A prescient speech on independence, worth noting today

Samuel Adams Speech – August 1, 1776

American Independence is a famous speech delivered by Samuel Adams from the steps of the State House in Philadelphia, the meeting place of the Continental Congress. This speech was delivered the day before the familiar parchment copy of the Declaration of Independencewas signed by the Continental Congress. The vote for independence was on July 2nd. The decision to use the Declaration written by Thomas Jefferson as the tool to announce the decision publicly was made on July 4th. The document was signed by the members on August 2nd 1776.

It is worth reflecting on, because Adams says something very prescient that holds true today.

COUNTRYMEN AND BRETHREN: I would gladly have declined an honor, to which I find myself unequal. I have not the calmness and impartiality which the infinite importance of this occasion demands. I will not deny the charge of my enemies, that resentment for the accumulated injuries of our country, and an ardor for her glory, rising to enthusiasm, may deprive me of that accuracy of judgment and expression which men of cooler passions may Possess. Let me beseech you, then, to hear me with caution, to examine without prejudice, and to correct the mistakes into which I may be hurried by my zeal.

Truth loves an appeal to the common-sense of mankind. Your unperverted understandings can best determine on subjects of a practical nature. The positions and plans which are said to be above the comprehension of the multitude may be always suspected to be visionary and fruitless. He who made all men hath made the truths necessary to human happiness obvious to all.

Our forefathers threw off the yoke of popery in religion: for you is reserved the honor of levelling the popery of politics. They opened the Bible to all, and maintained the capacity of every man to judge for himself in religion. Are we sufficient for the comprehension of the sublimest spiritual truths, and unequal to material and temporal ones? Heaven hath trusted us with the management of things for eternity, and man denies us ability to judge of the present, or to know from our feelings the experience that will make us happy. “You can discern,” say they, “objects distant and remote, but cannot perceive those within your grasp. Let us have the distribution of present goods, and cut out and manage as you please the interests of futurity.” This day, I trust the reign of political protestantism will commence. We have explored the temple of royalty, and found that the idol we have bowed down to, has eyes which see not, ears that hear not our prayers, and a heart like the nether millstone. We have this day restored the Sovereign, to whom alone men ought to be obedient. He reigns in Heaven, and with a propitious eye beholds his subjects assuming that freedom of thought, and dignity of self-direction which He bestowed on them. From the rising to the setting sun, may His kingdom come.

Having been a slave to the influence of opinions early acquired, and distinctions generally received, I am ever inclined not to despise but pity those who are yet in darkness. But to the eye of reason what can be more clear, than that all men have an equal right to happiness? Nature made no other distinction than that of higher or lower degrees of power of mind and body. But what mysterious distribution of character has the craft of statesmen, more fatal than priestcraft, introduced?

According to their doctrine, the offspring of perhaps the lewd embraces of a successful invader, shall, from generation to generation, arrogate the right of lavishing on their pleasures a proportion of the fruits of the earth, more than sufficient to supply the wants of thousands of their fellow-creatures: claim authority to manage them like beasts of burden, and without superior industry, capacity, or virtue, nay, though disgraceful to humanity by their ignorance, intemperance, and brutality, shall be deemed best calculated to frame laws, and to consult for the welfare of society.

Were the talents and virtues, which Heaven has bestowed on men, given merely to make then more obedient drudges, to be sacrificed to the follies and ambition of a few? or, were not the noble gifts so equally dispensed with a divine purpose and law, that they should as nearly as possible be equally exerted, and the blessings of Providence be equally enjoyed by all? Away then, with those absurd systems, which, to gratify the pride of a few, debase the greatest part of our species below the order of men. What an affront to the King of the universe, to maintain that the happiness of a monster, sunk in debauchery and spreading desolation and murder among men, of a Caligula, a Nero, or a Charles, is more precious in his sight than that of millions of his suppliant creatures, who do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with their God! No! in the judgment of Heaven there is no other superiority among men, than a superiority in wisdom and virtue. And can we have a safer model in forming ours? The Deity then has not given any order or family of men authority over others, and if any men have given it, they only could give it for themselves. Our forefathers, ’tis said, consented to be subject to the laws of Great Britain. I will not, at present, dispute it, nor mark out the limits and conditions of their submission: but will it be denied that they contracted to pay obedience, and to be under the control of Great Britain, because it appeared to them most beneficial in their then present circumstances and situations? We, my countrymen, have the same right to consult and provide for our happiness, which they had to promote theirs. If they had a view to posterity in their contracts, it must have been to advance the felicity of their descendants. If they erred in their expectations and prospects, we can never be condemned for a conduct which they would have recommended had they foreseen our present condition.

