Happy 236th birthday, America!

“When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

We’ve all seen these words.  They are the first words of the Declaration of Independence.  Read them carefully.  Know them.  Take the time to understand them.  For these words are the “hypothesis” if you will, of The American Experiment.

It’s hard to imagine but 236 years ago, the United States of America was a fledgling nation.  Home of a few brave but not yet the land of the free.  Still under the rule of British Law, the Founding Fathers knew that the only way we would be the land of the free is by declaring our independence from the tyrannical rule of a power hungry king.

The “natural” state of man is to be free.  This statement, while obvious to most of us, is controversial in some circles.  Some believe that man enjoys being submissive and would rather have life’s decisions and conditions decided for him.  Freedom, as Americans know it, is still a foreign concept to many in the world.  Since the beginning of mankind, only about 5% of the human population has experienced freedom the way we do.  At the time of the American Revolution, self-governance was a new concept to most.  It took the courage, faith, and perseverance of a few good men and women to bring this concept to fruition so that the greatest nation the world has ever known would one day shine like a beacon on a hill.

Please click here for an excellent book regarding the rarity of freedom

Unlimited searches and seizures by the Brits, religious oppression, basic human rights violations, taxation without representation, no due process, no free trade, etc…. the list goes on and on.  We needed to separate and the world would never be the same once we did.

Did you know that at the time the Declaration of Independence was written, it was against British law to free your slaves?  The first abolition society was formed in 1775, in Pennsylvania.  Founding Father, Thomas Paine was amongst the Society’s founders.  In 1785, Benjamin Franklin became the Society’s president and he petitioned the U.S. Congress in 1790 to end slavery.

Many (not all) of the founding fathers were against the practice of slavery.  Because some of the colonists (mainly in the South) still adhered to the idea of slavery as an acceptable practice, the Founding Fathers wrote the Declaration of Independence as a foundational document for future freedoms for all its citizens.  “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  When they said it, they meant it.  “ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL.”

When speaking of the Declaration of Independence and the American Revolution in general, I bring up slavery because it is often used as an argument to prove the hypocrisy of our founding documents and ultimately our founders themselves.  If you read their words, however, it’s clear to see that many of them did not subscribe to this way of thinking.  George Washington once said, “I can only say that there is not a man living who wishes more sincerely than I do to see a plan adopted for the abolition of slavery. “

As America celebrates its independence for the 236th time this year, remember that men like George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, were human just like all of us.  They had fears, insecurities and weaknesses.  It was this imperfection however that gave us one of the greatest documents the world has ever seen.  The Declaration of Independence was written for a flawed and fallen people.  The beauty of it, however, is that it does not lower the standard as to what our Creator demands and desires for us.  In fact, it does just the opposite by requiring individuals to take responsibility for the way we conduct ourselves in society and the way in which we treat each other.  Remember the sacrifice of all who have given everything for the cause of freedom.  God willing, The American Experiment will continue for another thousand years.

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