Celebrate Your Independence!

The Stars and Stripes

Today we celebrate our independence.  Let us celebrate the day the United States of America became a free and sovereign nation and take note of things our Founding Fathers have said and learn from their wisdom.

Once one has studied Patrick Henry’s speech in school, who can forget the final, great sentence, “I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!”  Here is the second half of the speech.  I find it very inspiring.

Sir, we have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament.  Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne.  In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation. There is no longer any room for hope.

If we wish to be free–if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending–if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained–we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of Hosts is all that is left us!

They tell us, sir, that we are weak–unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance, by lying supinely on our backs, and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot?

Sir, we are not weak, if we make a proper use of the means which the God of nature hath placed in our power.  Three millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone.  There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us.

The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable–and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come!

It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, “Peace! Peace!”–but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!  –Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775

Thankfully, Patrick Henry could read the writing on the wall (to use a biblical reference as he did several times in his speech) and the people were convinced liberty was worth fighting for.

Thomas Jefferson was giving clues that independence for the colonies was at hand.

The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time; the hand of force may destroy, but cannot disjoin them. –Thomas Jefferson, statement addressed to the king of Great Britain in A summary View of the Rights of British America

Now that independence had been won, Jefferson again emphasizes our liberties come from God alone.

And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever. –Thomas Jefferson –Thomas Jefferson, in Notes on the State of Virginia

That our Founders recognized liberty was a right given to us by God is a blessing to all following generations.  For if we continue to acknowledge this, we should recognize that our government does not have the authority to take our liberties away.  Any attempt on their part to do so, for whatever reason, should be soundly rejected by the governed, from whom they derive their just powers.  Give thanks to God for your liberty.

Now let’s look at excerpts from the Declaration of Independence, which I encourage you to read in its entirety.  Unlike today’s legislation, neither the Declaration of Independance nor the Constitution are very long.  Isn’t it funny?  We can establish a nation on a few pieces of paper, but it takes 2,000 pages to make one law these days.  Pardon my digression.

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.  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…

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States…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.

I wonder who, now, would pledge to each other their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to protect the nation and its hard won liberties from threats domestic and foreign.  I would like to think we all would.  As you can read, our Founders depended greatly on God (Nature’s God, Creator, Supreme Judge of the world, divine Providence).

Take time and send your representative and senators and maybe even the president an e-mail or call this coming week to remind them that the government derives its just powers from the consent of the governed.  It seems they have forgotten because they have been passing laws lately against which great numbers of the governed have vehemently protested.

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!

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