Despite ‘Interpretations,’ Its Meaning Remains the Same
On July 2nd, 1776, our Founding Fathers voted to declare independence from Great Britain. On July 4th, they attached their signatures to a document that will be hailed as one of the greatest statements for individual freedom ever written.
The preamble states the basic principles of individual rights, liberty, equality, and self-government – or “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
Over the 233 years since the world’s most influential statement was put on parchment, our country has prospered as no other. Why?
True individual rights were granted. Liberty was granted. Equality established. The People gave their consent to be governed.
Nowhere on this earth had this noble experiment been tried before. Based on the ideas of several men and several years of tinkering, they – years later – established a limited federal government to provide a mutual benefit to the individual and sovereign states that comprised this upstart nation.
Now, as we celebrate our independence and freedom, let us not forget to protect those same freedoms that were fought for over the last 200 years.
Over the past 100 years, both Republican-run administrations and Democrat-run administrations have trampled on the Constitution and the ideals set forth in The Declaration of Independence. Whether it was the Progressive paternal state of Theodore Roosevelt, or the Progressive maternal state of Woodrow Wilson, the budding socialism of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal, or the unconstitutional additions of government agencies under presidencies from Dwight Eisenhower to Barack Obama.
Only two presidents attempted to push back this crimson tide; they were Presidents Calvin Coolidge and Ronald Reagan.
This generation knows very little of this early 20th century president. He is likely overlooked due to the giants that preceded and succeeded him. He was preceded by Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson and followed by Herbert Hoover and FDR.
President Coolidge, who took the oath of office due to the death of Warren G. Harding, was a “hands-off” president who believed in the free market and the true intent of the founding documents of our nation. He knew that the Declaration of Independence was one of the most important documents ever written. He stated in this July 5th, 1926, address:
“About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers.”
Truer words couldn’t have been written today. President Coolidge obviously was responding to the original Progressive movement – the precursor to European socialism.
Voices of liberty need to speak to this new Progressive movement that is growing today. We can no longer enjoy our individual rights, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, equal opportunity under the law, and the ability to truly self-govern if we give in to the further encroachments of the federal government.
President Coolidge was right. If we believe that the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution are ideas of yesteryear, then we are doomed to proceed “backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people.”
Now, in 2015, we the citizens have become “the masses” to the political elite. Our elected officials have anointed themselves “the ruling class” and not the elected public servants of The People. We have failed.
When the men of 1776 signed the Declaration of Independence, many felt that they were signing their own death warrants, but they knew that by establishing a truly free nation and creating a country that recognized the individual, not the state, they were doing the right thing.
As we watch the “rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air…” Saturday evening, remember our millions of veterans who have fought to preserve the liberties that are espoused in The Declaration of Independence. We need to take our country back. We need to look to political candidates who understand its meaning and put us back on the right track. Let us not retreat to the days of servitude!