Tag Archives: Independence Day

At Sea in America

horizon 2The Declaration of Independence is an astounding document. It’s short (you should read it). The majority of its content is actually an enumeration of “injuries and usurpations” by the British monarch King George III against the American Colonies, but the most interesting part is the first three sentences which give a rationale for why it is necessary for “one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another.” The following “unalienable rights” that the Declaration lists—Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness—would become the shorthand for what America stands for, and would be the lifeblood of the next great document to be produced by the new country: the Constitution. G.K. Chesterton once observed, “America is alone in having begun her national career with a definite explanation of what she intended to be. And this is an experiment of the highest historical and philosophical interest.” Continue reading

Faith And Sight

Today is the 4th of July, the 235th birthday of our nation, as it were.  I’m not entirely sure what I’ll be doing yet, but I anticipate various grilled and delicious foods, a lot of relaxing, and hopefully some illegal fireworks.  Among our current Federal holidays, Independence Day is one of the more straightforward and worthy of the days to close our banks and post offices, I think (Washington’s b-day, Labor Day, and Columbus Day I have my reservations about).  The beginning of a nation, especially one founded on a set of principles and not merely geography or a distinct racial identity, is monumental.  It’s even more so when that beginning is intrinsically bound with the ending of its prior identity as a set of colonies belonging to another nation, hence Independence Day.  Though we often memorialize that set of principles on the 4th as the basis for declaring independence, the holiday is primarily for celebrating the reality of independence itself.  Since independence is a reality, a definite and verifiable situation or condition, and if it were not always so, it must logically have an origin or starting point.  I think it’s interesting that we commemorate that starting point on the anniversary of the ratifying of the Declaration of Independence. Continue reading