The Birth of America: Part I

by Barry Lynes

"… July 4, 1776 marks the birth of America. Why? The Declaration of Independence not only gives the reasons for separation and the shift from colonies of Britain to independent states. The Declaration--and particularly the great second paragraph--establishes principles which altered the political direction of history."

[Editor's Note: This is Part I of a multi-part series on The Birth of America. Future Parts will appear in the Leo/Virgo '96 and Libra/Scorpio '96 editions of Welcome to Planet Earth.]


America was born on July 4, 1776. That was the day the Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress. That was the event that gave birth to a birthmap which has continued to "time" major events in America's unfolding, changing life. That birthmap also describes and explains in a startling, conclusive way the psyche of the American nation.

Unfortunately, too few Americans living today have the slightest awareness of how America's July 4, 1776 birthmap could (no guarantee!) enable them as a people to discover, understand and develop in new ways their nation's inherent greatness and enlightened, truly democratic republic as a diverse 21st century global civilization emerges. This could be done through electing a more "in touch" and representative government--one dedicated to transforming the corrupt weeds that have endangered the land of liberty and promise. A grass roots, cross-cultural, multi-racial resurgence of the American Spirit and living of the nation's core principles could emerge from a widespread instruction explaining the American birthmap's significance and living power. That remains a future task--in God's time once "monkish ignorance" (Jefferson's words) is rejected (again) for science and truth.

For now, it is simply, but urgently important, to demonstrate the reasons why only the July 4, 1776 birthmap works and perhaps to share with some open-minded readers, including those who belong to the future, a brief overview of especially relevant facts. These facts can lead into various directions in the years ahead. They are only a starting point for a new kind of political astrology, scientific astrology, historical research, and--hopefully--accelerated, real national (cultural) and governmental evolution.

History and Meaning

Here are the facts. The Continental Congress voted for a resolution of independence on July 2, 1776. They spent the rest of July 2, July 3 and most of July 4 discussing, editing and improving (line by line!) Jefferson's Declaration of Independence. In the late afternoon or "evening" of July 4, they passed the Declaration and sent what is known as the "lost broadside" copy to John Dunlap's printing shop where what is known as the "printed broadside" copy or official text was printed overnight (probably between 10 PM July 4 and 2 AM July 5). This version was read in public for the first time on July 8, 1776 ("the bells rang all day and almost all night" --John Adams). On August 2, the official parchment engrossed version of the Declaration of Independence was signed. Several of the final 56 signers added their names later to this, the "parchment" copy.

But July 4, 1776 marks the birth of America. Why?

The Declaration of Independence not only gives the reasons for separation and the shift from colonies of Britain to independent states. The Declaration--and particularly the great second paragraph--establishes principles which altered the political direction of history. That is why the events of July 4, 1776 and above all else the first reading of the official, final text (as stated for the historical record in the Journal of Congress for 1776) followed by the 12 states' unanimous agreement was and is so important. (The New York delegation had not received instructions and did not vote.) Whether the "lost broadside" copy was signed is still debated.

The vote for separation from Britain on July 2, 1776 or the actual signing of the Declaration on August 2, 1776 cannot compare in significance to the energy which erupted from the act of "birthing" the Declaration with the first reading in Congress of the final official version. The reading did not merely birth a nation. It birthed a new world which today is still in the process of becoming.

"The Declaration of Independence was more than a fateful political resolution; it embodied a timeless philosophy and an undying faith."1

"Thus we see that it was the Declaration itself--its substance and form--that was determined on the 4th."2

Jefferson: "… the choice we made. May it be to the world, what I believe it will be … the signal of arousing men to burst the chains under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings and security of self-government. The form which we have substituted, restores the free right to the unbounded exercise of reason and freedom of opinion."3

"The Declaration of Independence as it came from Congress was more than the first public document of the new United States."4

"The declaration marked not only an end but a beginning. In Europe, even within Britain itself, advocates of political reform hailed it as the herald of a new political age, in which men everywhere would throw off the fetters of tyranny and arbitrary rule for liberty and self-government."5

