“The secret of happiness is freedom. The secret of freedom is courage.” ~Thucydides
Let the Fourth of July always be a reminder that here in this land, for the first time, it was decided that man is born with certain God-given rights; that government is only a convenience created and managed by the people, with no powers of its own except those voluntarily granted to it by the people. We sometimes forget that great truth, and we never should.”—Ronald Reagan
"I prefer liberty with danger to peace with slavery."-Author Unknown
"Hail! Independence, hail! Heaven's next best gift, To that of life and an immortal soul!"
- James Thomson
"I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!" ~ Patrick Henry
"Democracy is the government of the people, by the people, for the people." ~ Abraham Lincoln
My favorite thing about the United States? Lots of Americans, one America. ~Val Saintsbury
The cause of America is in a great measure the cause of all mankind- Thomas Paine
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” ~Declaration of Independence
The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.~Thomas Jefferson
Those who won our independence by revolution were not cowards. They did not fear political change. They did not exalt order at the cost of Liberty.- Justice Louis D. Brandeis
"There, I guess King George will be able to read that."
-- John Hancock, after signing the Declaration of Independence
“Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom” – Albert Einstein
Ours is the only country deliberately founded on a good idea. ~John Gunther
If you take advantage of everything America has to offer, there’s nothing you can’t accomplish. ~Geraldine Ferraro
The winds that blow through the wide sky in these mounts, the winds that sweep from Canada to Mexico, from the Pacific to the Atlantic - have always blown on free men. ~Franklin D. Roosevelt
My God! How little do my countrymen know what precious blessings they are in possession of, and which no other people on earth enjoy! ~Thomas Jefferson
And, in a rare bit of honesty from Yahoo (OK, 2011 link, but still...):
...it's worth remembering that signing one's name to the Declaration of Independence was no small thing. Those who signed the document were sure to be hanged for treason should they be caught.
Many of the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence suffered terribly for their bravery:
Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army, another had two sons captured.
Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War. They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.
What kind of men were they? Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well educated. But they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.
Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags. T homas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.
Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton. At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr., noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.
Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months. John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished. A few weeks later he died from exhaustion and a broken heart. Norris and Livingston suffered similar fates.
Such were the stories and sacrifices of the American Revolution.These were not wild eyed, rabble-rousing ruffians. They were soft-spoken men of means and education. They had security, but they valued liberty more. Standing tall, straight, and unwavering, they pledged:"For the support of this declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of the divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor"Today, we enjoy the taste of liberty. Tomorrow, we resume the fight for freedom once again. No better way to honor the sacrifices of our Founding Fathers, who suffered so that we, their spiritual inheritors, could live a life infused with liberty...
And liberty looks good. Real good...