July 4th, Independence Day… For Those Who Actually Remember It

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The day of celebration of the independence of our great country is once again at hand… for those of us who can remember what it’s all about, that is. As former Secretary of Education under Ronald Reagan, William Bennett, has commented, this country is on the verge of a national amnesia about our own history. He warns that we are becoming a country whose citizens are born as aliens a fact that will, in the end, make it impossible for our young Americans to sign up and fight for our country. After all, they won’t understand why this country is a “way of life worthy of their own lives” if they do not know its history. And that is a dangerous thing.

But it isn’t just the young that are in danger of losing touch with the greatness of our country. In a day when we barely stopped our own Senate from signing away our national sovereignty and making citizenship a hallow convention, far too many Americans seem to have no idea what makes the USA special or deserving of any devotion.

Our Founders, of course, realized how important the light of liberty is that they sacrificed so much to ignite. They well understood that it’s not just important to their fellow Americans but to all of humanity. As James Madison said, “the origin and outset of the American Republic contain lessons of which posterity ought not to be deprived.” But today we are not only depriving humanity of those lessons, we are even depriving our own people from such revelations.

Unfortunately, today we haven’t the luxury to be so thoughtless of our national charge as the light of liberty. There are forces in this world that wish to deprive not only Americans of our liberty, but all mankind of theirs. To that threat we must apply Samuel Adams’ assertion that “our contest is not only whether we ourselves shall be free, but whether there shall be left to mankind an asylum on earth for civil and religious liberty.”

Adams wasn’t the only one who characterized the American experiment as that of interest vital to all mankind. The great liberal, Thomas Paine, also celebrated this nation’s birth as one of prime importance to human liberty. His words are also fitting to our time, words that we should never forget. They are words far from mere dusty historical curiosity, they are words that resonate today and that we can apply directly to the dangerous world in which we now live.

“The cause of America is in a great measure the cause of all mankind,” Paine wrote. “Many circumstances hath, and will arise, which are not local, but universal, and through which the principles of all Lovers of Mankind are affected, and in the Event of which, their Affections are interested. The laying a Country desolate with Fire and Sword, declaring War against the natural rights of all Mankind, and extirpating the Defenders thereof from the Face of the Earth, is the Concern of every Man to whom Nature hath given the Power of feeling.”

Americans should proudly take ownership of the ideal that our nation is the light of liberty making us defenders of, in Paine’s words, “the natural rights of all Mankind.” We should make that assumption that, as Benjamin Franklin put it, “…[I]t is a common observation here that our cause is the cause of all mankind, and that we are fighting for their liberty in defending our own.”

We still have that liberty, but it shouldn’t be taken for granted. Defense against tyranny is still warranted. Patriotism is called for in these perilous times.

It isn’t just mindless jingoism we are in need of, however. Patriotism isn’t just a blind assumption of national superiority. Dr. Benjamin Rush, one of our lesser known yet amazingly erudite Founders, said that, “Patriotism is as much a virtue as justice, and is as necessary for the support of societies as natural affection is for the support of families.” This is another thing we are in danger of losing sight of in this time of pervasive denunciations of U.S. “imperialism.” The all-too-common scoffing about our national character so woefully prevalent in places like our University classrooms leads too many Americans away from patriotism.

Unfortunately, we are forgetting all these important lessons. And we should reverse that decay forthwith. Let us take heed of James Monroe’s warning about the wisely organized government and the often-inevitable decay of human institutions: “How prone all human institutions have been to decay; how subject the best-formed and most wisely organized governments have been to lose their check and totally dissolve; how difficult it has been for mankind, in all ages and countries, to preserve their dearest rights and best privileges, impelled as it were by an irresistible fate of despotism.”

We may or may not be seeing despotism overtaking our government and there is still time to reintroduce our people to the concepts upon which our nation was born. Let us take the occasion of this celebration of our national day of independence to reflect upon that great legacy. And let us never forget that the chores of liberty are not done. We have more work to do, work that is of great import to all mankind.

