4,435. It is estimated that roughly 4,435 American deaths occurred in combat during the Revolutionary War (America’s Wars 2013). This figure does not include the thousands that also would have died from disease, malnutrition, etc. This figure, likewise, does not include the deaths from the British. How could these deaths possibly be justified? For a group of colonies that prided themselves in their Christian heritage, this destruction perhaps may seem ironic. After all, the famous words of 1 John 4:16 proclaim that, “God is love” (1 John 4:16 English Standard Version). In light of these words, then, how was the Declaration of Independence in any way a legitimate Christian response? To get to the bottom of this, a few areas will need to be analyzed. First, key Biblical passages, second, the atrocities of Britain, and third, the spiritual basis for the founders’ actions. After the evidence has been analyzed, it will be clear the Declaration of Independence was legitimate on Christian grounds.
With such Biblically solid colonies, and a nation who believed its crown to have Divine Right by the Christian God Himself, where did everything go wrong? In a relatively short amount of time, a seemingly unbreakable relationship goes awry. The Challenge of Democracy lays out a picture which can help this to be understood;
By 1763, Britain and the colonies had reached a compromise between imperial control and colonial self-government. America’s foreign affairs and overseas trade were controlled by the king and Parliament, the British legislature; the rest was left to colonial rule. But the cost of administering the colonies was substantial… The British believed that taxing the colonies was the obvious way to meet the costs of administering the colonies. The colonists did not agree (Janda, Berry, and Goldman 2011, 61-62).
From there, the Crown began to impose a series of taxes which are widely known today as the Stamp Act and the Sugar Act. Two years later at New York in October, 1765, the colonies came together to produce “The Declaration of Rights of the Stamp Act Congress.” In this declaration, they listed their grievances, and number three was “That it is inseparably essential to the freedom of a people, and the undoubted rights of Englishmen, that no taxes should be imposed on them, but with their own consent, given personally, or by their representatives” (Journal of the First Congress 1765). After more conflict, the British Crown proceeded to induce even more taxes on the colonies. Again, in 1774, with the “Declaration and Resolves of the First Continental Congress,” taxes were again brought up in the 4th resolved declaration. This time, they again assert that the British Crown has no business taxing those who cannot represent themselves (Declaration and Resolves 1774). Clearly, the colonists simply wanted representation in Parliament and the motherland simply refused to grant them that right.
Things also became worse when “Parliament in 1774 passed...