"The framers of the Declaration … needed … a theory of government that provided a place for rebellion, that made it respectable, and even meritorious under certain circumstances.… Jefferson therefore proceeded to formulate a general political philosophy--a philosophy upon which the case of the colonies could solidly rest. This philosophy, which affirms the right of a people to establish and to overturn its own government is formulated in the first part of the second paragraph of the Declaration.… The second paragraph of the Declaration reminds one of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address in its unimpassioned simplicity of statement. It glitters as much, or as little, as that famous document."6

"The Declaration …was a truly explosive combination of skillful propaganda and trenchant political reasoning. It was a ringing assertion of the right to revolt, carefully erected upon the principle that government ultimately rests upon the consent of the governed.… The Declaration set a new standard for a free society.… As Lincoln later said of the founding fathers, 'They meant to set up a standard maxim for a free society, which could be … constantly looked to, constantly labored for, and even though never perfectly attained, constantly approximated, and thereby constantly spreading and deepening its influence and augmenting the happiness and value of life to all people of all colors everywhere.' Of all our nobly phrased historic documents, the Declaration has become the most cherished expression of the American dream."7

But What Was The Time?

It is easy to show--using astrology--that America had to be born on July 4, 1776 and not July 2, 1776, nor August 2, 1776, and certainly not Solte's terribly argued November 15, 1777. Any reasonable, honest, impartial and scientific person who examined the obvious, simple evidence would come to that conclusion. For example, transiting Saturn's exact-to-the-minute alignment with America's birthmap Sun (13 degrees 18 minutes of the sign Cancer) in August 1974 timed President Richard Nixon's resignation. Then, in late April 1975, exactly as Saturn repeated this rare, 29-30 year alignment, South Vietnam's president resigned, with America retreating from its first lost war in the days that followed. Precise, incontrovertible, not-easily-explained-away (and intellectually dishonest to ignore) verifications of a cosmic-human link in great historic turning points exist and are ridiculously, effortlessly easy to find for an open-minded person who wants to make his or her own decision on this rather significant national matter. Numerous examples could be provided, but that has been done elsewhere. A mere summary and selection will be provided here in order to emphasize the real, scientific, won't-go-away truth that astrology is as serious a subject for qualified minds as physics or law or engineering, or numerous other "respectable" areas of learning and professional expertise/responsibility.

So why do astrologers disagree about America's birthmap and the all-critical time from which it is derived? A lot of the confusion and the various "possible" birthmaps result from nothing more than egotistic grandstanding and/or poor research. Let's examine some more facts, some more evidence, and most important, some more history. From highly qualified experts in the field. Some light will emerge, guaranteed.

One of the most misleading historical claims regarding the approval of the Declaration of Independence is "the 2 P.M. signing." Marc Penfield uses it in his work, Horoscopes of the Western Hemisphere. Penfield quotes Herbert S. Allen's book, John Hancock: Patriot in Purple, as follows: "At last, about two o'clock in the afternoon of the 4th, the great white paper was reported out of committee to the House with a recommendation for approval, and was immediately ratified."8

Penfield then supports this amazingly firm time with the claim that Herbert S. Allen relied heavily "on the diary of Hancock."

John Hancock, president of the Congress and noted for the large signature, "ought to know" is the underlying premise of Allen's precise time and Penfield's emphasis on "Hancock's diary."

This is indeed a powerful historical record and one which, if true, would make any competing time very difficult to support. There is only one small problem. It isn't true. The Declaration of Independence wasn't approved "about two o'clock" and there is no "John Hancock diary" with such a clear record. It's all undocumented hokum. Here are the facts.

Herbert Allen wrote a biography of John Hancock's entire life and consulted many original sources while doing the research. Books, diaries, memoirs, government papers, etc. The bibliography at the end of Allen's book clearly reveals there was no "John Hancock diary." Allen's 2 PM time also is (1) not in quotes; and (2) there is no source listed for the 2 PM assertion. Penfield has been flagrantly careless in making his claim and undoubtedly misled countless younger astrologers (and other curious, open-minded people) who assume Penfield's "discovery" had authority.

No serious historian has ever heard of Hancock's diary or a written record of a 2 PM approval for the Declaration of Independence. It would be an astonishing newsworthy event. But it is just pure nonsense.

What happened is that Herbert Allen sloppily used the "about 2 PM" time, not realizing its astrological importance. He was concentrating on the life of Hancock, not the birth of America.

