Monday, July 4, 2016

Have a glorious Fourth

It's Independence Day.

As you may recall, on July 4th, 1776, the Continental Congress declared the independence of the United States from Great Britain.

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; 

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 levy 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.

It is that event that we celebrate on The Fourth of July, our national holiday.

Unless we are among those who cannot give grievance mongering a rest for even one day.

Frederick Douglass, thorn in Lincoln's side, and his partner. Plus his fiery words of July 5, 1852

'What a Wonderful World.' Happy Fourth of July Birthday, Pops!

Open thread for night owls: Was the American Revolution a mistake?

3 reasons the American Revolution was a mistake

Or those who cannot give our own participation in current political controversy and campaigning a day off.

Donald Trump Versus The Declaration of Independence

Independence Day Delusions

Put Away the Fireworks... You Don’t Live in a Democracy Anymore

The Declaration was a ringing affirmation of revolutionary republicanism, a firm rejection of monarchy and aristocracy, Lords Temporal and Spiritual, rule by hereditary castes.

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.

It is no surprise that its author, Jefferson, was a supporter of the French Revolution.

What the Declaration affirmed and the Revolution finally achieved, after the false start of the Articles of Confederation, in the US Constitution, was the creation of a federal republic, sovereign and independent, dedicated to liberty and equality embracing popular sovereignty and the rejection of caste rule.

As has been often enough pointed out, much of our history can be seen as a struggle to develop the implications and enrich the meanings of such republican liberty and republican equality.

Just as Lincoln said, in the midst of a war that would at last abolish an institution felt by modern republicans all over the world, and the Founders of the American Republic, to be an intolerable offense against both liberty and equality, slavery.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. 

We are met on a great battlefield of that war. 

We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. 

The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. 

The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. 

It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. 

It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

As I said above, have a glorious Fourth.

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