Thursday, July 4, 2013

On the 4th of July

With a tear in your eye for the 4th of July,
For the patriots, and the minutemen and the things you believe, they believed in then,
Such as Freedom, Freedom’s land and the kingdom of God and the Rights of man,
-          James Taylor
-          On the 4th of July

 Happy Fourth of July! 
 That sounds so natural to say, but July 2nd was the actual date that the Continental Congress voted for Independence. John Adams wrote in his diary that July 2nd would be celebrated with fireworks. He got most of that right. So why do we celebrate 4th of July as our Independence Day?  July 4th was the date that appeared on The Declaration of Independence document. The actual signing ceremony didn't occur until August 2nd.

Our Founding Fathers were heavily influenced by the Enlightenment Thinkers of the time. The ideas of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness came directly from John Locke and his Two Treatises of Government. Jefferson also referenced the works of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and his belief that government must be at the consent of the people it governs. Jefferson believed that the King had lost the consent of the people and therefore his power over the colonies was thereby nullified. Montesquieu in his Spirit of Laws presented the idea of checks and balances; a system which became the foundation by which our three branches of government was formed.

It’s hard to say where we’d be today if our Founding Fathers hadn't sought the knowledge of these men as their ideas are strongly woven into the Declaration of Independence and provided the foundation for which our nation was built. One only needs to read the words of Jefferson to see those influences.

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.
-Declaration of Independence, 1776

 Happy 4th of July, I'm back writing this blog...


1 comment: