We’ve been massively ripped off by the public school system. And nowhere is this more apparent than with U.S. history. We’re presented with history-lite, a watered down, cartoon version of important events and people that neglect key moments and ideas.

School boards opt for convenience over fact to fit whatever narrative they want to portray. Even when certain things actually get covered, they’re distorted beyond any sensible reason. To fully understand the significance of Independence Day and the philosophy that caused it, we need to shake off the educational bunk we’ve been fed since the early days of childhood. Below you’ll find four interesting items your history teacher assuredly glossed over.

4) Other States Had Already Declared Independence

Some States were really ahead of the game. Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Virginia had all declared their independence from Great Britain long before Thomas Jefferson penned his most famous work. Months before the Continental Congress would convene in Philadelphia, Virginia, arguably the most politically influential State at that time, had proclaimed its independence on May 15, 1776. By the time the fourth rolled around, they had already refuted the King’s rule, elected a new governor in Patrick Henry, and adopted a new Republican constitution.

3) American Independence Was Actually Declared on July 2nd

John Adams once remarked that “the second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”

The day Adams was referring to was the day the Continental Congress actually voted for independence via the Lee Resolution, on July 2nd. Two days later, the Declaration itself was adopted which provided an explanation for the previous vote.

Virginia, having already declared their independence, directed their representative in Philadelphia, Richard Henry Lee, to push for an independence resolution for the rest of the colonies. The resolution passed with twelve for, none against, and one abstention.

2) The American States Seceded from Great Britain

Secession is definitely one of those things we’re not supposed to talk about in modern America. Simply uttering the word will trigger most statists into a frenzy like you wouldn’t believe.

It’s an ideal that’s become synonymous for being un-American despite the fact that secession is what created America in the first place.

The founders, in declaring independence, were removing themselves and their colonies-turned-States from a political union with Great Britain. They seceded. But of course no one likes to frame it that way because it disputes the narrative that secession anti-American.

We’re supposed to accept the cartoon version of history that the Civil War proved secession is bad and leave it at that. I think Washington and Jefferson would beg to differ.

1) The States Were (And Still Are) Sovereign Nations

I’m sorry to tell you but your middle school history teacher, Mr. Stiddlemeyer, was wrong. The U.S. is not some indivisible unitary blob with Washington, D.C. at the top and the States at the bottom.

Prior to the Civil War, Americans commonly referred to the US in the plural as “these United States” rather than the singular. This emphasized the fact that the union was comprised of separate political bodies aligned under a mutually agreed upon alliance.

When the founders spoke of “states”, they meant so in the way that Germany or France are considered states. The Declaration itself expresses as much.

“these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved; and that, as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do.”

Throughout the entirety of the Declaration, Jefferson refers to the States in the plural sense rather than as some centralized and solitary unit. They were clearly separate entities, each with their own unique culture, governments, religions, etc., united only in their secession from Great Britain.

When King George III finally recognized American independence, he did so by naming each State individually in the Treaty of Paris (1783). Clearly, that would’ve been quite unnecessary if there now existed one unitary United States of America.

Over time, this sovereignty has diminished by the hands of an ever intrusive government in D.C. But the true nature of the Union hasn’t changed. The States, through their people, are still sovereign. They are still parties to the compact and they, not the federal government, are the final arbiters of that agreement.

For more thoughts on liberty, check out my blog at Libertyonthemind.com!