops had claimed a crushing victory and the Confederate army was left in shambles.
In just eighty one hours of fighting, 51,112 soldiers were either dead, wounded, or captured.
July 4th, 1863 was a very different Independence Day than America had known or arguably has known since. Many historians argue that the Battle of Gettysburg signified a critical turning point in the War for two reasons.
THIS MONTHS EVENTS
Monday, July 4th, there are lots of fun celebrations and firework shows today throughout Idaho! Look at your local city for details on a celebration close to you! Tonight I’ll be in Star for the firework show! If you’re there, I’d love to see you!
Tuesday, July 5th, the Treasure Valley Republican Women (TVRW) and Liberty Ladies have their monthly meetings at 11:30 at Bob’s Restaurant. Address: 1411 Shilo Dr. Nampa, 83687.
Tuesday, July 12th, we will be having our first Republican Youth event aimed at young people ages 16-28! Join us for volleyball and popsicles at 6pm at Liberty Park in Nampa! Address: 1419 Sunnyridge Rd.
Friday, July 22nd, Lt. Col. Matthew Lohmeier will be speaking at our G.R.I.T (Great Republicans in Training) meeting at the Veterans Hall in Caldwell at 6pm. Please RSVP to Edie at 208-880-1994 for pizza! This is an event you will not want to miss particularly if you have or are currently serving our country in the military.
THIS MONTHS LIBERTY
First, many assert that Gettysburg was the beginning of the end for the Confederate Army. After the catastrophic failure that the second invasion of the North was, General Lee altered his strategy from targeting the North to defending and holding the line of the South.
Secondly, it was at this point that there was a shift in the purpose of the War. As expressed in his Gettysburg Address on November 19th, 1863, President Lincoln connected the purpose of the War to the founding principles of equality and liberty echoing the Declaration of Independence, the continuing cause of freedom, and a “government of the people, by the people, for the people.” Conjointly with the Emancipation Proclamation signed earlier the same year, President Lincoln’s address redefined the Union’s cause of preserving freedom and a united nation.
Happy Independence Day! Today is one of my favorite days of the year.
246 years ago today, the global political, economic, and social landscape forever changed when a group of men made the radical declaration that humans are endowed with certain natural rights and that government’s primary purpose is to secure those rights.
246 years ago today, after fierce deliberation and careful consideration of the weight of their decision, delegates from thirteen colonies steaked everything they were and everything they had on a revolutionary document separating them from the most powerful country on the globe and establishing a government unlike any other the world had ever known.
That was bold.
To grasp the Declaration of Independence fully, it is important to understand that separation was not the original goal of the Continental Congress.
On the contrary, the Founders gathered seeking unity and representation. Even after the Revolutionary War broke out, most of the Founders stayed steadfast in their objective of remaining united with Great Britain. It was only when they realized their pleas and small actions were falling on deaf ears that many began to champion separation. But this position only took root after a year of fighting, years with no tax relief, and ever-growing hostility amongst the colonists towards the British monarchy.
But separation was radical and a near certain death sentence.
What these men were doing was treasonous. And how were traitors punished in the 1770s? They were drawn, hung, and quartered.
These men faced a brutal and unyieldingly merciless death if their Declaration of Independence were to be met with greater force and they were to lose. They put everything on the line… their families, reputations, fortunes, land, honor, and their very lives not because they were land and power hungry…but because they saw a “long train of abuses and usurpations” which compelled them “to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”
Adopting the Declaration of Independence was a tall order. Not only did the Founders need to justify their actions as non-treasonous, they also needed to establish their country as legitimate to the crown, the colonies, and the on-looking world.
To break down the Declaration, it is well understood to be sectioned into five distinct parts. The founders began their work by establishing that the people have the right to rebel against any government which does not adequately represent their interests but stated that honor compelled them to declare the causes of their separation. They continued with a preamble which contains one of the greatest lines penned in human history, “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…” The founders established that Great Britain’s actions were in direct violation to their natural rights.
From there, the founders moved into an indictment of King George listing twenty seven grievances against him. In doing so, they outlined actions which would not be acceptable in a government which “derives its just power from the consent of the governed.” After listing their grievances, the founders explained that the Kings actions were so grave as to justify and compel rebellion. The colonists reminded the King that they had been long suffering and that independence was not a choice- it was a necessity.
The radicalism of what our Founding Fathers did cannot be understated.
These men were fighting for liberty from a place of bondage. That is a concept we cannot well understand. Even now in our fight against tyranny in our government, we are still fighting from a place of liberty against being in a place of bondage.
The Founding Fathers had everything to lose. But they stood boldly on the decisiveness of the immutable truths outlined in the Declaration.
One of my top three favorite speeches ever delivered in global political history was given on the 150th anniversary of Independence by one of the least well-known American presidents, Calvin Coolidge. I encourage everyone to read it in its entirety, but I’d like to highlight one particular section… I’d argue the most important section of his speech.
“About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day… But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers.”
The Declaration of Independence constitutes the bedrock of every other great natural and civil right which has followed.
This brings us back to this month’s Liberty Gem. Equal rights for all (the Emancipation Proclamation, the 19th Amendment, Civil Rights Act…etc.), were all based on the foundational truths established in the Declaration.
Every day we are provided with the opportunity to celebrate our sacred liberties but today, July 4th, we have historically seen the nation join together to celebrate this nation we hold dear. For a century and a half, the Declaration of Independence used to be read aloud in public gatherings every 4th of July.
Recently we have seen a change of the tide. In 2022 America, few Americans have read the Declaration and fewer still are familiar with the entirety of the document. Americans are being taught that celebrating holidays such as Independence Day, believing in American Exceptionalism, and being proud to be an American is bad. Words like “racist,” “oppressive,” “bigoted,” and “misogynistic” are thrown around with reckless abandon when discussing the founding of this great nation.
We have forgotten that there is “a finality” to the truths outlined in the Declaration. There is no progressing to a “freer world order” (as we are hearing in the media today). “If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final.”
To be frank, I shed several tears while writing this email last night… with my “America music” cranked up in the background. The tears came because the words I GET to write as a citizen of the United States. Whether or not I am a citizen, the facts above remain true. But because I AM an American… those words hit differently.
I am an American. The Declaration is my history. The Declaration is also my legacy.
I am proud to be an American…
I am thankful to be an American…
What a country… What a land… What an ideal… What principles that we hold dear. We live in a country whose foundation of natural rights fundamentally altered civilization. There has never before been a more free, equal, or benevolent country on the face of the earth. That isn’t conjecture… that’s fact based on over two centuries of evidence.
God Bless this Land we love,
“I thank my lucky stars to be living here today. ‘Cause the flag still stands for freedom, and they can’t take that away! And I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free! And I won’t forget the men who died- who gave that right to me. And I’d gladly stand up next to you and defend Her still today! ‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land! God Bless the U.S.A.!” –Lee Greenwood, 1984.
P.S As always, please feel free to continue reaching out to me with questions, thoughts, and concerns.