Here’s What The 4th Of July Is Really All About

Happy 4th of July!  We celebrate independence day today, but what does that mean to you?

I write to remind everyone that we celebrate today the birth of our nation.  It is important to remember that today we celebrate the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, 4 July 1776.  While the US Constitution is an incredibly good and important document, it wasn’t ratified until 21 June 1788.  The distinction between the two is incredibly important.

The US Constitution creates and limits the US Government whereas the Declaration of Independence politically severed us from England and created a new nation.  The US Constitution creates a framework of a corporation to take care of the public affairs of a country, essentially our janitorial service; it does not create rights, it does not create a nation, it does nothing to actually ensure the liberty of you or your family.

On 19 November 1863 President Lincoln stated that 87 years earlier:

… our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

87 years before that speech is 1776; not 1788.

All of this is rather remedial, but profoundly important.  We must remember that today we celebrate that we are the people of the states united by the common body of fundamental principles and first of all we are each of us free and independent, that 239 years ago our ancestors engendered a new nation, not a new government, and that when you close your eyes and imagine the United States, you should first see the faces of the individuals in it and not the government lording over it.

What do we mean when we say that first of all we seek liberty? I often wonder whether we do not rest our hopes too much upon constitutions, upon laws, and upon courts. These are false hopes; believe me, these are false hopes. Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it; no constitution, no law, no court can even do much to help it. While it lies there, it needs no constitution, no law, no court to save it.

Irving Dilliard, The Spirit of Liberty: Papers and Addresses of Learned Hand, 189-190 (3d ed. 1974).

I say all of the above as an admonishment to the individual citizens of the United States and to our janitorial service.  The latter serves our nation at our whim and pleasure, and on this 239th anniversary of an act of high treason, we must remember what we’ve done, what we’ve achieved, and what we must continue to do to maintain our charge of liberty.


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