The Fourth of July is Independence Day and a day to celebrate our many American freedoms in a world full of oppression. No single object signifies our freedoms any more than the Statue of Liberty, which was a gift from the people of France to the people of the United States, dedicated October 28, 1886. France admired the American dream so much that they offered up a monument, “a beacon of light” for the whole world to see.
When the 13 colonies decided to cast off the yoke of British rule for the American Dream, the decision was relatively easy for our American patriots; but actually casting off the yoke itself proved to be far more difficult, involving seven long years of war and sacrifice. Then, securing those freedoms that we fought for was yet more difficult. Many a revolution has been won, but the cause for which it was fought lost in the aftermath.
America was blessed by the caliber and talents of those Founding Fathers who met together in Philadelphia to give birth to a new nation and a new form of government. These Founding Fathers were not without experience or wisdom. Each had been active in colonial affairs before the Revolution, and each was trusted by his state for his judgment and good sense. They had seen the new nation, which was created in 1776, begin to flounder under the articles of Confederation, and they wanted to strengthen a national government without endangering local governments and individual rights. The Constitution they created during the hot summer months of 1787 was ratified by the states and has stood the test of over two centuries. The United States of America is in fact the oldest democratic republic in the world, and has preserved intact those liberties for which the War of Independence was fought.
The Founding Fathers had a fundamental distrust of governmental power in any form. They were well-versed in political history and philosophy. They had felt the abuse of power by their English rulers; they had seen political power corrupt good men when one person or one group was allowed too much power. So, in Philadelphia that summer 226 years ago, they devised a system of government that separated and divided power: executive from judicial from legislative, local from national, large state from small state. Every exercise of power by one branch or division of government could be held in check by the power granted to another branch or division. No person could become so powerful as to have his way without check; and no majority could exercise so much power as to oppress any minority. Civil liberty has grown steadily for all of us under this Constitution. The only general constraint in the exercise of liberty is the constraint against abusing the freedom of others in the exercise of one’s own freedom.
Page 2 of 2 - From the beginning of this great nation, Liberty in America is and always has been very strong. And yet, Liberty in America continues to be fragile, fragile enough to be threatened by selfish exploitation, and fragile enough to languish because of indifference or forgetfulness.
Liberty is everyone’s business. It is everyone’s abiding concern. Whenever we fail to exercise our liberty, our liberty dies a little from disuse. Whenever we use liberty as license to trample on the rights of others, it is our own rights and our own liberty that are wounded.
Whenever we turn a blind eye to the abuse of liberty by others, it is we who lose our way in the never-ending search for liberty. Eternal vigilance is the only sure guardian of our liberties.
Pray that all American civil liberties continue to be safeguarded for generations yet to come.
Ref: In Search of Liberty by James Bell and Richards Abrams
Ted Stillwell will speak on Patriotism before the OWLS at Peace Lutheran Church, 8240 Blue Ridge Blvd, Tuesday July 9, beginning at 10:30 A.M.
You can reach Stillwell by phone at 816-252-9909 or by the internet. Please note however, a change in the email address email@example.com, please don’t forget the dot.