The Legacy of 1776

From the preamble of the Declaration of Independence:

“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.”

The United States was founded on the highest ideals of the Enlightenment, that we the people would and could govern ourselves, with the reins of government firmly in our own hands, guaranteeing Life and Liberty, and the God-given right of every individual the opportunity to fulfill his or her potential for the good of all and the glory of the nation.  That this ‘franchise’ has expanded from white men of a certain class to including virtually all is a testament that the nation was founded on the proper principles; that all are not yet included therein points to work yet to be done.

The United States is, and always was meant to be, a work in progress. It seems now that this work has stalled, and everyone has an option as to why. The Liberals will tell you that the Conservatives are to blame, while the Conservatives will point back at the Liberals. In truth, if we don’t stop demonizing each other, and don’t start talking to each other, don’t begin to treat each other with the respect and dignity that all deserve, we cannot solve our nation’s, nor our world’s, many problems.

Against terrible odds, the citizens of the newly created American republic fought and won a long and bloody war for independence. Then, against also equally long odds, Liberals and Conservatives among the founding generation sat down, hammered out their differences, and forged a nation that likes of which the world has never seen—that of a people ruled by their own governance.

Now, over two centuries later, we can look out across world and see many democratically elected governments where before there were none, and in seeing this we cannot doubt the importance of the American Revolution.  This is the clear legacy of 1776, but both Liberals and Conservatives from across the nation and across the globe, can also see that there is still much to be done. While it is true that with regards to many pressing issues, we do not see eye-to-eye, but rather than let such conflicts divide us, can we not consider that from this clash of differing opinions, the true and proper path will reveal itself?

The founding generation of the United Stated embarked on a great experiment that laid the foundation for human happiness and the fulfillment of human potential. Can we not now come together and make ourselves worthy of this legacy?

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