Reflections on the Birth of the Land of Liberty
by Dennis Jamison 7/6/2019
Last week American citizens celebrated the birth of our nation. Reflecting on the significance, on the threshold of the 2020 elections, there is more to the matter than just another observance of fireworks displays. Today, the fireworks are between two growing factions of Americans who are now being pressed to choose between belief and action, between words and deeds. It is a real choice regarding practical application of the ideals interwoven into the founding documents — especially the Declaration of Independence.
I happen to believe that the ideals embedded in the fabric of the Founding Documents were inspired by our Father in Heaven. I also believe that Americans have been tested and our nation have been growing according to our response and desire to protect and to fully establish those fundamental ideals on earth. The point of the Independence Day holiday is to honor those ideals at the bedrock of the Land of the Free. Unfortunately, citizens do not always remember the value and purpose of the day, let alone the value and purpose of the United States of America.
Especially the Declaration of Independence formulates a framework and a premise for all people to declare their reliance upon freedom and reject tyranny, it represents not just an affirmation of faith, it remains a very real challenge for all of humanity. Truly, the ideals of the Declaration of Independence Still Challenge the World.
Brave and brilliant men were willing to pledge “… their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor… ” to fight for the cause of Independence to create a nation of freedom. It was the appeal to the concept of self-government and freedom from tyrants. And certainly, the consequences of the Declaration’s call to action altered the course of human history; the world had never witnessed a revolution like common colonists fighting against tyranny to create a Land of the Free.
The words of the Declaration of Independence represented what these men would agree upon regarding declaring Independence from the Crown and creating a new nation based upon the principles of freedom. And they were under no illusions that it would not involve great cost.
The words of the Declaration were also a powerful explanation to the rest of the world of why freedom itself was so important, and without Thomas Jefferson’s deep philosophical framework of ideals embedded within the Declaration of Independence, there may never have been a nation that valued the pursuit of freedom. Yet, Leftists and Progressives are questioning the value of the beginning of the Declaration, and are attempting to eradicate the “self-evident truths” that the Founders could clearly see.
These self-evident truths of the Founders are the underpinnings of the Land of the Free, but Jefferson’s words formed a premise for all people to declare their alliance with the belief that all men were created equal and that all were endowed by the Creator with the unalienable rights of Life, Liberty and freedom in the Pursuit of Happiness. Such ideals had been around for some time, but they were woven into the very fabric of the Declaration of Independence, and it was more than a philosophical treatise.
Indeed, specific ideals embedded within the Declaration of Independence served as a powerful statement to the rest of the world why freedom itself was essential:
“… 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…”
Yet, Americans are the ones who have been most challenged over the centuries to live up to these ideals; they have sparked civil disruption and outright warfare within the United States. Such ideals are a challenge to the entire world, and to all people to abide by in their nations. Certainly, the American War for Independence changed the world with respect to the expectations of self-government as opposed to tyranny. Thomas Paine’s Common Sense may have expressed this sentiment best:
“We have it in our power to begin the world all over again. A situation similar to the present, hath not happened since the days of Noah until now. The birth-day of a new world is at hand, and a race of men perhaps as numerous as all Europe contains, are to receive their portion of freedom…”
Such noble sentiments from Paine stirred the minds and hearts of the American public, and gave the leaders in the Continental Congress a playbook for the course of action that needed to be pursued to plot a course towards independence; especially it was Paine’s call for a document to express to the world America’s ideals for freedom. And the Declaration was written, and not just for Americans, or a bunch of old white guys; it was for all mankind.
The words of the Declaration of Independence summoned all people of conscience to fight for the noble ideals linked to freedom. Yet, many today confuse conception with accomplishment, mistake ideals to equal fulfillment. While the fundamental ideals inscribed in the Declaration had existed since ancient times, they had remained only ideals. By creating a nation dedicated to such ideals, the ideals needed to be implemented by future generations who would value those same ideals. Thomas Jefferson had skillfully woven into the core of the Declaration a manifesto for the freedom of all people, aligning with what Thomas Paine had claimed in Common Sense: that the cause of America was the cause of the world!
Beyond mere belief in previously postulated ideas, the Declaration of Independence created an intellectual or philosophical framework of ideals that sparked and sustained the American colonists’ fight for freedom and the ideological framework for a nation based upon principles of freedom. Initially, it took many years of sacrifice and suffering before genuine independence was accomplished through the Paris Peace Treaty on September 3, 1783. Nevertheless, the high ideals of the Declaration of Independence were such noble ideals that they were beyond the reach of most people, not only in the last quarter of the 18th century but throughout America’s history.
In fact, properly viewed, the history of the United States is a history of a people fighting to implement such incredibly high ideals. The first great confrontation over these ideals in the United States took place in the middle of the 19th century through the horrendous warfare in the American Civil War. This struggle was centered upon the single concept of whether “all” men were created equal. Those in the Deep South, who eventually attempted to destroy the U.S. Constitution, had been informed by their ancestors that Jefferson had not meant “all” men when they had signed the Declaration of Independence—he only meant “all free men.”
The second great confrontation over these ideals in the United States occurred in the middle of the 20th century through the political and social unrest of the Civil Rights Movement. This struggle was centered upon the single concept of what “equal” truly represented within the specific ideal that all were “created equal.” After slavery had been abolished in the United States through the Thirteenth Amendment, there remained the residue from resentment and hatred in the Southern governmental establishments that legalized the restriction and outright prevention of citizens’ freedoms and civil liberties. This became the reason for the Civil Rights Movement, and the rise of the central personage of the struggle: Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Dr. King was fighting against a White power structure whose leaders had inherited attitudes of racial prejudice from their slave-owning ancestors who had established a system of political thought and instilled an attitude of superiority that Dr. King fought against in the laws of the “reconstructed” South. He fought against the inability to speak up or speak out; he fought for the freedom to voice one’s concerns and to vote in a South that had been under the mental and physical control of the aristocratic, power-hungry Democrat politicians of the old South since the days of Andrew Jackson.
The third great confrontation over the ideals in the one sentence of the Declaration of independence is taking place right now in the United States. At the beginning of the 21st century, there is a struggle centered upon the integral concept of all people being endowed by God with unalienable rights: Life, Liberty, and the freedom to Pursue Happiness. This struggle has been initiated through political and social unrest brought about by the thought originating with the “Progressive” Left. Under a guise of eliminating racism, prejudice, and discrimination, the Democrats, the spearhead of the “Progressives,” is once again attempting to manipulate people’s lives through control and dominion under a legal construction of their own making.
Almost a half-century after Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, a question that needs to be asked is whether genuine leadership exists within the contemporary American political spectrum to help in retaining the ideals that have kept this nation strong and vibrant for over 240 years. While the Declaration of Independence formulated a framework and a premise for all people to declare their reliance upon freedom and rejection of tyranny, it remains a demand for what all human beings should expect in their lives on this planet. The Declaration of Independence is still a call to people of conscience to fight for such noble ideals. Today, the existence of True Freedom still depends upon the people with common sense who cherish it.