Happy Fourth of July!

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

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James A. Restucci is the author of this blog. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 Internal License.

6 Responses to Happy Fourth of July!

  1. TVNews says:

    Snopes is a bunch of spoil sports.

  2. Libby says:

    Thanks, Jeff Lee for setting the record straight. I really need to check snopes more often. It was an inspiring account and I assumed it was true. No one should assume that anything posted on the internet is true.

  3. jimr says:

    Posed on behalf of Jeff Lee:

    Jeffrey Lee at 4:10pm July 9
    It’s been circulating around the Internet for a decade. Unfortunately, chain emails like that never go away, they just pop up in new settings.

    The sad thing is, there are so many truly inspiring things about our history that have the additional benefit of being true; why would someone feel the need to dilute that by writing an “inspirational” set of half-truths?

  4. jimr says:

    Posted on behalf of Jeff Lee:

    Jeffrey Lee at 3:36pm July 9

    Not to be a semi-spoilsport, but… http://www.snopes.com/…/pricepaid.asp

  5. Libby says:

    I tried this July 5th, but it didn’t post. Hope it works this time. As / per:


    Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence?

    Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died.

    Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army; another had two sons captured.

    Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War.

    They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.

    What kind of men were they?

    Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well educated, but they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.

    Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his Ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.

    Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.

    Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.

    At the battle of Yorktown , Thomas Nelson, Jr., noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters.

    He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.

    Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.

    John Hart was driven from his wife’s bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished. Some of us take these liberties so much for granted, but we shouldn’t.

    So, take a few minutes while enjoying your 4th of July holiday and silently thank these patriots.

    It’s not much to ask for the price they paid.

    Remember: freedom is never free!

    I hope you will show your support by sending this to as many people as you can, please. It’s time we get the word out that patriotism is NOT a sin, and the Fourth of July has more to it than beer, picnics, and baseball.

  6. TVNews says:

    “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

    That was so good I had to post it again.