“Posterity: you will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it.” ~ John Quincy Adams
Greetings to you and yours on this Independence Day, 2011. I hope you are able to enjoy and celebrate one of the rarest holidays that few in history have ever been able to genuinely celebrate.
It’s our day to celebrate freedom and remember what it cost John Quincy Adams’ generation to bring it to us.
235 Years Ago – Some Very Radical Men Took Very Great Risk
…and we are the beneficiaries.
235 years ago today, American independence from the British crown was declared and 56 men eventually signed our Declaration of Independence.
Thomas Jefferson was the primary author, aided by Benjamin Franklin and John Adams. These and other founding fathers were considered radical men for their day. Signing the Declaration was an act of treason, and the punishment for treason was death.
To accuse the king of “repeated injuries and usurpations” and that Americans were therefore “Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown” was risky and dangerous to the extent that the names of the signers were kept secret for six months.
The authors and the signers understood the risks they were taking, but they knew freedom was worth any price they paid and risk they took. They put faith in their Maker as they declared, signed, and proceeded with their independence, evidenced by the last sentence of the Declaration:
“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”
235 Years Later – We Must Still Hang Together
It is said that at the signing of the Declaration, Benjamin Franklin stated these words:
“Yes, we must indeed all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.”
235 years later, we must indeed, under God, hang together if we are going to maintain and preserve the precious freedoms to which these wise men pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honors.
235 Years Ago – The Moral Basis for Freedom was Penned
It is worth remembering that without the moral basis of our Declaration of Independence, our Constitution is nothing more than a set of processes. For freedom to survive in this greatest of all nations, both documents must be understood and interpreted within the context of the other, and within a proper understanding and context of the times and founding fathers who authored each.
About our Constitution, John Adams said this:
“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
If we neglect Adams’ cautious conditions for a sound Constitution, we do so at our own peril.
235 Years Later – Will We “Make Good Use” of Our Freedom?
In honor of John Quincy Adams’ words, my hope is that this very small post has aided my readers in understanding just a little more the costs for our freedom, and is in some way an encouragement for each of us to make good use of it.
In this historical time for America, we have no choice, unless we are willing to let freedom die.
“Those who have known freedom, and then lost it, have never known it again.” ~ Ronald Reagan
May you and yours have a refreshing celebration of our nation’s founding. May God grant us the wisdom to preserve our freedoms. May God Bless America.
2 Chronicles 7:14