In 1776, representatives of the Thirteen Colonies signed a Declaration of Independence from Great Britain. Their differences with the Crown and Parliament had become too great. Ever since Parliament levied taxes against the Colonies in order to pay for the Seven Years War, patriots had become more and more outspoken against Britain’s exercise of sovereignty over their distant possessions. It was more than just a dispute over taxation, representation, and justice, however. In the centuries since the first British settlers had arrived in Jamestown and Plymouth in the early 17th century, the American colonists had developed into a separate people from their motherland.
The political and economic issues that sparked the American Revolution in 1775 are dwarfed by the issues we face today. The American colonists enjoyed political and economic freedom that we today can barely dream of. How many colonists had to file a tax return every year enumerating every dollar they made and send thirty percent of it to the Crown? Did the colonists need to file years of expensive permits in order to build a house or a business? Were the colonists issued a government number at birth that will be used to track them for their entire life? Which colonists faced ostracism and even prosecution because they dared hold the same opinions as their grandparents?
If George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin could see what the country the fought to create has become they would surely be dismayed. Of his many achievements, Jefferson counted the writing of the Declaration of Independence and the founding of the University of Virginia as his greatest, even more than two terms as President. Yet today, mainstream media outlets such as Vox and Salon are writing about how horrible, racist, sexist, and evil the Declaration and the Revolution were. In the meantime, Jefferson’s beloved University of Virginia has said that they will no longer celebrate their founder’s birthday. The country bequeathed by our founders no longer belongs to their descendants, but instead to latecomers who have no loyalty nor respect for the men who created this nation.
As we celebrate our independence from Great Britain, take a moment to think about your own place in this country we love. Declare your own independence from the propaganda that is poisoning the minds of the next generation. Declare your independence from the nutritional propaganda that would keep you fat, sick, and addicted to expensive medications. Declare your independence from a consumerist mindset that says you must work hard in order to buy useless junk to validate your existence. Declare your independence from a school system that steals the minds and the souls of your children. Finally, declare your independence from the bread and circuses that keep you from realizing your true potential.
Independence Day is more than just barbecues and fireworks. It is a time to remember what our ancestors stood for; what they lived for and what they died for. Our fathers and their fathers fought and died to grant us the freedom that we take for granted. It is up to you to bequeath the inheritance you received from them to your own sons and grandsons. There is no better way to honor the memory of our founders than to pass on the country they built to our posterity.
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.