Independence Day

Ah, the Fourth of July!  A time for picnics, hot dogs on the grill, beer and fireworks.  A time for celebration!

So I ask you, does England have a Fourth of July?

Of course they do, they just don’t celebrate it the way we do.

Oh Sherm?  Would you fire up the way-back machine?

On July 4 1776 the members of the Second Continental Congress adopted the final draft of Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence.  The revolution was on!  England wouldn’t find out about it until mid-August.

fireworks Fourth of July
Is this what the Fourth of July means to you?

The Declaration of Independence was a new and novel document.  While it had roots in the Magna Carter (1215), Jefferson was influenced by the English philosopher John Locke.  Locke felt that people had natural or God-given rights and that people formed governments to protect those rights.  Surely the converse is true?

“Now the right of revolution is an inherent one.  When people are oppressed by their government, it is a natural right they enjoy to relieve themselves of oppression…(if) …They are strong enough, by withdraw or by overthrowing it.”

Theses words were written by U.S. Grant in his Personal Memoirs Vol 1 Chapter 16. 

Grant knew what he was talking about.  He had fought a war of independence that failed.  Some call it the War of Northern Aggression, others call it the Civil War, but in reality it was a failed revolution.

Grant goes on to say, “But (they) stake lives, property and every claim for protection given by citizenship.”

In other words you can’t hide behind the law when you’re attempting to overthrow it.  Something those advocating revolution today should remember.

The signers of the Declaration of Independence knew they were committing treason.  By mid August, Great Britain gotten the word that the American colonies no longer want to be part of GB.

Even as the war started heating up, we still didn’t know what kind of government we would have, assuming we won.  We had some ideas, but they still had to be worked out.  It may be that our current manifestation wasn’t developed until WWI and possibly as late as WWII.

Our government is still evolving.

Cynics say we get the government we deserve.  If so it says something about each of us.

As we celebrate the Founding Fathers and reflect our independence, think about our liberties.  Locke might conclude that liberties are natural rights put into action and that freedom is by-product of this action. 

Confused?

Me too, but I know that we will only enjoy these freedoms as long as we use and protect our rights.  Watching fireworks and commemorating past events is not a bulwark for freedom.

We should remember our country would not be what it is today without all the quiet people who go to work, vote, write their representatives, pay taxes, demand accountability and use every one of the civil liberties the Constitution and Bill of Rights give us. 



Voting a Basic Freedom
Or is this what the fourth of July means to you?


Without these daily actions from each of us the Declaration of Independence would be meaningless. 

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