Happy Independence Day, my fellow Americans.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Facebook at: facebook.com/Warner.Todd.Huston, or Truth Social @WarnerToddHuston

248 Independence Day Celebrations and Counting: But What Does it all Mean?

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Today America enjoys the celebration of 248 years as a nation by noting the day we declared our independence from England. Sadly, that celebration has, for too many, become the “Fourth of July” holiday, a day of picnics, rote parades, “white sales,” and for some a day off work. Of course, we should not and don’t celebrate any “July Fourth” holiday. We celebrate Independence Day, the day we formally separated from our parent nation and took those first unsteady steps into the world as a nation of our own.

So, what is this Independence Day all about? Well, for one thing we celebrate the gifts that our Creator has given us. That’s right, our Founding Fathers started this nation celebrating the gifts of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and those natural rights given to us by God, rights that no man or government can take away from us, rights no man can legitimately prevent us from observing.

Contrary to the God-averse America we have devolved into, the Declaration mentions God, the Creator, or the divine multiple times and the Founders rested their entire claim of liberty and freedom on the claim that no government can legitimately take away the natural rights that mankind should and must enjoy.

The fact is the Founders did not want a nation free from religion (meaning there is no such founding principle as a “wall of separation” as many think of it today). Ours is not a Godless nation, but a nation based on Christian ideals.

Secondly, the Declaration of Independence is also a list of the wrongs and slights that England perpetrated against us. In the list of crimes that the English Crown and Parliament perpetrated against the colonies is a list of many of the rights that free men must enjoy to truly be free men. This list of slights is not just stuffy old history. They are timeless principles which should guide all men even today.

And lastly, to that “all men” point just noted. Our Founders did not write a Declaration that only pertained to their situation in their focused point in history. Instead, they wrote a document to inspire every people to take up freedom and liberty as their own. The Declaration of Independence is not just a document for America. It is one that should inspire all people everywhere to throw off the shackles of government-imposed slavery. It is a document that is not just for the nascent American people, but one that insists, “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.”

The Declaration of Independence is for humanity. Not just Americans.

And so that is also our charge. Freedom is a cause for all men, not just Americans. The United States should not shrink from the charge to aid and encourage freedom and liberty for all men.

Please take a minute to read the entire Declaration below and re-familiarize yourself with our founding ideals.

Declaration of Independence
[Adopted in Congress 4 July 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. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.

He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.

He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.

He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:

For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing taxes on us without our consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:

For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:

For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies:

For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:

For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy of the head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence.They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.

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 the 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; 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 levey war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. 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.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Facebook at: facebook.com/Warner.Todd.Huston, or Truth Social @WarnerToddHuston

What IS This ‘July 4th’ Holiday, Anyway?

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July 4th. It brings about thoughts of picnics, fireworks, days off work and family get-togethers. But, all too often these days, many forget what the holiday is supposed to celebrate. The birth of our nation, forged in the crucible of fire and cooled by the hard work of her people. Created by some of the smartest men of their age, pondering some of the highest concepts upon which any nation was ever conceived, the USA has endured for 248 years today.

As Thomas Paine said, “The Sun never shined on a cause of greater worth.” So has the USA has been a beacon of liberty and not just one selfishly sitting on that shinning city on a hill (as Ronald Reagan famously quoted John Winthrop), but one willing to advocate and work for it among all the peoples of the world. George Washington knew that our cause was the cause of future generations of man. “Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!”, he said.

And Americans have always given generously of themselves and their treasure for such causes around the globe. John Adams put it perfectly when he said, “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.”

But we must remember, the struggle is never over. We must always keep on the right road, the road to the health of our Republic and our Democracy. Founding Father, Benjamin Rush, reminded us so in 1786.

