A Celebration of Independence and the American Dream

On July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress ended its debate and approved the Resolution of Independence as the colonies’ definitive word on the break with Great Britain.

In a letter to his wife, Abigail, John Adams described the resolution.

The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America.—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 Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.

In these days of uncertainty, I believe it is consequential that we celebrate Independence Day with John Adams’ vision in mind. Do what you can to keep the American dream alive and strong with those closest to you.  

We are America and we are proud for a reason. We the people, acknowledge that freedom, faith, and family are treasures worth fighting for.

The Declaration of Independence 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.

Declaration of Independence: A Transcription | National Archives

On July 15, 1776, The Continental Congress introduced the Articles of Confederation. They were an attempt to unite the 13 states, while largely preserving their individual state power and independence. 

Articles of Confederation (1777) | National Archives

As years passed, the central government weighed in on an increasing number of issues reserved for the states, and the founders grew concerned that the federal government would gain excessive power.

As a result, on May 25, 1787, the Continental Congress met in Philadelphia and replaced the Articles of Confederation with one of the most significant documents in world history, the United States Constitution. 

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, ensure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

The Constitution of the United States: A Transcription | National Archives

It’s very clear that powers not granted to the federal government in the US Constitution belong to the states (the people). This is more important to remember today than ever before.

After Benjamin Franklin left the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia he was asked if the United States was truly a republic, or if it was a Monarchy.

“Well, Doctor, what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?” Franklin replied: “A Republic, if you can keep it.”

The United States of America is a Republic, a system of government where power is granted to representatives elected by the people. And as a Constitutional Republic, our representatives are limited by a set of rules approved by the people.

When we pledge allegiance to the flag and to the republic for which it stands, we’re essentially pledging allegiance to being in charge and ruling ourselves.

But as our founders warned, a republic only lasts as long as its citizens have morals, values, and self-control.

In 1798, John Adams proclaimed, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. Oaths in this country are as yet universally considered as sacred obligations. That which you have taken, and so solemnly repeated on that venerable ground, is an ample pledge of your sincerity and devotion to your country and its government.”

Without a moral and passionate citizenry, America will quickly become an authoritarian regime where one-party controls everything.

President Regan stated, “The first amendment of the constitution was not written to protect the people from religious values, it was written to protect religious values from government tyranny.”

Our Declaration of Independence states that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator certain unalienable rights that are among these, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

This is a revolutionary premise. God, our creator provides our basic rights. Those in power serve as representatives of the people, enforcing the God given rights we already share.

If our representatives start using their power to change our rights, then we the people have the power to replace the representatives and maintain the God given baseline. This monumental truth has served the United States since 1776 and must continue to do so.

Thomas Paine

But where, say some, is the King of America? I’ll tell you Friend, he reigns above, and doth not make havoc of mankind like the Royal Brute of Great Britain.

Samuel Adams

We have this day restored the Sovereign, to whom alone men ought to be obedient. He reigns in Heaven, and with a propitious eye beholds his subjects assuming that freedom of thought, and dignity of self-direction which He bestowed on them.

John Quincy Adams

The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: It connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.

Thomas Jefferson

God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?

The 4th of July is worth celebrating our independence from tyranny while remembering that our gift of liberty is fully dependent on God.

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