Happy Independence Day Friends! The Fourth of July has long been one of my favorite holidays. It’s the epitome of Summer, freedom, family, friends and America. Watermelon, cooking out, fireworks, water and fun. We are blessed beyond compare.
I won’t take much of your time today as you celebrate with family friends, I just want to give a few thoughts on this great country on it’s Independence Day.
In the notorious play, Hamilton, there’s a song called, “The World Turned Upside Down”. It was rumored that once General Cornwallis waved the white flag of defeat, the British soldiers were heard singing an old drinking song called, “The World Turned Upside Down”. While there’s no way to confirm whether or not they actually did sing this song, the words are no less relevant.
The world turned upside down.
What better way to describe what happened to the world when America gained her independence than to say: The world was turned upside down.
One of the British colonies did something unthinkable. She fought back and defeated the British Empire. But it doesn’t stop there. It was not a revolution that led to anarchy, chaos, tyranny and more revolution. This same British colony did two unthinkable acts in a row. She defeated the great British Empire and then successfully created a government and nation that has stood the test of time ever since.
The world has never been the same.
Just think about the courage it took to first declare independence, based on the reason and logic laid out by John Locke, successfully gain independence from the strongest military at the time, and then successfully establish a new, stable, liberty-promoting government from nothing.
And yet, somehow, by God’s grace, this country did all of this and hasn’t looked back since. The liberty that was fought and died for fundamentally changed the world in ways those who did the fighting, dying and establishing could never have imagined.
And yet, I think there was a sense, at the time, of potential greatness, of greatness that seemed almost fiction but also drove those who founded this nation. It was as if they knew they were living in a moment. The stars were aligned in a way that felt like there was something predestining this nation for greatness.
One such founder, whose pen name was Brutus says:
"If the constitution, offered to your acceptance, be a wise one, calculated to preserve the invaluable blessing of liberty, to secure the inestimable rights of mankind, and promote human happiness, then if you accept it, you will lay a lasting foundation of happiness for millions yet unborn; generations to come will rise up and call you blessed. You may rejoice in the prospects of this vast extended continent becoming filled with freemen, who will assert the dignity of human nature. You may solace yourselves with the idea, that society, in this favored land, will fast advance to the highest point of perfection; the human mind will expand I knowledge and virtue, and the golden age be, in some measure, realized."
The weight of the moment was not lost on our founders. The colonies had in their grasp the potential for more than any country had held before or since. Liberty, established on the firm foundation of the Biblical understanding of human nature, could release mankind to do the unimaginable. And the world has progressed and changed in ways generations before could only dream of. It has advanced to the highest point of perfection and the human mind has expanded in knowledge and virtue. Just think of all that has changed in the world since America first burst onto the scene. Its impact is nigh immeasurable.
With the advent of liberty, true liberty, introduced to the world by this country, a golden age has been realized.
The world was turned upside down.
And yet, this Brutus finishes his monologue with a sobering and fair warning, one that we should still heed today.
"But if, on the other hand, this form of government captain's principles that will lead to the subversion of liberty--if it tends to establish despotism, or, what is worse, a tyrannic aristocracy; then, if you adopt it, this only remaining asylum for liberty will be shut up, and posterity will execrate your memory."
This country, even with its flaws and evils, has long stood for liberty in a world where liberty is sparse. When we celebrate Independence Day here in America we don’t just celebrate our independence, we celebrate the chance, the hope for liberty that we offer to the world. Something that even those who founded this country knew and understood. There’s a weight to the name America. An expectation and duty. Even those who founded us considered this weight as they faced the impossible task of creating a government strong enough to stand the test of time with matchless stability in a world of chaos and anarchy but weak enough, with enough checks and balances, to not only preserve but promote the liberty of its people.
Ah friends, today is a day to celebrate. Today we celebrate that first moment, the first step after years and years of petitions to the King and parliament, when the men and women of these colonies declared that they’d had enough. In this country, liberty was no longer just an idea but a reality to be fought for and defended…at all costs.
It was this day, 246 years ago, that the colonies dared the impossible.
“Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united states of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And 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.“The Declaration of Independence
And the world turned upside down.
The Liberty Belle