The Continental Congress approved Richard Henry Lee’s resolution to declare the independence of the Thirteen American Colonies as States on this day in 1776; July 2 is thus the true date of American Independence. Indeed, it is the date that Founding Father John Adams recommended by commemorated annually by celebrations, including parades and fireworks. Two days later, the Congress approved the Declaration of Independence. The prominent July 4 date on that great document probably contributed to the popular belief that the Fourth of July marked the beginning of American Independence, although this date, too, is worthy of celebration.
The independence of the states that was approved on July 2 and eloquently declared on the July 4, 1776 represents the birthday of each of the Thirteen States in particular and American Independence in general. But it is not the birthday of the “United States of America,” which was only founded upon the implementation of the U.S. Constitution.
The Declaration of Independence acknowledges the equality of all men and that the rights of man come not from government, but from our Creator, which is “the American Creed.” It also states that government exists to protect these rights and that it derives its just powers from the consent of the governed. The Framers of the Constitution, who accepted the American Creed, presupposed the concept of natural law rights, which is why they did not consider it necessary to enumerate them in the Constitution, as if to imply that government grants rights instead of God. They only agreed to adopt a Bill of Rights as a safeguard of liberty in order to win the ratification of the Constitution. Indeed, the Bill of Rights, the First Ten Amendments to the Constitution, does not grant any freedoms or rights, but prohibits the United States from abridging the enumerated freedoms and rights that every person has by birthright. The Ninth Amendment even acknowledges the presupposition of natural law rights by reserving any additional rights of man that were not expressly listed in the Constitution.
The American Creed, as expressed in the Declaration of Independence, has long been accepted as the basis for the Constitution. U.S. President Abraham Lincoln and American civil rights leader Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. famously reminded their fellow Americans that the equality and rights of the people come from God, not men, and that the Constitution must by interpreted only in the context of the Declaration of Independence.
President Barak Obama has nominated someone for the Supreme Court, Elena Kagan, who shockingly refused this week during her confirmation hearing to acknowledge the principle of natural law. Instead, she insisted that only those rights enumerated in the Constitution could be interpreted by a federal judge to exist, in contradiction of the Framers of the Constitution and the Ninth Amendment. There are several major grounds for the Senate to oppose the confirmation of this Obama Administration radical, which will be the subject of a future post, but Kagan's rejection of natural law is enough to disqualify her from serving as a justice entrusted to safeguard liberty, a concept she does not believe exists by nature, but only by the whim of judges.
Let us reflect on American Independence and the great document that declared it and acknowledged God as the source of our life and liberty. Let us also remember and be grateful to those who sacrificed in order for their posterity to enjoy freedom. May we continue remain ever vigilant in defending our independence and freedom from all enemies foreign and domestic. May God bless America! Happy Independence Day!