In my studies of the founders during the 1770s, as well as the colonists in the early 1600s, I’ve found a unique and common thread tying them all together. They all burn with passion for liberty.
They don’t all agree on how to best preserve, protect and promote her, but there’s a shared, undying fervency for liberty that spans generations, states and hearts.
William Bradford, one of the earliest colonial leaders in America in the early 1600s says, “Though I bequeath you no estate, I leave you in the enjoyment of liberty.”
The love of liberty was the glue that tied the early American colonies, disparate in so many ways, together with a single goal and single fight leading to the Revolutionary War. Benjamin Franklin said, “God grant, that not only the Love of Liberty, but a thorough Knowledge of the Rights of Man, may pervade all the Nations of the Earth, so that a Philosopher may set his Foot anywhere on its Surface, and say, ‘This is my Country.”
The love of liberty drove Americans to war with itself to free those who were still suffering in the bondage of slavery.
The love of liberty drove Americans to fight in WWI and WWII in order to defend and protect the country who housed liberty.
Liberty burns in our hearts like a flame that cannot be put out. The never-ending fire fascinates me. How is that, this shared love of liberty can still burn so strongly in the hearts of so many different generations of Americans over centuries of time?
And yet, the love of liberty that burns in the hearts of Americans is unique from the passion for “freedom” that is seemingly motivating many around the world to push back against “COVID tyranny”.
By this, I mean… there is no citizen of another country that looks back at its founding, the documents, the reasonings, the Constitution, the debates, the struggles and more quite like the citizens of American do.
Some of this is due to the fact that many countries don’t have just one founding. Most countries have lived through innumerable “Republics” or “Regimes” or “Constitutions” or whatever other form of government they’ve had over time. For instance, France, after WWII, established their Fifth Republic since the late 1800s.
But, here in America the ideas, the understanding, the fervor for liberty is inextricably tied to our one and only founding, Constitution and the like.
Americans cling to that liberty in a way no other country can because no other country has our founding (just as we don’t have theirs).
Liberty was the reason for America’s settlement as a colony and eventual revolution and establishment as its own country.
Such a reason was and still is, remarkably unique.
I say all this because I’ve started to notice something unique burning in the hearts of the many Americans I interact with on a daily basis. Yes, this is anecdotal as it is tied to my personal experience, but something tells me, I’m noticing something far more expansive than the mere subset I’ve encountered.
When teaching my college students, giving educational Constitutional talks to groups with a range of ideological slants, and simply interacting with individuals who I run into at the store or the hair salon, I’ve noticed that they all share something in common. I think it’s something we all share in common here in America–something we not only share in common with ourselves today but with generations before us.
Everyone, no matter who they are, seems to have a strong and almost visible reaction against anything I say that smells of arbitrary government power over them and a similar though favorable and passionate reaction to anything I say that touches on liberty and the Constitution protecting that liberty.
And to clarify, I have interacted with individuals who are not American and I do not get this same reaction.
It’s like this visceral reaction against government, along with a burning passion for liberty, almost lives in the DNA of an American. And it really all began when those first colonists set sail for the New World, in hopes of promoting liberty through a reasoned and limited government.
Somehow, the burning fires of liberty that were lit during this colonizing era have never gone out.
Yes…there are many in America who seem to have forgotten or who seem to have misplaced this passion, but I challenger you reader to find any fellow American–aside from those in government–who would jump at the idea of living under an arbitrary unconfined government. I challenge you to find any American who would unabashedly claim to hate liberty.
Many want liberty to do the wrong things. Many want government overreach to fix the abuses of free man without considering the consequence of giving more power to other abusive men.
But, what happens when they learn the truth? What happens when the light of the Constitution and reality is shown on what they’ve been asking for and the long term consequences?
In my experience, that everlasting generational fire–those burning embers of liberty–if stoked with knowledge, burst aflame again in a way that even they didn’t realize their hearts had the capacity for.
Yes, there are some who may be beyond saving… but friends, there’s something unique about the American and his burning heart for liberty.
It’s that burning ember I want to fan into a flame with this liberty loving blog. And it’s that flame that gives me hope for the future.
And it’s that flame that will keep this country from falling into the utter darkness of tyranny.
“The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil constitution, are worth defending at all hazards; and it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors: they purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood, and transmitted them to us with care and diligence. It will bring an everlasting mark of infamy on the present generation, enlightened as it is, if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or be cheated out of them by the artifices of false and designing men.” Samuel Adams, Article in the Boston Gazette, October 14, 1771
The Liberty Belle
8 thoughts on “The Burning Embers of Liberty”
Thank you, once again, for a thought provoking entry. I’ve come to realize that my friends with a more liberal persuasion feel the same way as I do but that their love of liberty is that which needs to be fanned..Often times, in our discussions, I have to remind them that though we may disagree on certain things our fundamental desire for liberty is always a common denominator.
So encouraging to hear that I’m not the only one experiencing this!
I was just reading Kevin Williamsons column in National Review this morning concerning how the left and right look at liberty and Covid. I’ve copied only a small part of it below but it makes you look not only at Covid but opposing views through a different lens. The entire piece is worth reading and I highly recommend it. It’s entitled : “Towards A Politics of Charity”
“Americans in our time who would like our politics reoriented toward liberty should, if only for practical reasons, try at least a little to understand the point of view of those Americans who are not oriented mainly toward liberty, who are instead oriented toward something else, such as safety, equality, nationalism, or some other competing priority. The reaction to Covid-19 offers a convenient opportunity to do so”.
“And it is no good engineering an explanation in order to flatter ourselves, telling ourselves the comforting little story that those who disagree with us do so because they have been misled (by left-leaning educators or “the media”) or because of some personal moral failing (cowardice, laziness, bigotry). There are many intelligent and excellent people who see the world very differently from how we do, and they didn’t all come to their views by reading Paul Krugman columns or going to grad school”.
I realized I neglected to include the link to the article after I hit the “Post Comment ” button. My apologies.
Thanks for this!
Ms. McMasters thank you for all your work to not only promote liberty but remind what liberty is and who it belongs to [ all Americans ] , at the present it is because of people like Bob and yourself , that I continue the battle of your powerful 2021 year end publishment on the OATH , I use this and work hard to have it applied so the embers can turn back to a flame , as in Lady Liberty’s torch. Thanks , RON
Chris my writings attempt to merely “temper our passions with reason while never squelching the passion”. Your writings shine a light on the basis of understanding where those passions are formed …….In our Constitution. We are all better citizens due to your relentless work. All the best!………..”B”
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