Liberty for All

Revolutionary concept, I know…

“Let us read and recollect and impress upon our souls, the views and ends, of our own more immediate forefathers, in exchanging their native country for a dreary, inhospitable wilderness. Let us examine into the nature of that power and the cruelty of that oppression which drove them from their homes. Recollect their amazing fortitude, their bitter sufferings! The hunger, the nakedness, the cold, which they patiently endured!

Recollect the civil and religious principles and hopes and expectations, which constantly supported and carried them through all hardships, and patience and resignation! Let us recollect it was liberty! The hope of liberty for themselves and us and ours, which conquered all discouragements, dangers and trials!”

~ John Adams, “A Dissertation on the Canon and the Feudal Law”, 1765


We are a fortunate people.  Against a great many odds, America has grown into a land renowned throughout the world for its liberty and prosperity.  If the Founding Fathers could see everything we have become, one can imagine they’d feel rightfully proud of the foundation they built for this great nation.  But does their legacy end there?  Has the building been completed and there’s nothing left to do?  Or do we have a duty, like generations of Americans before us?  To maintain the place and even to make our own additions in time.  And yet, it seems we’ve become stuck, bogged down in the petty and the pointless, failing to see the grand tradition of the generations before us and to set down the path for the generations ahead.  All we see is ourselves, the here and now.  We’re endlessly occupied only by the present, completely missing that our house’s foundation is starting to weaken, and that within a few generations, it could crumble beyond repair.  How are we ensuring that our children’s children will have the same liberty that generations of Americans have both fought for and enjoyed?

The simple answer is that we aren’t, at least not yet.  We’re content to allow the status quo to perpetuate itself, endlessly repeating the same silly battles throughout each electoral season, never really focusing on the important matters.  The greatest dangers and trials of our day are more hidden than they were for our forefathers.  We are most prosperous, and therefore more apathetic.  If it does not affect me personally in the immediate, why worry?  The dangers of today are the quiet, sneaking encroachments on liberty that will have loud repercussions for our children’s children.  They are a government too partisan to effectively function, an economy managed only by corporate greed, civil liberties being leeched by laws designed to “protect” people from our enemies, and a population more divided than ever over a vast number of essentially minor issues.  We have the privilege to be the bastion of liberty, but we also have a responsibility.  We have a responsibility to ensure that liberty continues and even improves for the generations of Americans who come after us.  The hope of liberty led the Founding Fathers to face death and danger to create our country.  And it’s the love of liberty that should draw us out of our own apathy, and into the arena – to listen, to learn, to do, and most importantly, to THINK.


Res Publica


Documentation without Representation:

John Adams, “A Dissertation on the Canon and the Feudal Law” No. 3, October 1765

Electronic text courtesy of the Massachusetts Historical Society

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