Independence Day


I see fireworks! I see the pageant and pomp and parade. I hear the bells ringing out. I hear the cannons roar. I see Americans – all Americans. Free forever more! ~ 1776 – The Musical


Ok, so that’s not actually what John Adams said, but it’s close. And, he was right, at least for the most part. He thought the day would be celebrated on the July 2nd, not the 4th. His actual words, written to his wife, Abigail, were:


I am apt to believe that it 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 shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward for evermore. ~ John Adams, July 3, 1776


This time of the year, there is always talk of how great this is this country. But all too often, the reason which compelled the separation is forgotten. The Declaration of Independence sets forth 27 indictments against the British crown, submitted these facts “to a candid world,” and appealed “to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of [their] intentions.” The document concludes with the pledge of the signers to support the Declaration with their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence. What was this groundbreaking Declaration?


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; and that, as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do.


Alexander Hamilton called this new nation an “empire in many respects the most interesting in the world.” But why did this empire come to be? How was the line crossed between suffering the evils which were sufferable to the situation where the founders were compelled “alter their former systems of government?” The answer is simple. Government had overstepped its authority.


The Ronald Reagan quote “government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem” is quite famous and repeatedly quoted by modern day conservatives. The sentiment was not new however. The Thomas Paine, in his great call to arms stating the need for separation from England wrote:


Society in every state is a blessing, but Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one: for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries BY A GOVERNMENT, which we might expect in a country WITHOUT GOVERNMENT, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer.


This pamphlet was called Common Sense. Several years later, during the darkest days of the War for Independence, Paine again wrote to his fellow countrymen to reassure them their cause was just, and necessary.


THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated. Britain, with an army to enforce her tyranny, has declared that she has a right (not only to TAX) but “to BIND us in ALL CASES WHATSOEVER,” and if being bound in that manner, is not slavery, then is there not such a thing as slavery upon earth. Even the expression is impious; for so unlimited a power can belong only to God.


There it is. John F. Kennedy summarized it in his inaugural address. He called it “the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.” The state cannot declare itself to have the authority that is reserved to God. That is the “wall of separation” Thomas Jefferson wrote about as well.


We have come a long way since those days. But, as John F. Kennedy also said:


We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans–born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage–and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this Nation has always been committed,

and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.



Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.


This much we pledge–and more.



To those old allies whose cultural and spiritual origins we share, we pledge the loyalty of faithful friends. United, there is little we cannot do in a host of cooperative ventures. Divided, there is little we can do–for we dare not meet a powerful challenge at odds and split asunder.
To those new States whom we welcome to the ranks of the free, we pledge our word that one form of colonial control shall not have passed away merely to be replaced by a far more iron tyranny. We shall not always expect to find them supporting our view. But we shall always hope to find them strongly supporting their own freedom–and to remember that, in the past, those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside.
To those peoples in the huts and villages across the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery, we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves, for whatever period is required–not because the Communists may be doing it, not because we seek their votes, but because it is right. If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.


I wish each person that reads this a blessed and happy Independence Day. Remember that you are the heirs to that first revolution and the torch of liberty rests with you. Carrying the torch of liberty is not an easy task, but the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. Now, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” (Yeah, natural rights theory…)

[youtube] References:

“Is Anybody There?.” Lyrics on Demand. Available from Internet; accessed 4 July 2010.

“Independence Day.” Available from Internet; accessed 4 July 2010.

“Declaration of Independence.” Avalon Project – Yale University. Available from Internet; accessed 4 July 2010.
Hamilton, Alexander. “Federalist 1.” Avalon Project – Yale University. Available from Internet; accessed 4 July 2010.

“Declaration of Independence.” Avalon Project – Yale University. Available from Internet; accessed 4 July 2010.

“First Inaugural Address of Ronald Reagan.” Avalon Project – Yale University. Available from Internet; accessed 4 July 2010.

Paine, Thomas. “Common Sense.” Available from Internet; accessed 4 July 2010.

Paine, Thomas. “The American Crisis.” Available from Internet; accessed 4 July 2010.

“Inaugural Address of John F. Kennedy.” Avalon Project – Yale University. Available from Internet; accessed 4 July 2010.

Jefferson, Thomas. “Letter to Danbury Baptist Association.” The Founder’s Constitution. Available from Internet; accessed 4 July

Galatians 5:1

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