Freedom and Tyranny: The Meaning of Independence Day

A reflection amidst the barbecues and fireworks and the paeans to patriotism.

The Fourth of July is not just another day off from work. Nor is it just the celebration of our country’s birth, the bold act of the Colonists in challenging the world’s greatest power and creating a government based on freedom and self-rule. On this day 241 years ago the delegates to the Second Continental Congress adopted a document that laid the foundations of the American political order. Sadly, the meaning of the Declaration of Independence has been lost, and the order it created eroded by progressivism.

One of the greatest statements of political philosophy occurs in the preamble to the Declaration:

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 . . .

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