by John Steinberger | July 4, 2017 8:00 pm
On Independence Day, Americans need to understand the factors which made our Republic unique among all nations. On July 4, 1776, 56 representatives from the 13 colonies signed a document which specified more than 20 grievances against King George III and the nation of England for violating the rights of the colonists and declaring their independence. They declared that the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are bestowed upon all people from God, not government.
Thomas Jefferson was the primary contributor to the Declaration of Independence. He cited King George’s tampering with laws passed by elected legislatures of the colonies, convictions of colonists without jury trials, seizing properties to house British troops, and taxation without the consent of the colonists as reasons for the United States of America to become an independent, sovereign nation.
Hostilities against Great Britain began in Massachusetts in 1775 and ended in 1781 at the Battle of Yorktown (VA), with the assistance of French infantry and naval forces. The 1783 Treaty of Paris declared the United States of America as a free and independent nation. The new nation floundered under the Articles of Confederation, which allowed the 13 states to establish their own currencies and prevented the formation of a national military. In 1787, the United States Constitution was ratified by the states, and our country established a federal republic with the separation of powers among the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government. It specified that powers not delegated to the federal government were the domain of the states and the people.
Former South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint wrote, “The Declaration and the Constitution remain as relevant today as they were in the time of Jefferson, (James) Madison, and (George) Washington. There will always be powerful individuals who wish to disarm their fellow citizens, overtax them, prevent them from speaking out, or limit the free exercise of their religion. It is all the more important that the lessons of our founding documents endure.”
America enjoys a heritage of liberty and self-governance. It is up to each of us to preserve that heritage.
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