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Liberty’s Protection

July 3, 2017

In 1776 our forefathers “brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” (The Gettysburg Address) On July 2, 1776 twelve of the thirteen delegates to the Continental Congress adopted a resolution, “That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.”

The resolution to break free from Britain and become an independent nation culminated on July 4, 1776 when the Continental Congress in America formally declared its independence from the rule of Britain. As the first formal declaration of a people declaring their own right to choose their own government this Declaration of Independence defined the stakes for which the Americans patriots were fighting and it set the standard for other peoples seeking freedom from tyranny.

The American ideal was not cheap or easy. A year before the Declaration of Independence Patrick Henry made the incredible proclamation, “Give me liberty or give me death.” His words were not mere political rhetoric. They were his conviction and the conviction of thousands of others. The accomplishment of this desired liberty cost many men their lives and many others their fortunes. It took years to begin to see it’s fruition. The Revolutionary War lasted until 1783. The constitution was ratified five years later. The next year George Washington took office as the first President of the United States of America. Two years after Washington’s inauguration, in 1791, the Bill of Rights was ratified. Liberty was a long, hard struggle that was not ended even then. The defense of liberty continued throughout the eighteen and nineteen hundreds. The battles for liberty continue today. Now the fight for freedom is a fight for the very foundation of freedom.

The founding fathers recognized that liberty is not the absence of restraint. Liberty is the exercise of a moral, disciplined, Godly life. Our founding fathers insisted that moral restraint was essential to true liberty. John Adams said, “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.” Benjamin Rush, one of the signers of the constitution, said, “Without virtue there can be no liberty.” Another signer of the constitution said, “Morals are the only possible support of free governments.” George Washington said, “Religion and morality are the essential pillars of civil society.” Benjamin Franklin said, “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom.” The Continental Congress of 1778 passed a resolution in which they said, “Whereas true religion and good morals are the only solid foundations of public liberty and happiness. It is hereby earnestly recommended to the several States to take the most effectual measure for the encouragement thereof.”

The founders of American democracy knew that liberty was not infringed upon by moral restraint but is preserved by moral restraint.


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