Special to WorldTribune.com
Editor’s Note: On, Independence Day, 2023, how does the United States of America measure up to its founders’ standards, set 247 years ago?
By Bill Federer, July 4, 2023 Excerpts:
The Declaration of Independence was signed July 4, 1776. It listed 27 reasons why Americans declared their independence from 38-year-old King George III including:
- “He has made judges dependent on his will alone …
- He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
- He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies …
- For imposing taxes on us without our consent …
- For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of trial by jury …
- He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.”
John Hancock, the 39-year-old President of the Continental Congress, signed the Declaration first, reportedly saying “the price on my head has just doubled.”
70-year-old Benjamin Franklin said: “We must hang together or most assuredly we shall hang separately.”
The Declaration [stated]: “All Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights …. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Diving Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”
This was revolutionary, as kings did not believe everyone was created equal.
They believed they were created extra special. Their belief was called “the divine right of kings,” namely, that the Creator gives rights to the king and he dispenses them at his discretion to whoever he wishes.
The Declaration of Independence bypassed the King, declaring that the Creator gives rights directly to each individual person.
Many of the 56 signers sacrificed their prosperity for their posterity. Of the Signers:
- 11 had their homes destroyed;
- 5 were hunted and captured;
- 17 served in the military; and
- 9 died during the war.
27-year-old George Walton signed, and at the Battle of Savannah was wounded and captured.
Signers Edward Rutledge, age 27, Thomas Heyward, Jr., age 30, and Arthur Middleton, age 34, were made prisoners at the Siege of Charleston.
38-year-old signer Thomas Nelson had his home used as British headquarters during the siege of Yorktown. Nelson reportedly offered five guineas to the first man to hit his house.
Signer Carter Braxton, age 40, lost his fortune during the war.
42-year-old signer Thomas McKean wrote that he was “hunted like a fox by the enemy, compelled to remove my family five times in three month.”
46-year-old Richard Stockton signed and was dragged from his bed at night and jailed.
50-year-old signer Lewis Morris had his home taken and used as a barracks.
50-year-old signer Abraham Clark had two sons tortured and imprisoned on the British starving ship Jersey. More Americans died on British starving ships than died in battle during the Revolution.
53-year-old signer Rev. John Witherspoon had his son, James, killed in the Battle of Germantown.
60-year-old signer Philip Livingston lost several properties to British occupation and died before the war ended.
63-year-old signer Francis Lewis found out that the British plundered his home and carried away his wife, Elizabeth, putting her in prison. The British wanted to make an example of her, so they denied her a change of clothes, a bed, and gave her nothing but the most meager food. She was treated so harshly that she died shortly after being released.
65-year-old signer John Hart had his home looted and had to remain in hiding, dying before the war ended.
Gustave de Beaumont, a contemporary of Alexis de Tocqueville, wrote in Marie ou L’Esclavage aux E’tas-Unis, 1835: “I have seen a meeting of the Senate in Washington open with a prayer, and the anniversary festival of the Declaration of Independence consists, in the United States, of an entirely religious ceremony.”
When 54-year-old Samuel Adams signed the Declaration, he said: “We have this day restored the Sovereign to whom all men ought to be obedient. He reigns in heaven and from the rising to the setting of the sun, let His kingdom come.”
At the time of the Revolutionary War, nearly every other country on Earth was ruled by a king. Dr. Pat Robertson wrote in America’s Dates with Destiny, 1986:
On September 17, 1787, the day our Constitution was signed, the absolute monarch Ch’ien Lung, emperor of the Manchu (or Ch’ing) Dynasty, reigned supreme over the people of China … Revolts were put down by ruthless military force.
In Japan the shogun (warriors) of the corrupt Tokugawa chamberlain Tanuma Okitsugu exercised corrupt and totalitarian authority over the Japanese.
In India, Warren Hastings, the British Governor of Bengal, had successfully defeated the influence of the fragmented Mogul dynasties that ruled India since 1600.
Catherine II was the enlightened despot of all the Russias. Joseph II was the emperor of Austria, Bohemia and Hungary. For almost half a century, Frederick the Great had ruled Prussia.
Louis XVI sat uneasily on his throne in France just years away from revolution, a bloody experiment in democracy, and the new tyranny of Napoleon Bonaparte. …
What was happening in America had no real precedent, even as far back as the city-states of Greece. The only real precedent was established thousands of years before by the tribes of Israel in the covenant with God and with each other.
