Independence Day 2017
On this, our nation's 241st Celebration of Independence, we should do more than contemplate the words of our nation's Founders.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government… And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of DIVINE PROVIDENCE, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.” —Declaration of Independence, July 4th, 1776
In 1774, Thomas Jefferson, the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, wrote, “God who gave us life gave us Liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever.” Indeed, the notion that “liberties are the gift of God” is the foundation upon which our nation was founded.
In 1776, after the signing of the Declaration, John Adams wrote to his wife, Abigail: “I am apt to believe that [the signing of the Declaration] will be celebrated, by succeeding generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shews, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this time forward forever more. You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.”
In 1818, Adams reflected: “But what do we mean by the American Revolution? Do we mean the American war? The Revolution was effected before the war commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people; a change in their religious sentiments, of their duties and obligations. … This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people was the real American Revolution.”
Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both died on July 4th, 1826 — the 50th anniversary of the Declaration signing. Adams last words were, “Thank God, Jefferson lives!” But Jefferson had died five hours earlier.
The Spirit of Liberty they framed in our Declaration of Independence remains “in the minds and hearts” of all American Patriots to this day.
On this, our nation’s 241st Celebration of Independence, we should do more than contemplate the words of our nation’s Founders. We should rise every day prepared to support and defend them. I invite you to read our primer on the Endowed Rights of Man, and a concise Civics Lesson on the risk to that endowment. For further reading, see our Essential Liberty essays.
Join us in daily prayer for our Patriots in uniform — Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen — and all who stand in harm’s way in defense of Liberty. Pray also for their families.
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