Even though it's not for another 5 days, this is our Independence Day edition of DPHA
Connections. July 4 is the day we celebrate the noble experiment that has lead to the greatest democracy in the history of the world. Let's take our time machine back to Colonial America where a group of educated, successful ideologues decided that they wanted to have a larger say in how they lived, were governed and taxed. Thomas Paine's best selling Common Sense argued that an island could not rule a continent. Many colonial intellectuals believed their right to self-determination was manifest from a higher authority. And given the outcome, perhaps there is more truth to that belief than many would like to admit.
"The republican experiment launched so boldly by the revolutionary generation in America encountered entrenched opposition in the two centuries that followed, but it thoroughly vanquished the monarchial dynasties of the nineteenth century and then the totalitarian despotism of the twentieth, just as Jefferson predicted it would," wrote Joseph J. Ellis in his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Founding Brothers. In 2018, the United States is the oldest enduring republic in the history of the world, with a set of political institutions and traditions that have stood the test of time.
When we look back on the revolutionary era, it's hard to imagine how our founding brothers believed they could take on the most powerful military force in the world and win. How could they imagine that creating a republican form of government based on the rule of law and the principle of popular sovereignty could succeed when it had never done so previously for any sustainable period of time, or attempt to oversee a landmass as large as the 13 original colonies?
Brilliant, principled men with a dream met in Philadelphia in June and July 1776 to debate breaking ties with their motherland and declaring independence. John Adams, who was very much the COO of the American Revolution, convinced Thomas Jefferson to draft a formal statement that would justify the colonies declaring their independence. And certainly, Jefferson was up to the challenge. On July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress voted affirmatively to become independent. Two days later, Congress formerly adopted Jefferson's Declaration. For the past 242 years, Americans have celebrated this remarkable event. As we barbeque, enjoy the summer weather with family and friends and watch fireworks, let's take a moment to reflect on and marvel at the unfathomable accomplishment that resulted from our founding father's vision. We enjoy the great fortune and opportunity - despite all of our problems and political differences - to live in the greatest republic in the history of mankind. Enjoy July 4!