In April, 1775, farmers and townspeople in small villages in Massachusetts, Lexington and Concord, picked up their muskets to stand against the advancing army in red coats that had been sent to force them into submission. These men didn’t know what they were doing when they fired the “shot heard ’round the world,” except that they had tasted the freedom that came from governing themselves, and it was worth standing up to the King of England to keep. A year later that vision was encapsulated in the Declaration of Independence, and a grand experiment that has outlasted all revolutions to this day was begun.
The American experiment was based on men being free to run their lives in any manner they chose as long as they respected their neighbors’ rights to do the same, each man’s rights ending where another’s began. The inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, given to each individual by the Creator, are the fountains from which spring the rights to one’s dreams, possessions, ideas, as well as the fruit from those dreams and ideas. The Bible says God gives His people the power to gain wealth [Deut 818]:, and further, that He will make His people a great nation, blessed to be a blessing[Gen 12:2]. The blessings of God flowed into and out of this nation, as long as His people trust His Providence and are obedient to His precepts. The United States of America has become the richest, but most generous, nation in the history of the world, because they ascribed to the tenets laid our in God’s Word.
In this experiment called America, free men governed themselves by granting powers to a representative government. The role of the federal government was limited to only those powers specifically delegated to it in the Constitution, such things as defending the nation and its borders, coining money, providing a patent office and a post office and making treaties, things that the compilation of states couldn’t do effectively under the weaker Articles of Confederation. All other responsibilities were reserved for individual citizens, and their local and state governments. This was, after all, the United States. The framers of the Constitution knew that the greatest threat to U.S. citizens was the federal government, so they did all they could to limit its scope and power, as well as to warn subsequent generations to be vigilant about its ever present propensity to encroach on the rights of the people.
Today we are in danger of losing the liberty the men and boys standing on those village greens fought to give us. We cannot expect Big Brother to take care of every aspect of our lives if we are to remain free from the clutches of government. Peace and security do not necessarily go hand in hand with liberty. If we don’t wake up soon, we may have to fight the American Revolution yet again, hopefully with ideas this time, to remain free and to pass the blessings of liberty to our posterity.