Thinking About Independence

Thomas Jefferson wrote the following regarding the celebration of the 4th of July:

“May [the Declaration of Independence] be to the world… the signal of arousing men to burst the chains under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings and security of SELF-GOVERNMENT. That form which we have substituted, restores the free right to the unbounded exercise of reason and freedom of opinion. All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has NOT been born with saddles on their backs, NOR a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God. These are grounds of hope for others. For ourselves, let the annual return of this day forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them.”

How powerful is Jefferson’s idea of a nation which protects as its first principle each man and woman’s right to self determination as defined by their own “unbounded exercise of reason and freedom of opinion”?

On this Independence Day Continue reading