So what was Allen's source? Historians easily pinpoint that "invented" fact--a 19th century historian named Benson Lossing. Lossing's 1847 book titled Seventeen Hundred Seventy Six or The War of Independence contains no reference to any time for the unanimous Congressional approval of the Declaration.9

However, by 1859, Lossing had begun to enjoy being "an authority" and his flowery writing began "embellishing" the truth a wee bit. In that year Lossing published The Pictorial Field Book of the Revolution. In volume two, the great concoction of a 2 PM birthtime enters American history: "It was 2 o'clock in the afternoon when the final decision was announced by Secretary Thomson to the assembled Congress in Independence Hall. It was a moment of solemn interest; and when the secretary sat down, a deep silence pervaded that august assembly … the old bellman had been in the steeple.… Suddenly a loud shout came up from below.… Ring! ring!"10

The stench of Lossing's pontifical rhetoric and pure invention (the Liberty Bell ringing) should be apparent. Lossing had no source for any of the above. He was dramatizing. What he was portraying as history was fiction.

Fortunately--very fortunately--a great, dedicated historian gently chided Lossing and corrected him for the sake of generations to follow. That historian's name was John Hazelton and his 1906 book The Declaration of Independence: Its History remains a living classic.

Gary Wills' fascinating work on America as an idea, titled Inventing America: Jefferson's Declaration of Independence, contains the following plaudit: "There have … been only three important books on the document written in this century--John Hazelton's in 1906, settling the outstanding historical problems of the paper's passage and signing; Carl Becker's in 1922, enshrining the Lockean interpretation of its content; and Julian Boyd's first volume of the Jefferson Papers in 1950, establishing the text with magisterial thoroughness. Other books have done little but recast, popularize, or misquote these seminal works in three different fields connected with the Declaration.… Hazelton's trailblazing historical work is over seventy years old, but its main points stand."11

Here is Hazelton's condemnation of Lossing's "two o'clock" nonsense: "'It was two o'clock in the afternoon,' says Lossing (though upon what authority he does not state, and, we think, with little, if any warrant)…" Hazelton instead honors the memory of Thomas Jefferson, who was there in 1776, not "creating" in 1859! Hazelton: "Jefferson's notes, as we have seen, say 'the debates … were, in the evening of the last (the 4th), closed.…'"12

Modern historian Thomas Fleming provides the final dismissal of Lossing's exuberant nonsense: "Contrary to popular versions of the nation's birthday … no bells rang.…"13

If It "Ain't" 2 PM, Then? 4 to 6 PM!

In a brilliant article which appeared in the Spring 1994 NCGR Journal, Susan Manuel exposed the flaws in the famous 1787 Ebenezer Sibly's American Independence birthmap. She showed how the British astrologer probably constructed his birthmap not based on any 5:10 PM Philadelphia time (which was a common assumption of modern day astrologers), but rather Sibly's own convoluted reasoning involving the angles of the summer solstice for London in 1776. Ms. Manuel thus concluded that current "possible" birthmaps derived from Sibly's historically mysterious 5:10 PM birthtime had no historical basis!

And she was absolutely right. But she didn't stop there. She explained why Jefferson's notes made sense and how the current historian at Independence Hall in Philadelphia supported her assessment that Jefferson's famous statement regarding the Declaration's birth should be respected. The historian's best guess for the time of the Declaration's approval? "Mr. Deutcher estimates that the Declaration was adopted about 4 PM on July 4, but this remains an estimate … it was not uncommon for sessions to run past 6 PM."14

The eminent historian John Hazelton described how the debate on July 1, 1776 lasted 9 hours and then began anew at 9 AM on July 2. So the 9 AM to 6 PM "range" is what the delegates were prepared to endure as these intense, difficult, history-making days started the world onto a new political course.

Susan Manuel also recovered and shared the intriguing fact that "dinner" in the world of 1776 America was usually between 1 PM and 2 PM, with "supper" being a cold meal just before retiring. And that means Jefferson's notes stating clearly that the approval for the Declaration came in the "evening" again look like the gold marker as a starting point for serious scholarly work. There would be no "dinner" break between 4 PM and 6 PM, as in today's world.

