On July 4, 1776, the 13 colonies claimed their independence from England with the signing of the Declaration of Independence , an event which eventually led to the formation of the United States. Each year on the Fourth of July, also known as Independence Day, Americans celebrate this historic event. The Revolutionary War had been in process since April 18, 1775 with the Battle of Lexington and Concord. The Continental Congress began consideration of the resolution in Philadelphia in June 1772 when Richard Henry Lee of Virginia presented a resolution: “That 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.” A Committee of Five with John Adams of Massachusetts; Roger Sherman of Connecticut; Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania; Robert R. Livingston of New York; and Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, was appointed to draft a statement presenting to the world the colonies’ case for independence.

While it took through August for all representatives to sign the Declaration of Independence, July 4 is the national holiday. We all have heard the story of how John Hancock, President of the Continental Congress, signed the Declaration of Independence with a great flourish so England’s “King George can read that without spectacles!”

The July 4 holiday celebrates freedom, defined as the power or condition of acting without compulsion. LIBERTY suggests release from former restraint or compulsion. the released prisoner had difficulty adjusting to his new liberty LICENSE implies freedom specially granted or conceded and may connote an abuse of freedom. Freedom requires taking responsibility for one’s actions and priorities and to also police one’s own behavior.

As the song goes, “freedom isn’t free.” The connotations range from thanking those in the military who fought and perhaps gave their lives for our freedom to a sense of responsibility when we are autonomous, for example, as young adults gaining responsibility or in our employees are inspired by a sense of independence and autonomy, backed by support and appreciation from their leader. Employee motivation declines with perceived micromanagement. When given power and freedom, employees will be dedicated.

Lastly, let us leave you with what some others have to say about freedom.

“Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.” – George Bernard Shaw

“My God! How little do my countrymen know what precious blessings they are in possession of, and which no other people on earth enjoy!” – Thomas Jefferson

Have a wonderful Fourth of July and stand tall as a proud American.