Independence Day is a day America celebrates its declaration to be considered an independent nation. There have been many figures in history that have spoken of freedom. I will take this time to address some of the most famous quotes.
[Independence Day] “ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forevermore.”
~ John Adams
Two hundred and forty-three years ago, America declared herself free from the tyranny of the British government. But this declaration would come at a cost. As Patrick Garry poignantly states, [of the fifty-six original signers], “Nine died of wounds or hardships during the Revolutionary War. Five were captured or imprisoned. Twelve saw their homes burned to the ground and seventeen lost their entire fortunes.”
The families of the signers suffered as well. The British and their supporters killed, jailed, and persecuted colonists and robbed them of their wealth. Garry adds, “Every signer was branded by England as a traitor. Everyone was hunted, and many were at one time or another barred from their families or their homes.”
What would motivate people to endure such hardships? In a word, freedom. That’s why we celebrate!
“What would no doubt astonish the Framers the most, though, is that their precious republic has become an imperial power in the world, much like the Great Britain they hated in the eighteenth century.”
The more the size of the government increases the less freedom we have. We voluntarily give up some of our rights for the betterment of society. The government has a very crucial role to play. But when that role gets too large, it infringes on the freedom of its constituents and makes us more dependent on it.
Comparing the 18th Century with the 21st Century
All over social media, people claim that 21st Century America takes liberty for granted. We do. Compare the differences:
|Travel: England to America||
1-3 months by boat depending on wind
7 hours by plane
|Travel: Boston to Philadelphia||
A week by horse
90 minutes by plane
|Standard Medical Care||
Bleeding, no anesthesia, no heart surgery
A pill for everything, Anesthesia prolific, Heart surgery often performed laparoscopically
|Work||Boys started work at age 12||Boys don’t want to work at age 22|
By hand-written letter taking weeks and months to arrive
Instantaneous by phone or text
|Food||Pork, vegetables, and mostly beer due to the poor water quality||Pork, vegetables and mostly beer despite good water quality|
“In a democracy, we should respect the will of the people, and to me, that means it’s time to do away with the Electoral College.”
~ Hillary Clinton, 2000
When a candidate wins the electoral vote and loses the popular vote, someone complains about the Electoral College. Here’s the cliff note version of why we have The Electoral College.
- It mitigates fraud and corruption by decentralizing power– Florida can recount its votes without triggering a nation-wide recount.
- It ensures all states have a voice – the Electoral College ensures winning by an overwhelming majority in one region of the country is not sufficient to win the White House. Otherwise, candidates would primarily campaign in California, New York, and Texas, (the most populous states) and dismiss other states.
- It amplifies the results of the presidential election – In 1992, Bill Clinton won the presidency with only 43% of the popular vote (more people voted against him than for him). Yet he won 68% of the electoral vote, making his win more profound.
“I will do as well as I can.”
~ Thomas Jefferson’s reply when asked by delegates to write a proclamation to end colonies’ allegiance to Britain – the Declaration of Independence
Freedom is defined as the right to act, speak, or think without hindrance or restraint. Freedom comes in the form of religion, speech, economics, and more. It’s also the absence of subjection to a tyrannical government. The Framers understood this, and we continuously need to be reminded of it. With freedom comes responsibility. We live in a society, a community of people. My rights end where another begins.
Freedom also brings with it privileges. We have the freedom to try new things, explore new areas, and make mistakes. Our forefathers earned this privilege, and our veterans maintain it.
May we never take that for granted!