What should be obvious from these "hard facts and historical realities" (Solte, Mountain Astrologer, Nov. 1993) is that once an astrologer enters into the "zone" between 4 PM and 6 PM on July 4, 1776, there are no other historical markers. In a sense, Pandora's box is open and any astrologer can devise a new, superficial American birthmap based on a few flimsy historical correspondences and various convoluted (and mixed) astrological systems, especially if wide orbs are used. At least that's the way it may initially appear. Fortunately, there are current and will be future "astrological Hazeltons" who will keep reliable standards foremost.

So, Susan Manuel--standing with John Hazelton and others in the light of truth and "the evidence of history" (Manuel)--ends her outstanding article with a challenge. Astrologers, she makes clear, must use their hard-earned skills to establish the time of America's birth. There's no historical record to help them once they pass into the 4 PM to 6 PM zone.

So be it. Let those of us who love astrology and especially the truth and beauty of the July 4, 1776 American birthmap insist on standards of proof and the evidence of enduringly obvious and significant past and future "correspondences." Let us also be very aware that the great historical mystery of America's birthtime can be solved by astrological research or confirmed by astrological science, with the solution being derived from a different, non-astrological technique or science.

The birthtime will be ascertained or "retrieved." That is certain. And at a minimum, astrology can confirm the time because astrology--when the birthtime is correct--identifies with awesome precision exact future turning points and the characteristics or "qualities" of critical future dates and events.

Therefore, let the still young profession of astrology embark on its new national role--educating a nation to some of its choices instead of a blind destiny.

The astrologers of today are truly involved in something as revolutionary as the Continental Congress of 1776. As a growing, civilizing movement. With different skills combining to establish a new, profound knowledge in human affairs. One that is crucial for the next evolutionary phase.

So, as one of the greatest astrologers of the 20th century--Lionel Day--boldly asserted: "The more you learn of this, the more dangerous, the more powerful this knowledge becomes.… It's dangerous knowledge, but it can be knowledge so powerful you change the world, and this is what I hope you will do with it.… You are the wise people--the magi of tomorrow."

Copyright 1996 by Barry L. Lynes.

All rights reserved.


1. Dumas Malone, The Story of the Declaration of Independence (Oxford University Press, 1954), 4.

2. John Hazelton, The Declaration of Independence: Its History (Dodd, Mead & Co., 1906, reprinted New York: Da Copa Press, 1970), 171.

3. Thomas Jefferson's last letter, June 24, 1826. He died July 4, 1826, as did John Adams (!), both on the 50th anniversary of the Declaration's arrival into the human consciousness. See The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Julian Boyd (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press).

4. David Hawke, A Transaction of Free Men: The Birth and Course of the Declaration of Independence (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1964), 204.

5. Jack P. Greene, "Declaration of Independence," Encyclopedia Americana, Vol. 8 (1994), 589.

6. Carl Becker, The Declaration of Independence (Alfred A. Knopf, 1964), 7, 8, 202.

7. Richard B. Morris, The Making of a Nation (Time Inc., 1963), 36.

8. Herbert Allen, John Hancock: Patriot in Purple (Macmillan, 1948), 228.

9. Benson Lossing, Seventeen Hundred and Seventy Six or The War of Independence (1847, reprinted Detroit: Singing Tree Press).

10. Benson Lossing, Pictorial Field Book of the Revolution Vol. II (Harper, 1859-1860, reprinted 1976, New Rochelle, N.Y.: Caratzas Brothers), 78.

11. Garry Wills, Inventing America: Jefferson's Declaration of Independence (1978), xxiv, xxvi.

12. John Hazelton, The Declaration of Independence: Its History (Dodd, Mead & Co., 1906, reprinted 1970, New York: Da Copa Press), 180, 485. Or see The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Vol. I, ed. Julian Boyd (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1950), 315.

13. Thomas Fleming, 1776: Year of Illusions (1975), 277-278.

14. Susan Manuel, "Making Sense of Sibly," The NCGR Journal, Spring Issue, 1994, p. 39.

[If there is an important reason to contact Barry Lynes, please send him your correspondence with a self-addressed, stamped envelope. The address is: Barry Lynes, P.O. Box 4186, Laguna Beach, CA 92652.]

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