245 years ago today, a group of exceptional men gathered together to formalize their agreement on a document they’d been working on for a month. The document was a promise, to which they pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor. It was an aspiration, a declaration of ideals that no politician had ever dared utter, much less strive for. Extreme new ideals like unalienable human rights, that government exists by the consent of the people and not some divine right of kings, that those people have the right to change that government, and the revolutionary claim that all men are created equal.
These men signed their names to this promise, and in doing so, declared themselves traitors to the crown of the most powerful nation on earth, standing in open rebellion and defiance of the King himself. These men were well-off. They lived comfortable lives, good lives – and they cast the security of those lives aside in willingness to fight and die for an idea. An idea of liberalism, of liberty, of lofty goals that were unheard of in that time.
Today, 245 years later, we still strive toward that idea. And we celebrate those men, and their willingness to lay down the path we now walk, and to pledge to the world that “for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”
Happy Independence Day.