Two hundred thirty-six years ago, a group of farmers, merchants and lawyers, citizens of the British colonies in the land called America, exasperated at their treatment by a repressive colonial government, did an extraordinary and very dangerous act by declaring the collective independence of their individual colonies, now to be sovereign States, from England.

The immortal words of the Declaration of Independence reflect the revolutionary ideas of those colonists who decided they valued their freedom over their security:

“When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights. That among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to affect their Safety and Happiness.”

On this 4th of July, let us all celebrate the principles that this great nation stands for: Life, Liberty and the right to pursue happiness, free from the intrusive restraints of government. The revolution that started on July 4th 1776 was the spark that ignited the quest for Liberty in mankind throughout the world. We must be careful that the light of Liberty which originated in this unique country not be extinguished or dimmed.

Read the full text of the Declaration of Independence.

Also read this excellent article:  The Philosophical Meaning and Greatness of the Declaration of Independence.

Adapted from a post originally published by Gary Aminoff.