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Freedom's Gift - The U.S. Declaration of Independence, PDF Version Included Below

The Declaration of Independence, written by Thomas Jefferson, was adopted by the Continental Congress 247 years ago on July 4, 1776. Expressing the advanced political thought of the Enlightenment, the Declaration proclaimed as “self-evident” the “truths”—bitterly opposed by the rulers of the day—that “all men are created equal” and endowed with “unalienable Rights” to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

The Declaration did not end there!

It proclaimed that “[W]henever any Form of Government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundations on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

To the British government in London, the Declaration was illegal and treasonous. If King George had been able to capture the signers of the Declaration, they would have been transported back to England and hanged. But the revolution succeeded, and history honors those who inspired, led, and fought for it arms in hand.

Eighty-seven years after the signing of the Declaration, and 160 years ago, the Battle of Gettysburg began, lasting from July 1 to July 3, 1863. The conflict in the southern Pennsylvania town, only 80 miles north of the nation’s capital, was one of the monumental struggles between the Union and Confederate armies, leaving 35,000 soldiers killed or wounded. The great historical issue that underlay the conflict was the destruction of slavery. After a three-day battle, in blazing summer heat, the soldiers of the Union emerged victorious.

The Battle of Gettysburg did not end the Civil War, which would continue for two more years. It was, however, a turning point in the struggle against slavery in the United States. Coming six months after Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation had taken effect, the battle turned back General Robert E. Lee’s northern invasion, a defeat from which the South would never recover.

In his speech four months later dedicating the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Lincoln drew the connection between the Declaration of Independence and the Civil War.

“Four score and seven years ago,” Lincoln began, “our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”

Those who sacrificed their lives at Gettysburg—what Lincoln described as “the last full measure of devotion”—had done so to ensure that “government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.

The Declaration of Independence included these three major ideas:

1. People have certain Inalienable Rights including Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness

2. All Men are created equal

3. Individuals have a civic duty to defend these rights for themselves and others

Today, your country is the same one founded 247 years ago on the freedoms of religion, speech, and security. As Americans we have a responsibility to continue working to make those freedoms equal for all who live here.

+ No other country has helped so many other nations over the past two centuries.

+ No other country has the ability for any man or woman to improve themselves, and build a legacy for their families.

+ No other people are as forgiving and loving and kind as Americans.

If you have not talked to an immigrant-owned business, please do so. Realize that your family were newcomers to this nation in the past too!

I can tell you many stories of clients we work with daily who came to this America with less than $20 in their pocket, adults who didn't know English and learned watching Sesame Street, whose college education from their homeland was not accepted here, and who now own a business, with thriving children working hard and earning higher education, and paying taxes protecting their freedoms.

This year, strive to help others around you realize the American Dream!

And Today, thank God for your blessings and the continued blessings on the United State of America!

Happy Independence Day y’all!



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