“The American war is over; but this far from being the case with the American Revolution. On the contrary, nothing but the first act of the drama is closed. It remains yet to establish and perfect our new forms of government, and to prepare the principles, morals, and manners of our citizens for these forms of government after they are established and brought to perfection.” –Benjamin Rush (1786)

I will leave you with one final Founder quote. One that, I hope, will inspire you to keep the faith in these often turbulent times:

“[T]he flames kindled on the 4 of July 1776, have spread over too much of the globe to be extinguished by the feeble engines of despotism; on the contrary, they will consume these engines and all who work them. … The Declaration of Independence…[is the] declaratory charter of our rights, and the rights of man.” –Thomas Jefferson (1821)

Have a happy Independence Day. Happy birthday America. May you never fall.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Facebook at: facebook.com/Warner.Todd.Huston, or Truth Social @WarnerToddHuston

We Need to Stop Calling This The ‘July Fourth Holiday” — Here’s Why…

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Today we celebrate Independence Day, the day we stepped out on our own and formally declared our intention to become our own nation and not a vassal state of England. Unfortunately, too many people keep calling this day “the July Fourth holiday.” But, we don’t celebrate a number or a month. We celebrate our independence as a nation. So, I urge everyone to stop disrespecting our nation’s birthday by calling it “July Fourth” and here is why…

It is well known that John Adams had imagined that July second would be the day that future generations of Americans would remember as their day of independence from England, the nation’s birthday, if you will. It was, after all, on the second that it was proclaimed “(T)hat 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.”

But it was two days later that those gathered in defiance to the King of England declared a “Declaration of Independency” thereby adopting the famed document that carefully delineated the natural rights by which they claimed independence followed by a list of grievances that would explain why they invoked those rights.

So what are we celebrating? Is it our birth as a nation or are we celebrating the document of Independence? Early celebrations were mixed and a bit confused on that point. Not only that but celebrations on July fourth weren’t even that common for quite some time after the Revolution was over. At first, not many felt a need to celebrate something that had only recently happened and was over. It was time to move on from war in many American’s eyes.

Then again, not many Americans had much interest in the Declaration itself until the 1790s when the emerging parties began to vie for bragging rights over who wrote it. The Democratic Republicans proudly held that their leader, Thomas Jefferson, was the author of the document while the Federalists reminded everyone that their leader, John Adams, was also a member of the committee that drafted the document and that he, as much as Jefferson, had his stamp on the Declaration of Independence.

As the fame of the document and interest in it grew in the new United States of America, so too did a focus on celebrating the nation’s separation from England. By 1826, the fiftieth anniversary of the signing of the Declaration, Independence Day had become a common day for celebration in our young country. And, except for a brief period in the South during and after the Civil War, the holiday atmosphere has remained strong to this day.

The answer to the question above, then, is that we celebrate both the famed document and its purpose for having been drafted. We celebrate our birthday as a nation as well as those stated principles that announced to the world what we were and what this new nation was meant to represent. And so, it is properly Independence Day that we celebrate — a celebration both of the document and its famous ideas as well as our separation from England and the birth of our nation.

But one thing is sure: it is not any “July Fourth” that we celebrate. The fourth day of the seventh month is an inconsequential number. We are not celebrating a fourth day of anything and the bland, uninformative title of “July Fourth” should be banished from our minds as meaningless twaddle.

Why forget that title? Aside from the fact that we aren’t celebrating the numerology of the day, calling it “July Fourth” does nothing toward informing the world and our fellows of what it is we are celebrating. Do we celebrate December 25th, or do we Celebrate Christmas? Worse than a lack of identification, calling this sacred holiday merely “July Fourth” also dims from our minds the great purpose for which the holiday stands.

Independence Day is more than a number and more than just a birthday party. It is the heralding of a new set of principles by which all men everywhere can declare their own freedom. It is the assertion that all men are created equal and have been given that status by God. Further, that because these rights have been bestowed upon us by God, we have the right to insist that government serve us and that we mustn’t be yoked to serve government.

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, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

These were revolutionary concepts upon which we built a nation and it announced to the world that our revolution was a common cause for all mankind, not just Americans. That day we declared that all men everywhere have the right to cast off oppressive governments and live free.

Without doubt, these are heady concepts. And these are the high principles that we celebrate on Independence Day each year, that holiday that just happens to fall on the fourth day of July.

