Last week we celebrated Independence Day. It was the day that America declared its freedom from British rule. It was the day that Congress approved the Declaration of Independence.
The New American website includes what I consider the most important quote of the time period:
The deliberations of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 were held in strict secrecy. Consequently, anxious citizens gathered outside Independence Hall when the proceedings ended in order to learn what had been produced behind closed doors. The answer was provided immediately. A Mrs. Powel of Philadelphia asked Benjamin Franklin, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” With no hesitation whatsoever, Franklin responded, “A republic, if you can keep it.”
We are an imperfect nation founded by imperfect people. However, those imperfect people relied on basic historic principles to create a land that would promote freedom. They were constrained by the customs of their time, and acted accordingly. Many of the issues they did not address (because they were not considered issues at the time) have since been addressed. Unfortunately some of our Congressional representatives do not appreciate the history that gave us our freedom or that allows them supposedly to represent us.
On July 5th, CNS News posted a tweet by Representative Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.). This tweet was posted on July 4th:
Controversial Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) both “liked” and shared Pressley’s post on her Twitter page.
In her Twitter thread, Rep. Pressley argued that the “prejudices, biases & contradictions codified by our founding fathers is still felt today.” She continued to compare the detention of migrants awaiting trial to slavery, writing that “We continue to struggle as a nation to embrace our full history, one that includes family separation of black families at the auction block & today of migrants at camps.”
Writing for The Daily Wire, Josh Hammer rebuked the article, saying that its author was “profoundly ungrateful” and “affirmatively wrong to muddle and belittle the genius that was Thomas Jefferson’s drafted Declaration of Independence.”
Hammer added that the Declaration of Independence actually laid the foundation for the extermination of slavery:
“Slavery was not in any way a tenet of the American Founding; it was an institution manifestly athwart the Founding. The sagacity of the Declaration, in fact, was that it actually laid the seeds — the very codified foundation — for the eventual eradication of that most horrific of compromises of principle.”
Again, history has to be viewed in context. Slavery was an acceptable practice at the time, and women did not have rights at the time. That has changed. As for the Indians, unfortunately it is the rule of nations that since man arrived on the planet that nations have changed hands because of force. Generally speaking, the conquered people assimilated into the new nation. Look at the nations of Europe and Great Britain to find multiple examples of that principle.
America is one of the freest nations in the world–our Bill of Rights protects that freedom. If Representative Pressley thinks the nation she is supposed to serve is so horrible, I would ask what legislation she has introduced to make it a better place.
Meanwhile, let us heed the words of Benjamin Franklin and celebrate our republic.