In the next 17 days, Jefferson drafted one of the most beautiful and powerful testaments to liberty and equality in the history of mankind.
• Comment: The TV tells me today that 60 percent of American “strong liberals” said no when asked if they often feel proud to be American. Well, I am liberal about lots of things, but I never claimed to be a “Liberal.” I choose to be an old-fashioned patriot when it comes to this land that gives so much to the world and asks only for land to bury its dead. My father served in both World Wars and I served four years in WWII. In the South Pacific we did not joke about patriotism; it was in us like the red blood in our veins. The pride I feel at being a red, white and blue American is a quiet inhabiting spirit that never ever leaves me.
•In June of 1776, the Continental Congress appointed a five-man committee made up of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman and Robert Livingston to draft a Declaration of Independence. The committee then chose Jefferson to write the declaration's first draft.
John Adams commented that Jefferson was selected for his “happy talent for composition and singular felicity of expression.” In the next 17 days, Jefferson drafted one of the most beautiful and powerful testaments to liberty and equality in the history of mankind. The document opens with a Preamble stressing the natural rights of all human beings, and then enumerates the specific grievances against King George III that relieved the American colonies of any further allegiance to the British Crown. Although the Declaration of Independence adopted on July 4, 1776 underwent a series of revisions from Jefferson's original draft, the celebrated words remain for the most part his own: “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.”
Jefferson’s “wisdom” spoke: “If we can but prevent the government from wasting the labours of the people under the pretence of taking care of them, they must become happy.”
It would seem that present President Obama was “out to lunch” when Jefferson’s pertinent sage words were in the air. Obama’s entire administration is based on what Jefferson said would end American democracy.
“No freeman shall ever be debarred the use of arms [within his own lands or tenements].” The liberty to possess arms is, in Jefferson’s words, unequivocal.
Jefferson stated: “When they get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe.” Could Jefferson have prophetically foreseen our future’s politically overcrowded Washington?
“The tree of liberty,” said Jefferson, “must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” Well, we have seen enough tyrants and shed plenty of blood!
Jefferson continues: “I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, or in philosophy, a cause for withdrawing from a friend. The glow of one warm thought is to me worth more than money”
“To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical.” Doesn’t this maxim apply to today’s ObamaCare?
“I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.” Right on, Jefferson.
“Educate and inform the whole mass of people ... They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty. ”
“Our greatest happiness does not depend on the condition of life in which chance has placed us, but is always the result of a good conscience, good health, occupation, and freedom in all just pursuits.”
These words of Thomas Jefferson leave us an inheritance of wise intelligence and valuable morality that, if we heed them, will guide us confidently into the future. Will we heed them?
Happy Fourth of July!
•Both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died on the 4th of July in 1826 — exactly 50 years after the Declaration of Independence!