Daily Archives: July 4, 2008

The Full Text of America's Declaration of Independence

In Congress, July 4, 1776.

The UNANIMOUS DECLARATION of the THIRTEEN UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds 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 effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.

To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

Worthy of much pondering I think–read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A.

The Full Text of America's National Anthem

O! say can you see by the dawn’s early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming.
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming.
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
”˜Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

O! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: ”˜In God is our trust.’
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

–Francis Scott Key (1779-1843)

Posted in * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette–Meet the Americans: On the Fourth of July, let's consider who we are

Americans can be dangerous. Sometimes, in the exercise of their rights and freedoms, they can get carried away and lose all perspective.

In politics, for instance, the freedom to speak out does not constrain people like retired Gen. Wesley Clark from trying to diminish the military record of Sen. John McCain.

The freedom to espouse one’s religion allows a legislator like Daryl Metcalfe of Cranberry to be uncharitable in remarks about members of a faith that is not his own. (Last month he opposed a House resolution commending a Muslim group because they “do not recognize Jesus Christ as God.”)

The right to vote in a safe and open election remains a dream for millions of people in places like Zimbabwe and Myanmar, but too many Americans ignore Election Day and indulge in the cynicism that candidates are all alike. Anybody want to replay Nov. 7, 2000?

All of this says something important on the Fourth of July — that how we exercise our rights reveals as much about us as Americans as the mere fact that we have them. It also says, on this most patriotic of days, that there is more to consider than freedom and liberty.

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A.

Notable and Quotable (III)

“In Philadelphia, the same day as the British landing on Staten Island, July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress, in a momentous decision, voted to ‘dissolve the connection’ with Great Britain. The news reached New York four days later, on July 6, and at once spontaneous celebrations broke out. ‘The whole choir of our officers … went to a public house to testify our joy at the happy news of Independence. We spent the afternoon merrily,’ recorded Isaac Bangs.”

“A letter from John Hancock to Washington, as well as the complete text of the Declaration, followed two days later:

“‘That our affairs may take a more favorable turn,’ Hancock wrote, ‘the Congress have judged it necessary to dissolve the connection between Great Britain and the American colonies, and to declare them free and independent states; as you will perceive by the enclosed Declaration, which I am directed to transmit to you, and to request you will have it proclaimed at the head of the army in the way you shall think most proper.’ “Many, like Henry Knox, saw at once that with the enemy massing for battle so close at hand and independence at last declared by Congress, the war had entered an entirely new stage. The lines were drawn now as never before, the stakes far higher. ‘The eyes of all America are upon us,’ Knox wrote. ‘As we play our part posterity will bless or curse us.’

“By renouncing their allegiance to the King, the delegates at Philadelphia had committed treason and embarked on a course from which there could be no turning back.

“‘We are in the very midst of a revolution,’ wrote John Adams, ‘the most complete, unexpected and remarkable of any in the history of nations.’

“In a ringing preamble, drafted by Thomas Jefferson, the document declared it ‘self-evident’ that ‘all men are created equal,’ and were endowed with the ‘unalienable’ rights of ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.’ And to this noble end the delegates had pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor.

“Such courage and high ideals were of little consequence, of course, the Declaration itself being no more than a declaration without military success against the most formidable force on Earth. John Dickinson of Pennsylvania, an eminent member of Congress who opposed the Declaration, had called it a ‘skiff made of paper.’ And as Nathanael Greene had warned, there were never any certainties about the fate of war.

“But from this point on, the citizen-soldiers of Washington’s army were no longer to be fighting only for the defense of their country, or for their rightful liberties as freeborn Englishmen, as they had at Lexington and Concord, Bunker Hill and through the long siege at Boston. It was now a proudly proclaimed, all-out war for an independent America, a new America, and thus a new day of freedom and equality.”

–David McCullough, 1776

Posted in * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A.

A Dallas News Editorial: All hail the First Amendment

“The First Amendment really does distinguish the U.S., not just from Canada but from the rest of the Western world,” says writer Mark Steyn, who’s learning it the hard way. Mr. Steyn and Maclean’s, the top-selling Canadian magazine, have faced human rights charges in British Columbia. Their alleged offense? Maclean’s published a Steyn essay critical of Islam, which prompted Muslim activists to file formal charges accusing the writer and the magazine of violating Canada’s hate-speech laws.

Last Friday, the national Human Rights Commission dismissed the charges, but they’re still pending in front of a provincial panel. The victory is less than what it appears. For one thing, defending against the charges cost the magazine hundreds of thousands of dollars. For another, it is frightening to think that a human rights panel has the right to decide what can and cannot be published in a free country.

Read the whole thing.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Law & Legal Issues

Victor Davis Hanson: These two truths should be self-evident

By almost any barometer, the United States remains the most fortunate country in the world. We continue to be the primary destination of immigrants, who risk their lives to have a chance at what we take for granted. Few in contrast are flocking to China, Russia, or India. The catalyst for immigration is primarily a phenomenon of word of mouth, of comparative talking among friends and families about the reality of modern-day living, not of scholarly perusal of social or economic statistics.

When one compares any yardstick of material wealth ”” the number of cars, the square footage of living space, the number of consumer appurtenances ”” Americans are the wealthiest people in the history of civilization. Why so? Others have more iron ore, as much farmland, greater populations, and far more oil reserves. But uniquely in America there remains a system of merit, under which we prosper or fail to a greater extent on the basis of talent, not tribal affiliations, petty bribes, or institutionalized insider help. More importantly still, we are impressed by those who advance rather than envious of their success. The lobster-barrel mentality is a human trait, but in the United States uniquely there is a culture of emulation rather than of resentment, which explains why neither Marxism nor aristocratic pretension ever became fully entrenched in America.

