Yesterday, July 4, 2008, a congratulatory birthday message appeared on the website, Daily Paul - Dedicated to restoring Constitutional government to the United States of America. The message was posted by "Shishio" with the title, Happy Birthday United States! I suggest that the title should be punctuated with a question mark, because the "United States" did not take shape on that day. It still took another ten years before a sufficient number of prominently known delegates were able to convene a Constitutional Convention for the purpose of converting a little "u" into a capital "U" that would form the United States of America.
July 4th, 1776 is the commemorative date for the Declaration of Independence. The document starts off with "The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, when in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, ... , a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation." Please note there were "thirteen" States who then put the world on notice that they were declaring their independence from Great Britain. This is a fact of history that very few of our current generation care to acknowledge. We really should be conscious that the "Spirit of 76" in its essence never dreamed of the concept wherein thirteen disparate states could come together to establish one nation. There was one notable exception. His name was George Washington. Here's part of the story as it is told by Joseph J. Ellis in his book, American Creation (pgs 88-89):
Given the subsequent history of the United States [following the end of the war with Great Britain], which confirmed Washington's imperial vision by consolidating its power on the continent in the course of the nineteenth century, then emerged in the twentieth century as the dominant economic and military power in the world, it is essential [my italics] to remember that the term "united States" began as a plural rather than a singular noun, ... .I recommend reading Ellis's book to see what happens next. It's a story of how in a world of rapidly shifting loyalties a little "u" grew up to a capital "U," and how a Revolutionary War-era, filled with a mixed set of religious tests and loyalty oaths, yielded to a plane spoken oath that was signed into law by George Washington on June 1, 1789. It simply reads: "I, A. B. do solemnly swear or affirm (as the case may be) that I will support the Constitution of the United States."
If Washington was right, the burgeoning American empire required a fully empowered central government to manage its inevitable expansion across the continent. But such a national government contradicted the most cherished political values the American Revolution claimed to stand for. From Washington's perspective the Confederation Congress appeared "little more than an empty sound" or "a Nugatory body" destined to sink into contempt in the eyes of Europe." From the perspective of the vast majority of American citizens, however, the inherent weakness of the Articles of Confederation was a shining example of republican principles, since a strong central government replicated the distant and despotic political power against which they had recently rebelled.
The gap between these two political camps was an unbridgeable chasm separated by a fundamental difference over the true meaning of the American Revolution. ... .
How that chasm was bridged, how a dedicated minority of nationalists managed to redefine "the spirit of '76," which then became "the spirit of '87," is the story we try to tell here. ... .