July 4, 1863 4

Declaration of Independence

Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4, 1776. This was one of the most important days in the history of the United States. On this date the British colonies came together in North America to declare their separation from Britain, and to form their own country. Brave men signed the Declaration pledging their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor to that union.

Four score and seven years later, the nation would experience July 4, 1863 as another important date in the history of the nation. This is the day that few people associate with the Civil War, the most vulnerable time in history for our country.

In 1863 there were two separate theaters of the Civil War being contested. In the western theater General Ulysses S Grant was occupied with trying to take the veritable fortress of Vicksburg, Mississippi. This seemingly  backwater town on the Mississippi River held the key to the control of the lower Mississippi River, and thus the ability of the Confederate government to supply its armies and populations with many foodstuffs.

In the eastern theater confederate General Robert E Lee was racing up through Maryland and Pennsylvania, terrifying the Union countryside and President Abraham Lincoln himself. This was the first incursion of a large Confederate army into the northern states. General Lee was coming off a successful year of defeating Union armies, the last battle of which had been Chancellorsville. If Lee could successfully defeat the Union army chasing him, he could possibly achieve a negotiated settlement to the war.

The western theater conflict was at Vicksburg, and in the eastern theater, the Confederate army stumbled on the Union army under Meade at Gettysburg, PA. The fight at Vicksburg had been going on for months, and the fight at Gettysburg lasted for three days. Both conflicts ended in important defeats for the Confederates.

On July 4, 1863 General Robert E Lee left the Gettysburg battlefield in defeat. This was his first major defeat, and history judges that the Confederacy reached its high water mark at that losing battle.

On July 4, 1863 General Pemberton surrendered his Confederate army at The Siege of Vicksburg to General Ulysses S Grant.

With these two momentous Union victories, the end of the Confederacy was made certain. It took two more years before General Lee surrendered to General Grant at Appomattox.

July 4 marks the beginnings of our country, and the salvation of our country.

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The Right To Do Business 10

If you run a bakery should you have to do business with everybody? If you are in any kind of business should you be forced to do business with everybody in spite of your reasons for refusing that business?

This seems to be the basic issue with the recent gay marriage couple suing a bakery for refusing to furnish a wedding cake to their recently legalized union. The bakery in Lakewood, Colorado was determined to have unlawfully refused to do business with the gay couple.

What a mess!

First of all, I would like to temporarily remove the notions of race, gender, or sexual orientation from the basic issue. The issue is fundamental to our rights in this country. One of our coveted rights is our ability to buy whatever we want from any merchant we choose. Once again, this is fundamental.

For the same reason, don’t you think there is a similar freedom for merchants to be able to choose those to whom they will market their goods?

Discrimination, you say? Of course it is discrimination. Having the latitude to discriminate about your decisions encompasses the whole definition of freedom, and therefore is the basis of our Constitution.

So, here we go. Why should not the bakery not be able to choose the people with whom they do business? Certainly, their proposed gay customers had the choice of dozens of bakeries to do their wedding cake. Why is one side of the transaction process handcuffed by  law, and the other not have similar restrictions?

My answer is that the bakery had to have a local business license to do business with the general public. That’s the rub right there. A license to do business with the general public necessitates the condition that you must do business with the whole of that public, and you cannot discriminate in which customers to serve.

The basic question is this. If you are in a business that sells to the general public should you be forced into doing business with that entire public?  Is the notion of “No Shirt – No Shoes – No Service” a constitutionally legal position? The ideas are related.

Why do we not have the right to discriminate among those with whom we do business? What do you think?