Still Declaring our Independence
Created on July 1, 2009
What's on Americans' Minds Reflects
"Independence forever." Those two words were the whole of John
Adams' eloquent toast on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of
the Declaration of Independence.
That was July 4, 1826. How good, on the eve of the Declaration's
233rd anniversary, to hear Americans who keep ringing
that bell of liberty.
Amid the political noise out of Washington, June's opinion polls
picked up a growing public disquiet over ever-greater government
spending and intrusion. These expressions of concern reflect the
resiliency of the spirit of 1776, which we celebrate on
The just powers of government, the Declaration of Independence
proclaimed on July 4, 1776, flow from the consent of the governed.
Government's purpose, the Founders agreed, is to secure the fundamental rights and sovereignty of
Heritage constitutional scholar Matthew Spalding writes:
"The Declaration of Independence announced to the world the
unanimous decision of the American colonies to declare themselves
free and independent states, absolved from any allegiance to Great
Britain. But its greater meaning--then as well as now--is as a
statement of the conditions of legitimate political authority and
the proper ends of government, and its proclamation of a new ground
of political rule in the sovereignty of the people."
Spalding goes on to note that Thomas Jefferson, principal author
of America's founding document, intended the Declaration to be "an
expression of the American mind." Fitting, then, that Americans'
essential understanding of the need to limit government continues to be reflected in today's
The danger is that President Obama and today's other powerful
adherents of the progressive movement will succeed in clouding