Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Independence Day

It is, of course, the Fourth day of July.

After several years of tension, and many attempts by various colony-side groups to get the British parliament to listen to basic grievances, conflict arose.

The Colonists and the British Army started shooting on 19 April 1775 at Lexington - just outside of Boston. On 11 June 1776, more than a year after the war had begun, the delegates to the Continental Congress appointed a committee of five, and they got started on the serious work of making a formal declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson did most of the writing, and the decision to ratify a Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress on July 2, 1776. Over the next two days, wording of the draft document was debated, and the final wording was approved after minor changes on 4 July 1776.

The war continued trough 1783. The Treaty of Paris was signed on 3 September 1783, and the last of the British troops left New York City on 25 November 1783.

George Washington left the office of Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army in December 1783, and did not become President of the United States of America until 30 April 1789, 14 years after the revolutionary war started, 13 years after the ratification of the Declaration of Independence, and 5 years after the British left.

[edits: added links to Wikipedia Articles]


  1. Damian here- Who would you rank as the greatest president?

  2. Me!

    O.K. -- Probably not the answer you are looking for. I have a hard time saying Lincoln, because he was great, and an obvious answer, and we share a birthday, and -- well there's the whole calling up an army without the approval of congress thing.

    Back then when congress was not in session, it took months to call a special session, and he was forgiven that digression. Yet, it's the same expansion of presidential powers that is now invoked to send our kids to "police actions" Granada, Vietnam, etc.

    So I feel like picking a president that didn't do anything wrong. Someone like Andrew Johnson comes to mind. He had a VERY short term, immediately defeated after moving up from the vice presidency with Lincoln's assassination. But that's not really fair to all the other presidents that didn't get anything useful accomplished.

    Short and great? James Garfield. Former civil war hero - 20th president - and a champion against corruption. Shot and died the same year he took office. Didn't really get a chance to prove his worthiness...

    I think I'll settle on Andrew Jackson, but oh how easy it is to pick a president from before the civil war. His founding of the "cabinet" was a very useful addition to the presidency -- though, I wouldn't agree with HOW he did it these days. In his defense, I'd say -- "simpler times."

  3. Your analysis is definitely a mind trip. I never heard of someone rating presidents based on the least amount of wrong a president did..that's a fresh perspective.

    I guess if one doesn't consider Old Hickory's -ahem- "Indian Removal" or the treaty that lead to the Trail of Tears under President Van Buren, then Jackson can be seen as a choice (whereas AJohnson and Garfield are dubious candidates in a "Greatest President Discussion").

    I mean, you are penalizing Lincoln for calling up an army during the CIVIL WAR without congressional approval because future presidents used it for oversea police actions.

  4. Enneagram-Monger here, with the following quote:

    "The Treaty of Paris was signed on 3 September 1783"


    That date is not a coincidence! The proof is in the numbers! America is a type 3 - Achiever - culture! Three's are aggressive types, like seven's and eight's! Three's disintegrate into nine's! One represents England, the nation America defeated!

  5. Vahl here.

    I openly mocked the Andrew Jackson display at the Tennessee State Museum.

    My wife and I both noticed how the Native American pottery had scant descriptions ... after all, anyone who knew about that pottery were most likely killed during the age of Antebellum!

    Andrew Jackson -- when he lied, people really did die ... I don't CARE if he was a product of his generation ... that's bull$20$. I pray that there's a hell, and that Andrew Jackson is twisting, rotisserie-style, slowly over the flames as Osceola turns the spit.

    I'm also glad that Ole' Hickory was struck by a tornado in the mid-90's, and that the wood was used to create Gibson guitars. At least something good came from the Hermitage.

  6. Vahl here again, having purged my heart of hate towards my $20 bills.

    Let's go by century:
    17th -- Washington
    18th -- Lincoln
    19th -- FDR
    20th -- hahahaha

    So, those are the obvious choices. If we were to break it down into 50 year increments, it might look something like this:
    1789 to 1800 -- Washington
    1800 to 1850 -- Jefferson
    1851 to 1900 -- Lincoln
    1900 to 1950 -- FDR
    1950 to 2000 -- Reagan

    Honorable mention to Teddy Roosevelt and $20 bill.


    Of course, a President's greatness has as much to do with being elected at the right moment in history as how they act during their Presidency.

  7. Sorry -- can't deal with Reagan on the list... not by a long shot. I'd go Kennedy before Reagan.

  8. Vahl here.

    What about the Bay of Pigs? That was a disaster.

    I would rank Eisenhower over Kennedy. Maybe even Clinton.

  9. Bay of Pigs... Good point, I guess -- just another unapproved war.

  10. Good point.

    If we use the "Unapproved war" standard ... I think Ford, Carter, and Bush I qualify, off the top of my head. I'm not sure if the Korean War was approved under diress or not, much like Iraq war II.

    Anyway, between Ford, Carter, and Bush I ... I guess I would take the one with the shortest tenure. Ford is widely heralded for pardoning Nixon, allowing the nation to move on ... I guess he passes the Andrew Johnson/James Garfield test.