Times Change, but the Ideas Behind Independence Day Endure

July 4th is a generally more festive American holiday -- with cookouts, parades, parties, and fireworks -- than other patriotic holidays, such as Memorial Day or Veterans Day. Most people forget that when the Declaration of Independence was drafted and signed on or about July 4th 1776 it was both a revolutionary and a somber occasion.  It was revolutionary in being the first political doctrine in human history to assert that the rights of the people come from God, and not the state -- which made those rights natural, absolute, and “unalienable.” But it was a somber occasion because in 1776 the odds of success in separating from England were dismal.  There was simply no way the irregular and poorly trained colonial army could prevail against the far greater number of disciplined forces of British army and navy.  Great Britain was the most powerful nation on Earth, while the 13 American colonies were disunited and relatively poor.  While George...(Read Full Article)