As we celebrate Independence Day, we should probably pause and ask ourselves an important question.

Independence from what?

On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, declaring the 13 American colonies free and independent states. It was an act of secession.

And in the eyes of the British and many loyal Americans, an act of treason.

So, what drove the Americans to “dissolve the political bands 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 reading of the Declaration of Independence reveals the answer. In fact, the document primarily served to enumerate the colonists’ grievances. As Jefferson put it, “A decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

Most Americans know the opening paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence. They know “all men are created equal,” “endowed with their creator” and “life liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Some even understand, “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,” (Although according to Abraham Lincoln, that was merely rhetoric for the times.)

But very few can tell you even one reason why the Americans actually declared their independence.

On this Fourth of July, I would like to encourage you to actually read through the grievances. The list may give you pause and make you wonder whether we retain the independence the founding generation fought for.

Following are just a few causes that should give us pause today, and make us question our own level of independence. As you look at these grievances, think about the relationship between the federal government and your own state legislatures. Think about the surveillance and police states. Think about the United Nations. Think about the federal regulatory bureaucracy.

“He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.”

“He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.”

“He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation.”

“For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us.”

“For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States.”

“For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent.”

“For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury,”

“For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments.”

“For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.”

Fighting for freedom, liberty and independence was not a one-shot deal.

Happy Independence Day!


Mike Maharrey

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