America’s anthem is the inspiration for freedom everywhere and has become freedom’s anthem heard around the world. Whenever you hear news of people fighting for democracy, pause and give thanks for the Declaration of Independence. (Read more...)
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Lindsay's fine article on the 4th of July right below mine points out the need to emphasize that the term "democracy" has become a generic term used to advance the concept of representative government. I use it in that way in this article. However, a democracy, purely defined, means 51% of the people get to decide everything, even at the expense of the individual. The Declaration of Independence is a document that advocates a republic. It states that governments are established to protect the individual rights of man. I presume everyone on this site knows that, but you would be amazed at how many people in the world don't.
It'll be Guinness for me! Happy Independence day to everyone, everywhere. The fireworks have been going off in my neighborhood for days already. Tonight should be something.
When they first started going off I thought "God, it's not the 4th yet. Those kids probably don't even know what the Declaration of Independence is anyway. Then I realized, they're ACTING independently. That's our true heritage, that's what will save us from the statists. Lots of kids with the habit of being able to do what they want without some asshole telling them they can't do it. So I just cheer the BOOMS across the street rattling my windows. I think I recognize a little gunfire mixed in, but that's ok too as long as they're not shooting at anybody. I remember when I was a kid in Ohio perfectly respectable men would go outside with their shotgun and let 'er rip on the fourth.
A wonderful article, James. I always get a thrill out of words like yours:
The Declaration has two fathers; Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. Its face and spirit are Jefferson, and its backbone is Adams. The words of individual rights and freedom became reality through an heroic struggle led by America’s father and her only indispensable man, George Washington.
I would like to add one other item to the account of George Washington's greatness and indispensability to freedom and democracy. He stepped down after eight years of being President. He easily could have had himself crowned king had he so wished at the time. I imaging he grew to love power (most rulers do), but he loved freedom more - enough to give up the power when the rules said so, thereby setting a radiant non-ignorable example for all who followed to live up to. He helped set the standard, then showed the world how it was to work with his own life. That takes a truly great man.
I recently found the minutes of the Constitutional Convention, and was quite impressed. Especially with the way Washington dealt with the attempt to put him in charge. If we could just get men like that into office today.
David- At the writing of the Constitution, Washington had little to say, yet he was the towering figure who made its adoption possible. He sat in a chair with a carved sun in its back, and sat there silently as men argued before him; when they were having difficulty coming to agreement that they knew they HAD to find a way in order not to disappoint Washington. I don't know of any political figure who had the character or stature of this man.
James Kilbourne wrote: "The Declaration has two fathers: Thomas Jefferson and John Adams."
I would like to add to this the name of George Mason, principal author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights, which was adopted mere days before Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, and the first two sections of which were heavily influential in Jefferson's writing of the DOI. Here are Mason's words:
"Section 1. That all men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety. Section 2. That all power is vested in, and consequently derived from, the people; that magistrates are their trustees and servants, and at all times amenable to them."
"Backbone!" I like that! There's not much of it to be found in politicians today, let alone people in general.
It takes alot of backbone to bring revolt to the feet of an insane king. It takes alot of backbone to risk everything that you have and know, for liberty and independence. It takes alot of backbone to stand in front of muskets wielded by the most powerful army in the world, in battle and firing squad. It takes alot backbone to stand up to the only culture you have ever known and say "No More!"
It takes alot of backbone to stand up and shout "Give me liberty or give me Death!"
...and mean it.
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