A few dozen courageous men gathered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on July 4, 1776 to sign the Declaration of Independence, a bold statement for individual liberty that placed their lives, possessions and honor on the line. In all, 56 men signed the document, the greatest treatise ever written declaring that a higher power had given men rights under the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God, and that a government derives its power “from the consent of the governed.”
Penned by Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, the Declaration is essentially the mission statement of American Exceptionalism. It defines our nation and its founding concepts as unique in all history. It establishes a nation conceived in liberty, recognizing emphatically that rights of Americans are God-given, therefore inalienable – unable to be separated by the power of government.
John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail on July 3, 1776: “(Independence Day) will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America… It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance, by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty…”
Our Founders recognized that only virtuous, religious, knowledgeable people could maintain their liberty. Thomas Jefferson put it this way: “If we are to guard against ignorance and remain free, it is the responsibility of every American to be informed.”
But Americans of today do not read the Declaration of Independence, know it or study it. Many are not taught the reason for this document’s existence, how it came into being. Students today are not taught that this single page (in the original) defines and proclaims WHO we are as Americans and WHY we are unique among all people.
TODAY is our Independence Day, the “Day of Deliverance” as John Adams described it. (Imagine the push-back today from secularists and progressives if the date we celebrate was the “Day of Deliverance”!)
This July Fourth, our “Day of Deliverance,” please read the Declaration of Independence, so you can teach your children WHO we are as “Americans” and WHY we are so exceptional. It matters.
Originally Published July 4, 2016