Article - American Revolution Bicentennial
American Revolution Bicentennial
The representatives of England's 13 North American colonies who signed the American Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 would certainly have utterly disbelieved anyone going so far as to prophesy that within 200 years such a frail young state would be destined to become the mightiest power in world history. And yet such doubts were well based.
Two million six hundred thousand settlers who broke the ties binding them to the British Crown were crowded together in a narrow strip of land along the eastern seaboard of the vast continent - an area inhabited by tribes of native Indians from which the three world powers of that time - England, Spain and France - had carved out chunks of territory for themselves.
The rebel colonists had neither an army nor the resources required to wage war. There was as yet no developed national consciousness nor even a firm spirit of unity. The sole guiding principle of the leaders of the American Revolution was the firm determination of the founding fathers to live as free men and bequeath to their children and grandchildren a new country in which every man would have the right - as stated in the Declaration of Independence - to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." And now, a mere 200 years later, nobody doubts that those values which inspired Washington, Franklin, Jefferson and their colleagues not only changed the face of the New World but influenced the history of Mankind as a whole.
Two hundred years after the convening of the "Second Continental Congress" in Philadelphia, the 50 States stretch from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Gulf of Mexico in the south, from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, while the Stars and Stripes flies proudly from America's skyscrapers - those giant edifices of concrete and steel symbolizing the strength of the most highly advanced civilization created by Man on the face of the globe.
In the spheres of wealth and power, the United States knows no competitor. She takes first place in industry, agriculture, science and technology, military power and natural resources. That small band of settlers who threw off the yoke of oppressive taxation put upon them by the English Crown were transformed into the nucleus of a country with the largest national budget in the world and which sees fit to devote a portion of its immense resources to the economic well-being of the rest of the world.
But the Americans, unlike other adventurous peoples who spread their influence far and wide across the globe, did not indulge in empire-building. The ideals embodied in the Declaration of Independence guided them and their leaders throughout their history. The United States which was founded as a community of freedom-loving citizens, never for a moment allowed itself to be deflected from that guiding vision. Those ideals of freedom of the individual, free enterprise, the rule of law, respect for human rights - all these formed an integral part of the aims of the American Revolution. They were no less important and essential than the political act of the Declaration of Independence itself.
Thanks to these values, the American people has become the strongest bastion of democracy in the world of today. The achievements of the American nation during its 200 years of freedom are a source of inspiration to all Mankind.
On the 200th birthday of our friends, the American people, Israel recalled the contribution made by over 5 million Jewish citizens to the flourishing American economy and the decisive contribution of the United States of America to the establishment, development and security of the State of Israel.
In issuing this stamp to commemorate the Bicentennial of the American Revolution, the Israel Post Office honors its powerful friend whose struggle for freedom, independence and security two centuries ago was not so very different from that of the young State of Israel in our own days.
The stamp is symbolic, depicting the number "200" with an American flag motif.