Ronald Reagan opened the Ashbrook Center, Ashland, Ohio, May 9, 1983: “From their own harsh experience with intrusive, overbearing government, the Founding Fathers made a great breakthrough in political understanding: They understood that it is the excesses of government, the will to power of one man over another, that has been a principle source of injustice and human suffering through the ages …. The Founding Fathers understood that only by making government the servant, not the master, only by positing sovereignty in the people and not the state can we hope to protect freedom … In 1776, the source of government excess was the crown’s abuse of power and its attempt to suffocate the colonists with its overbearing demands. In our own day, the danger of too much state power has taken a subtler but no less dangerous form.”
Ronald Reagan stated 1961: “In this country of ours took place the greatest revolution that has ever taken place in the world’s history. Every other revolution simply exchanged one set of rulers for another … The founding fathers established the idea that you and I had within ourselves the God-given right and ability to determine our own destiny.”
Donald Trump stated July 3, 2020:
Each of you lives in the most magnificent country in the history of the world … Our Founders launched not only a revolution in government, but a revolution in the pursuit of justice, equality, liberty, and prosperity.
No nation has done more to advance the human condition than the United States of America. And no people have done more to promote human progress than the citizens of our great nation.
It was all made possible by the courage of 56 patriots who gathered in Philadelphia 244 years ago and signed the Declaration of Independence.They enshrined a divine truth that changed the world forever when they said: “All men are created equal” … Our Founders boldly declared that we are all endowed with the same divine rights — given to us by our Creator in Heaven. And that which God has given us, we will allow no one, ever, to take away — ever.
Trump explained the Left’s “identity theft” of America’s history:
And yet … there is a growing danger that threatens every blessing our ancestors fought so hard for, struggled, they bled to secure. Our nation is witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values, and indoctrinate our children. Angry mobs are trying to tear down statues of our Founders, deface our most sacred memorials, and unleash a wave of violent crime in our cities.
Many of these people have no idea why they are doing this, but some know exactly what they are doing. … One of their political weapons is “Cancel Culture” — driving people from their jobs, shaming dissenters, and demanding total submission from anyone who disagrees. This is the very definition of totalitarianism, and it is completely alien to our culture and our values, and it has absolutely no place in the United States of America …
Trump spoke further:
“We will expose this dangerous movement, protect our nation’s children, end this radical assault, and preserve our beloved American way of life.
In our schools, our newsrooms, even our corporate boardrooms, there is a new far-left fascism that demands absolute allegiance. If you do not speak its language, perform its rituals, recite its mantras, and follow its commandments, then you will be censored, banished, blacklisted, persecuted, and punished. It’s not going to happen to us. … Make no mistake: this left-wing cultural revolution is designed to overthrow the American Revolution. In so doing, they would destroy the very civilization that rescued billions from poverty, disease, violence, and hunger, and that lifted humanity to new heights of achievement, discovery, and progress … They are determined to tear down every statue, symbol, and memory of our national heritage … The violent mayhem we have seen in the streets of cities that are run by liberal Democrats, in every case, is the predictable result of years of extreme indoctrination and bias in education, journalism, and other cultural institutions … … Our children are taught in school to hate their own country, and to believe that the men and women who built it were not heroes, but that were villains.
The radical view of American history is a web of lies — all perspective is removed, every virtue is obscured, every motive is twisted, every fact is distorted, and every flaw is magnified until the history is purged and the record is disfigured beyond all recognition … No movement that seeks to dismantle these treasured American legacies can possibly have a love of America at its heart … No person who remains quiet at the destruction of this resplendent heritage can possibly lead us to a better future …
The radical ideology attacking our country advances under the banner of social justice. But in truth, it would demolish both justice and society. It would transform justice into an instrument of division and vengeance, and it would turn our free and inclusive society into a place of repression, domination, and exclusion … We will not be silenced …
We declare that the United States of America is the most just and exceptional nation ever to exist on Earth … Our country was founded on Judeo-Christian principles, and we understand — that these values have dramatically advanced the cause of peace and justice throughout the world … We believe in equal opportunity, equal justice, and equal treatment for citizens of every race, background, religion, and creed. Every child, of every color — born and unborn — is made in the holy image of God. We want free and open debate, not speech codes and cancel culture … We only kneel to Almighty God …
It is time for our politicians to summon the bravery and determination of our American ancestors.
See the full edition.