On July 2nd, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence, and two days later delegates from the 13 colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence, a historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson. From 1776 to the present day, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of American independence, with festivities ranging from fireworks, parades and concerts to more casual family gatherings and barbecues. (Source: HISTORY.COM)
John Adams, the second president of the United States, said he hoped that on every July 4th, the citizens of this country would spend time “revisiting our First Principles.”
What did he mean? And what are our First Principles?
They are the following:
- All men (and women) are created equal;
- God gave all men (and women) inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; and
- Governments are instituted among men (and women) to secure those rights.
What does it mean to revisit those principles? It means to allow ourselves to truly think about them—to emotionally and psychologically re-bond with them, and to consider how they apply to issues in our own time. If our First Principles become simply inscriptions on marble walls—written on parchment and protected behind glass, yet no longer inscribed on each generation’s heart—then they lose their relevancy, their moral force. Principles become lifeless unless kept alive within us.
In referring to the founding of our country, Abraham Lincoln said that our forefathers had “brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” He went on to say that the men who died in the Battle of Gettysburg had done so in order that “a government of the people, by the people and for the people shall not perish from the earth.”
Yet is it not perishing now…?
A government so corrupted by the influence of dark money that it does more to serve short-term profits for huge multinational corporations than it does to serve us—we the people—and the planet on which we live, is a “government of the corporations, by the corporations, and for the corporations.” And to that extent, we are no longer free.
This July 4th, let us reclaim the revolutionary spirit of 1776 and rededicate ourselves to the principles on which we stand. It is time for our generation to rise to the defense of our freedom, just as others have done before us. It is not a time to complain, but to act. For this is our country and this is our time.
Otherwise, as Lincoln’s words now echo through the ages, “We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth.”
Please join me today for a live talk in New Hampshire and also click here to watch via livestream for a discussion of America’s birthday—and why it matters.
When: July 4th, 2019
Time: 2pm PT, 5pm ET
Where: or via livestream or if you’re near New Hampshire, in-person at the Phenix Theatre in Concord (reception begins at 4pm ET).
Here’s to all that America can be…