Friday is Independence Day, a celebration of the day America’s great founding document was signed. We will mark the day with picnics, music, speeches and fireworks — lots of fireworks.
But from the distance of nearly 240 years, many people forget that the Declaration of Independence was signed far closer to the beginning of the American Revolution than its end. It was, in fact, like Julius Caesar crossing the Rubicon. There was no guarantee of success, and there could be no turning back.
A century and a half ago and less than 100 years after the Declaration was signed, America was engaged in a Civil War. And in 1864, there was no guarantee of success for the Northern states and the cause of union.