Our system of government remains the most stable and free. Consider the constitutional crises in Europe where national plebiscites continue to reject the European constitution that grows increasingly anti-democratic in order to force its vision of heaven-on-earth on its citizenry. There is no need to mention the politics of China, India, and Russia whose increasing affluence ensures a rendezvous with unionism, class concerns, suburban blues, minority rights, environmentalism ”” all long known and dealt with by the United States. Elsewhere the remedy for tribal and sectarian chaos in Africa or the Middle East is usually authoritarianism.

The current challenge of America is not starvation or loss of political rights ”” we have been far poorer and more unfree in our past, but the complacence that comes with continued success, to such a degree that we think of our bounty as a birthright rather than a rare gift that must be hourly maintained through commitment to the values that made us initially successful: high productivity, risk-taking, transparency, small government, personal freedom, concern for the public welfare, and a certain tragic rather than therapeutic view of the human experience.

In that regard, most of our present pathologies are self-created.

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A.

Detroit News: Independence Day should reinstill hope for America

The Fourth of July is a day to celebrate the courage of the Founders and remind ourselves that Americans can continue to make a difference and put the country back on the right track — as they have done so many times before. They freed the slaves, gave women the vote and spread economic opportunity and liberty at home and abroad.

As French Prime Minister Nicolas Sarkozy told a joint session of Congress last year about U.S. soldiers in World War II: “The children of my generation understood that those young Americans, 20 years old, were true heroes to whom they owed the fact that they were free people and not slaves. France will never forget the sacrifice of your children.”

America will continue to have its problems. It does not have a monopoly on wisdom. But its 232-year track record remains an enviable one that gives hope for the future and is worth celebrating.

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A.

An Open Thread on Independence Day 2008

Let us hear your thoughts.

Posted in Uncategorized

Today's Blogging

It is a good day to reflect on America–her history and founding, her calling and responsibility, her past and her future. Therefore I will keep the posts today exclusively on the Independence Day/America theme. This will help us not to fall into all Anglican all the time myopia–KSH.

Posted in Uncategorized

An Editorial from the Local Paper: The Declaration of Courage

The Declaration’s most famous, and uplifting, passage: “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 straightforward sentence’s timeless appeal remains, to borrow from it, self-evident. But Thomas Jefferson, who wrote the Declaration (with editing help from Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Roger Sherman and Robert Livingston), didn’t stop there.

While pointing out “that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes,” they affirmed that “when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

Thus, the Declaration’s signers ended their “patient sufferance” by daring to reject the British crown’s “absolute Tyranny over these States.”

Those were, and are, extraordinarily powerful words. Yet the Declaration of Independence was much more than a profound and well-written argument. It was a daring action fraught with grave peril for its 56 signatories.

Read the whole thing.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A.

From the Local Paper: 2 patriots, 2 wars, 1 country

Raymond Matthews of Goose Creek and Erik Sheldon of Summerville don’t just fly the flag on the Fourth of July.

They fly it every day.

And with good reason. Their patriotism runs deep.

The soldiers, who fought in two different wars, know what sacrifices the country has made to guarantee everyone’s right to fly the flag, carry a gun or speak freely.

Matthews, 84, took part in the 1944 D-Day invasion of Normandy as an underwater explosives expert with the Navy.

Sheldon, 22, returned in June from America’s fight against terrorists in Afghanistan, where the Army National Guardsman protected American troops who were training Afghan police officers.

Generations apart, and experienced in different methods of combat, they share the experience of war that most Americans will never witness and the fight to guarantee freedoms most Americans take for granted.

Read it all from the front page of today’s Charleston, South Carolina, Post and Courier.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Military / Armed Forces

A Haunting story of the Cost of War for one New Jersey Family

Watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Health & Medicine, Iraq War, Military / Armed Forces

Steve Crain: Memories of Father Stirred by 'Saving Private Ryan'

My father was a quiet man who said little about the war. He did relate that once he lay all night in the snow, pinned down by machinegun fire. Another time, he told of going for medical attention and then returning to find that some of his friends had been killed. Of the photos he gave me, one is my favorite: My father is smiling as he exits a war zone poultry shed with an egg in his hand.

As the film saga of Private Ryan progressed, I thought about what war does to some of its participants. My father was nervous and negative about life, and I’ve wondered if he would have been that way despite the war. My uncle, his younger brother, says he “Wasn’t like that before he went overseas.”

My mother, now deceased, said the same. Growing up, I felt that he was distant, and I was often unsure of our relationship.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Military / Armed Forces

Notable and Quotable

These days I see America identified more and more with material things, less and less with spiritual standards. These days I see America acting abroad as an arrogant, selfish, greedy nation interested only in guns and dollars, not in people and their hopes and aspirations. We need a faith that dedicates us to something bigger and more important than ourselves or our possessions. Only if we have that faith will we be able to guide the destiny of nations in this the most critical period of world history.

–William O. Douglas (1898-1980)

Posted in * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A.

Long, Too Long America

Long, too long America,
Traveling roads all even and peaceful you learn’d from joys and
prosperity only,
But now, ah now, to learn from crises of anguish, advancing,
grappling with direst fate and recoiling not,
And now to conceive and show to the world what your children
en-masse really are,
(For who except myself has yet conceiv’d what your children en-masse
really are?)

–Walt Whitman (1819-1892)

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Poetry & Literature