In surveying the events of time related to American Independence, I was able to reflect on what the experience is in the early 21stcentury compared to what we were celebrating in the time of its signature. I must give my quick recount as Samuel Adams regarding the depth of meaning around the Declaration of Independence and my sense of sorrow for this present Union of States.
We were a people at war. The Boston Massacre occurred in March of 1770, Lexington and Concord were in April of 1775, the Battle of Breeds Hill (you know the other hill, Bunker hill) was in June of 1775. The army of the northern Colonies was formed and several engagements occurred. We were economically oppressed by a foreign power that was supposed to be our friend, our family and our common heritage. We were under martial law and forced to have troops in our houses; feeding them and they in turn taking advantage even physically of our family members. Our Charters of local government were revoked and our local legislative action were quieted, repudiated or dissolved by the Kings Men. We had to press hard for the repeal of repressive taxes and the forced purchase of goods and services specified by the King and Parliament. In several of the Southern Colonies we were forced to pay direct taxes to the government church and not allowed the free worship of God. Our property was being taken; this included the efforts of our commerce, trade and finances.
We clearly understand recession and depression. We were very clear in establishing our rights in 1772 in the work I produced, “ The Natural Rights of the Colonist.” Every person on the Continent of the time understood who we are under the English Constitution. Edmund Burke spoke long to Parliament about how well the American people were educated and that most every person understood their rights and had a sense of law. This my Cousin John Adams wrote about in “A Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law,” 1765: “Be it remembered, however, that liberty must at all hazards be supported . . . cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people . . . And the preservation of the means of knowledge among the lowest ranks, is of more importance to the public than all the property of all the rich men in the country.”
Our views of Patriotism are captured in these chronicled words:
“Patriotism . . . This noble affection which impels us to sacrifice every thing dear, even life itself, to our country . . .” John Hancock (Oration, Boston, March 5, 1774)
“The only [worthy] principles of public conduct . . . are to sacrifice estate, ease, health, and applause, and even life, to the sacred calls of his country. These manly sentiments, in private life, make the good citizen; in public life, the patriot and the hero.” James Otis (Statement in Court opposing “Writs of Assistance,” 1761)
“To a generous mind, the public good, as it is the end of government, so it is also such a noble and excellent one, that the prospect of attaining it will animate the pursuit, and being attained, it will reward the pains. The very name of patriotism is indeed become a jest with some men; which would be much stranger than it is, had not so many others made a jest of the thing, serving their own base and wicked ends, under the pretext and colour of it. But there will be hypocrites in politicks, as well as in religion. Nor ought so sacred a name to fall into contempt, however it may have been prostituted & profaned, to varnish over crimes. And those times are perilous indeed, wherein men shall be only lovers of their own selves, having no concern for the good of the public. Shall we go to the pagans to learn this god-like virtue? Even they can teach it . . . [A Christian lacking patriotism] . . . would be a reproach not only to his religion, a religion of charity and beneficence, but even to our own common nature, as corrupt and depraved as it is. But how much more infamous were this, in persons of public character? in those, on whom the welfare of their country, under providence, immediately depends?” (Emphasis per original.) Rev. Jonathan Mayhew (Election Sermon, 1754)
Today, in your 2oth and now 21st century, the majority of Americans remember the cannon fire and shouts of joy at the announcement of Independence by taking the day, or several, to engage in food, fanfare and “fun” as a means of relief from the regular activities of your busy lives. Very few consider the tyranny that caused us to reflect on the solemn events that forced the hand of a people to revolt against oppression, to offer all in the cause of freedom from tyranny.
In reflection, I am saddend by what is accepted in these United States that assumes the appearance of liberty yet in comparison to the time of 1765 to 1776 emulates the same tyrannies that called for this Declaration of Independence. The Federal government has become that which was predicted by the Anti-Federalist, overshadowing the Rights of the States and thereby the Rights of the people, forming treaties with foreign powers that introduce continental and internationalist law that obviates our Constitution, Congress giving over its balance of power to the Presidency to rule by executive power and agency, to allow international bankers to influence every aspect of our economy thereby enslaving our people.
Can you draw the parallels of time? No, most will laugh and say that this 289-year-old man is worst than senile and he has no real understanding of events on the present. But, if you would only take time to read for yourself the original intent that was established in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution as argued by both the Federalist Papers and the Anti-federalist papers you will have your eyes cleared of the cataracts of life activities that give you the appearance of liberty but hide the tyranny cloth in social justice, equality and rule of law. We understood the words and ideologies of utopianism. We rejected them!
What can you do on this Independence Day Celebration? Commit to truth. It is your responsibility as a Citizen to commit to learning the facts of what was sacrificed and then to stand for Liberty! Take the words of these great men into your very soul:
“A popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.” James Madison (Letter to W. T. Barry, 1822)
“If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.” Thomas Jefferson (Letter to Chas. Yancey, 1816)
“Although all men are born free, and all nations might be so, yet too true it is, that slavery has been the general lot of the human race. Ignorant — they have been cheated; asleep — they have been surprized; divided — the yoke has been forced upon them. But what is the lesson? that because the people may betray themselves, they ought to give themselves up, blindfold, to those who have an interest in betraying them? Rather conclude that the people ought to be enlightened, to be awakened, to be united, that after establishing a government they should watch over it, as well as obey it.” (Emphasis per original.) James Madison (Essay: “Who Are the Best Keepers of the People’s Liberties?” 1792)
[Effective resistance to usurpers possible only] provided the citizens understand their rights and are disposed to defend them.*
[Safeguards of Liberty are just and constitutional laws] and above all the vigilant and manly spirit which actuates the people of America, a spirit which nourishes freedom, and in return is nourished by it.**
Liberty will only remain when Citizen recapture their individual responsibilities to preserve it!