237 years ago, a band of ragtag colonists did the unthinkable and formally dissolved their union with the most powerful nation on earth, beginning this noble experiment in self governance that survives to this day in what has become the most powerful nation on earth. With these few stirring words, those colonists declared to the world their independence and the birth of a new nation. In so doing they literally pledged to each other their lives, their liberty and their sacred honor. While enjoying your fireworks and your barbecues, perhaps take just a moment to read the following stirring words of what has become one of the most famous and inspirational documents in human history, the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence, and reflect on the enormity of the risks taken by those colonists so long ago, and how much we all owe to so few.
IN CONGRESS, JULY 4th, 1776
The Unanimous Declaration
of the Thirteen United States of America
When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
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 to 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....
Enjoy your holiday everybody.
Quick history quiz:
1. (Easy) Why didn't George Washington sign the Declaration of Independence?
2. (Harder) Why was Jefferson chosen by the committee to write the first draft?
Answers in the comments on the 4th of July.