From the Declaration of Independence:
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. 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.
While we’re grilling, watching fireworks, and taking part in other Fourth of July festivities, I hope we can all appreciate the incredible expansion of liberty that we’ve accomplished as a nation over the past two hundred forty six years. And hopefully there are many more years of expansion of individual liberties in the future.
On a related note, the Declaration of Independence always reminds me of the Disney short Ben and Me. It’s a great little fictional story about Benjamin Franklin and a church mouse named Amos who we discover was the actual inventor of bifocals, inspired the Franklin stove, and wrote the opening of the Declaration of Independence.
It was released on VHS and DVD, but it’s difficult to find these days. Luckily, a kind individual has uploaded it to YouTube if you wanted to watch it.