|Language of Liberty|
Friday, July 8, 2016
American Liberty: A 5000-Year Miracle Celebrates 240 Years
By Susan Frickey, Center for Self Governance student
“We, the People . . .” are the three most powerful words in the history of world governments. It was the promise of a new way of self-governance; a profoundly unique experiment born of America’s 13 colonies and defended with the blood of Patriots.
But today, battles rage among a divided people over an array of issues. At the center of the conflict is an oversized American government no longer bound by constitutional limits and retaining only a vague recollection of the finite powers delegated to it at the time of its creation.
As Americans we should honor and celebrate the continued promise of our nation, the one and only established in the belief that people can govern themselves. Ours is the oldest, written, national constitution still in operation in the world today. Having set us apart from all other civilized nations, it has made America exceptional - a term all Americans have a duty to understand.
Six long years of revolution against Britain produced bloodshed, death, destruction, misery and deprivation. Patriots willingly and courageously paid the price with only a hope that FREE men could finally govern themselves–not a king or tyrant or bloated nanny state. It was farmers, shopkeepers, fishermen; common men armed with little more than a dream of liberty who took on the world’s greatest army of that time-Great Britain’s military machine-to make the dream a reality.
The dream began with our Declaration of Independence. The 56 men who signed our Declaration knew that by signing, they faced a penalty of death by hanging, but they signed anyway, breathing life into the dream with no guarantee of success. Consider their sacrifice so we could enjoy freedom:
• Francis Lewis had his home and estate plundered. His wife was captured and brutalized, eventually dying.
• Philip Livingston was forced to flee from his family to keep them safe, and died alone.
•John Hart left his dying wife and 13 children, hiding in caves and forests as a fugitive. When he could finally return safely, his 13 children were gone and his wife was dead. He died alone, a broken man.
• Robert Morris, the “Financier of the American Revolution,” sacrificed his vast fortune and his credit to the dream, dying a pauper.
• Thomas Heyward, Edward Rutledge and Arthur Middleton also lost their vast fortunes while in British prisons.
• Thomas Nelson Jr. served as a commander in the militia despite poor health and spent his personal fortune on the cause. At the Battle of Yorktown, he ordered his own home destroyed by cannon fire while it was under British occupation.
• Abraham Clark was told his two sons were captured by the British and were being tortured on a British prison ship. The British offered to set his sons free if he would renounce his signature on the Declaration of Independence. With a heavy heart, he answered “NO.”
How many of us today believe so strongly in the miracle we live daily that we would pay the price these men and women paid? Would you sacrifice your Life, your Fortune and your Sacred Honor to keep the dream alive for your children and future generations?
When settlers landed on North American shores in 1620, they brought with them the same type of tools and implements commonly used for over 5,000 years. But in the 1830’s, barely over 200 years later and only fifty years after the people of America established a new government, the young United States was already competing commercially with the major European nations. The first giant leap for mankind was not Neil Armstrong walking on the moon. It was America’s amazing 5 millennia leap of ingenuity. Liberty leaves room for creativity and innovation to flourish, which produces prosperity. And the American experiment was working like a well-oiled machine.
For the last 240 years, American ingenuity has been world famous. Innovation and creativity has made Americans ambassadors of economic freedom all over the globe. America is known as the place where dreams can come true for anyone, where better lives can be attained if hard work is applied. Because of freedom, we enjoy one of the world’s highest standards of living. We live longer, healthier, safer and more comfortable lives than anywhere else in the world. Americans have built the best hospitals, universities and national parks and made them accessible to everyone.
Because our government protects inventions as intellectual property, Americans have improved agriculture, invented countless labor-saving devices, automobiles, aircraft, transportation systems and even spaceships. We now have unimaginable electronic devices, staggering leaps forward in science, technology, medicine, huge advances in exploration of the earth and space, and of course, the internet.
No other country on earth has welcomed and united so many people from so many different religions, backgrounds, races, and nationalities. Those who escape oppression and yearn for a better life as an American citizen have been received into the U.S where immigrants are only asked that they enter legally, learn to speak English, learn the customs, government, and laws, and become loyal American citizens who cherish their freedom.
Americans are the most generous people on earth. The U.S. boasts the most extensive and extraordinary collection of charitable, philanthropic and civic organizations, and has always been the world’s largest source of humanitarian aid. Americans voluntarily donate hundreds of billions of dollars to charities of their choice each year, and do billions of hours of volunteer work. Wherever there is a disaster, Americans are the first to bring aid.
Our military is the greatest defender of freedom in the world and has liberated more people from tyranny than any other nation in history. We have buried multitudes of our finest men and women in foreign graves defending freedom overseas.
How was all of this possible? Because of the foresight of our Founding Fathers who wrote the most incredible roadmap for freedom that ever existed, and because of our deep and abiding belief and reliance on God. “In God We Trust” is our national motto and we have never been reluctant to say, “let us pray.”
And so, my fellow Americans let us pray.
Let us pray that we never forget our founders’ sacrifice for American liberty; that we have the fortitude to come back to our founding principles; that we breathe life into that dream again. Let us be an inspiration to people all over the world who hunger for the freedom and opportunity we take for granted. Let us become avid students of our Constitution and proudly teach our children the true history of American exceptionalism, and what freedom has accomplished. Let us speak out LOUDLY in defense of our Constitution; especially protecting the Bill of Rights. And in the midst of all the issues and candidates, let us come together undivided as one nation under God. We pray in His name for His wisdom and assistance. We pray we are worthy of continuing the greatest human experiment in liberty the world has ever seen. May God bless America once again!
The Language of Liberty series is a collaborative effort of the Center for Self Governance (CSG) Administrative Team. CSG is a non-profit, non-partisan educational organization, dedicated to training citizens in applied civics. The authors include administrative staff, selected students, and guest columnists. The views expressed by the authors are their own and do not reflect the views of CSG. They may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org