The year was 1776. The date was July 4th. Men from the thirteen colonies met in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
They signed a Declaration of Independence. It was the beginning of the United States.
The document said that all men are equal. They said all men have the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” They said the king of England was not giving these rights to American colonists. So they had to abolish England’s rule over the colonies.
These were “fighting” words. It had taken many years of oppression before they reached this last stage. They wrote the Declaration out of anger and frustration.
Most of the Declaration is about how the King of England abused the rights of the people of the colonies. At the end of the document, the signers declare their right to be free and independent of England.
In 1776 the colonies demanded independence. It went to war with England. Bloodshed followed. When the war was over America had won. The nation decided it did not want a king or a monarchy. It wanted to elect a president. The United States became a Republic.
The American Constitution was enacted in 1787. It said the United States is a nation governed by “laws not men.
Looking back over the centuries, one sage said, “It is possible to read the history of this country as one long struggle to extend the liberties established in our Constitution to everyone in America.”
The Modern World
The 21st century began with the attack on the World Trade Center in New York City. It was the start of an assault on Western values. The U.S. and other democracies still are trying to find the right way to combat the terrorists. It is not easy.
Terrorists say they will kill men, women and children to a create a “caliphate.” A world governed by the terrorists’ understanding of the teachings of the Muslim religion. The vast majority of Muslims reject this view of Muslim teachings.
This is why July 4th is so important. America began with respect for the rights of the individual. That right is worth preserving.
Source: The Declaration of Independence