The representatives at the Second Constitutional Convention agreed on a lofty statement of goals on this day in 1776, seeking "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" by declaring independence from Great Britain. Without phones or e-mail, all thirteen colonies approved the document by the ninth, they chose a calligrapher on the nineteenth, and most of them were gathered again to sign it on the second of August. On this anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, I hope we all will commit anew to these values, even if we don't have to "mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor" to accomplish it.
You need only reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence.
– Charles A. Beard, 1874 – 1948
What is independence? Freedom from all laws or bonds except those of one's own being, control'd by the universal ones.
– Walt Whitman, Democratic Vistas, 1871
Trade is the natural enemy of all violent passions. Trade loves moderation, delights in compromise, and is most careful to avoid anger. It is patient, supple, and insinuating, only resorting to extreme measures in cases of absolute necessity. Trade makes men independent of one another and gives them a high idea of their personal importance: it leads them to want to manage their own affairs and teaches them to succeed therein. Hence it makes them inclined to liberty but disinclined to revolution.
– Alexis de Tocqueville, 1805 – 1859
The country shall be independent, and we will be satisfied with nothing short of it.
– Samuel Adams, 1722 – 1803
Those who won our independence by revolution were not cowards. They did not fear political change. They did not exalt order at the cost of liberty. To courageous, selfreliant men, with confidence in the power of free and fearless reasoning applied through the processes of popular government, no danger flowing from speech can be deemed clear and present, unless the incidence of the evil apprehended is so imminent that it may befall before there is opportunity for full discussion.
– Louis Dembitz Brandeis, 1856 – 1941
This, then, is freedom in the external life of man — that he is independent of the arbitrary power of his fellows.
– Ludwig von Mises, 1881 – 1973