So, let’s cast off this meaningless appellation of “July Fourth” for a holiday that celebrates these important ideas. Let us proudly call it “Independence Day” so that we can keep in the forefront of our minds those great ideas we hold up as something worth celebrating.

It isn’t “July Fourth,” so let’s stop calling it that. It is Independence Day and nothing less.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Facebook at: facebook.com/Warner.Todd.Huston, or Truth Social @WarnerToddHuston

Dear America, Stop Calling This The ‘July Fourth Holiday.” Here’s Why…

-By Warner Todd Huston

Today we celebrate Independence Day, the day we stepped out on our own and formally declared our intention to become our own nation and not a vassal state of England. Unfortunately, too many people keep calling this day “the July Fourth holiday.” But, we don’t celebrate a number or a month. We celebrate our independence as a nation. So, I urge everyone to stop disrespecting our nation’s birthday by calling it “July Fourth” and here is why…

It is well known that John Adams had imagined that July second would be the day that future generations of Americans would remember as their day of independence from England, the nation’s birthday, if you will. It was, after all, on the second that it was proclaimed “(T)hat 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.”

But it was two days later that those gathered in defiance to the King of England declared a “Declaration of Independency” thereby adopting the famed document that carefully delineated the natural rights by which they claimed independence followed by a list of grievances that would explain why they invoked those rights.

So what are we celebrating? Is it our birth as a nation or are we celebrating the document of Independence? Early celebrations were mixed and a bit confused on that point. Not only that but celebrations on July fourth weren’t even that common for quite some time after the Revolution was over. At first, not many felt a need to celebrate something that had only recently happened and was over. It was time to move on from war in many American’s eyes.

Then again, not many Americans had much interest in the Declaration itself until the 1790s when the emerging parties began to vie for bragging rights over who wrote it. The Democratic Republicans proudly held that their leader, Thomas Jefferson, was the author of the document while the Federalists reminded everyone that their leader, John Adams, was also a member of the committee that drafted the document and that he, as much as Jefferson, had his stamp on the Declaration of Independence.
Continue reading “Dear America, Stop Calling This The ‘July Fourth Holiday.” Here’s Why…”

243 Independence Day Celebrations and Counting: But What Does it all Mean?

-By Warner Todd Huston

Today America enjoys the celebration of 243 years as a nation by noting the day we declared our independence from England. Sadly, that celebration has, for too many, become the “Fourth of July” holiday, a day of picnics, rote parades, “white sales,” and for some a day off work. Of course, we should not and don’t celebrate any “July Fourth” holiday. We celebrate Independence Day, the day we formally separated from our parent nation and took those first unsteady steps into the world as a nation of our own.

So, what is this Independence Day all about? Well, for one thing we celebrate the gifts that our Creator has given us. That’s right, our Founding Fathers started this nation celebrating the gifts of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and those natural rights given to us by God, rights that no man or government can take away from us, rights no man can legitimately prevent us from observing.

Contrary to the God-averse America we have devolved into, the Declaration mentions God, the Creator, or the divine multiple times and the Founders rested their entire claim of liberty and freedom on the claim that no government can legitimately take away the natural rights that mankind should and must enjoy.
Continue reading “243 Independence Day Celebrations and Counting: But What Does it all Mean?”

Our Second President, John Adams, Recalls the First Independence Day

-By Warner Todd Huston

John Adams was one of the truly indispensable men among our founding fathers. He was the man that wrote one of the first fully written out Constitutions in human history when he wrote the Constitution of Massachusetts. He wrote a seminal book on government that helped inform the founders of our nation, he was an ambassador to France and other European nations, he was our first vice president, our second president, and more.

In fact, Adams was at the center of one of the incidents that set the tone for our national character. When the Redcoats responsible for the Boston Massacre were put under arrest, John Adams stepped forward to represent the Redcoats in court. Many of his fellow patriots were amazed at this offer, some even incensed at Adams for doing so. But Adams said that the rule of law was far more important than merely making points with the home crowd and the Redcoats deserved to have competent representation.
Continue reading “Our Second President, John Adams, Recalls the First Independence Day”