Ye darkeners of counsel, who would make the property, lives, and religion of millions, depend on the evasive interpretations of musty parchments: who would send us to antiquated charters, of uncertain and contradictory meaning, to prove that the present generation are not bound to be victims to cruel and unforgiving despotism, tell us whether our pious and generous ancestors bequeathed to us the miserable privilege of having the rewards of our honest industry, the fruits of those fields which they purchased and bled for, wrested from us at the will of men over whom we have no check? Did they contract for us that, with folded arms, we should expect that justice and mercy from brutal and inflamed invaders which have been denied to our supplications at the foot of the throne? Were we to hear our character as a people ridiculed with indifference? Did they promise for us that our meekness and patience should be insulted: our coasts harassed: our towns demolished and plundered, and our wives and offspring exposed to nakedness, hunger and death, without our feeling the resentment of men, and exerting those powers of self-preservation which God has given us? No man had once a greater veneration for Englishmen than I entertained. They were dear to me as branches of the same parental trunk, and partakers of the same religion and laws; I still view with respect the remains of the constitution as I would a lifeless body which had once been animated by a great and heroic soul. But when I am roused by the din of arms: when I behold legions of foreign assassins, paid by Englishmen to imbrue their hands in our blood: when I tread over the uncoffined bones of my countrymen, neighbors and friends: when I see the locks of a venerable father torn by savage hands, and a feeble mother, clasping her infants to her bosom, and on her knees imploring their lives from her own slaves, whom Englishmen have allured to treachery and murder: when I behold my country, once the seat of industry, peace, and plenty, changed by Englishmen to a theatre of blood and misery, Heaven forgive me, if I cannot root out those passions which it has implanted in my bosom, and detest submission to a people who have either ceased to be human, or have not virtue enough to feel their own wretchedness and servitude.

Men who content themselves with the semblance of truth, and a display of words, talk much of our obligations to Great Britain for protection! Had she a single eye to our advantage? A nation of shopkeepers are very seldom so disinterested. Let us not be so amused with words: the extension of her commerce was her object. When she defended our coasts, she fought for her customers, and convoyed our ships loaded with wealth, which we had acquired for her by our industry. She has treated us as beasts of burden, whom the lordly masters cherish that they may carry a greater load. Let us inquire also against whom she has protected us? Against her own enemies with whom we had no quarrel, or only on her account, and against whom we always readily exerted our wealth and strength when they were required. Were these colonies backward in giving assistance to Great Britain, when they were called upon in 1739, to aid the expedition against Carthagena? They at that time sent three thousand men to join the British army, although the war commenced without their consent. But the last war, ’tis said, was purely American. This is a vulgar error, which, like many others, has gained credit by being confidently repeated. The dispute between the Courts of Great Britain and France related to the limits of Canada and Nova Scotia. The controverted territory was not claimed by any in the colonies, but by the Crown of Great Britain. It was therefore their own quarrel. The infringement of a right which England had, by the treaty of Utrecht, of trading in the Indian country of Ohio, was another cause of the war. The French seized large quantities of British manufactures, and took possession of a fort which a company of British merchants and factors had erected for the security of their commerce. The war was therefore waged in defence of lands claimed by the Crown, and for the protection of British property. The French at that time had no quarrel with America: and, as appears by letters sent from their commander-in-chief, to some of the colonies, wished to remain in peace with us. The part therefore which we then took, and the miseries to which we exposed ourselves, ought to be charged to our affection for Britain. These colonies granted more than their proportion to the support of the war. They raised, clothed, and maintained, nearly twenty-five thousand men, and so sensible were the people of England of our great exertions, that a message was annually sent to the House of Commons purporting: “That His Majesty, being highly satisfied of the zeal and vigor with which his faithful subjects in North America had exerted themselves in defence of His Majesty’s just rights and possessions, recommended it to the House, to take the same into consideration, and enable him to give them a proper compensation.”

But what purpose can arguments of this kind answer? Did the protection we received annul our rights as men, and lay us under an obligation of being miserable?

Who among you, my countrymen, that is a father, would claim authority to make your child a slave because you had nourished him in his infancy?

It is a strange species of generosity which requires a return infinitely more valuable than anything it could have bestowed: that demands as a reward for a defence of our property, a surrender of those inestimable privileges, to the arbitrary will of vindictive tyrants, which alone give value to that very property.

Political right and public happiness are different words for the same idea. They who wander into metaphysical labyrinths, or have recourse to original contracts, to determine the rights of men, either impose on themselves or mean to delude others.

Public utility is the only certain criterion. It is a test which brings disputes to a speedy decision, and makes it appeal to the feelings of mankind. The force of truth has obliged men to use arguments drawn from this principle who were combating it, in practice and speculation. The advocates for a despotic government, and non-resistance to the magistrate, employ reasons in favor of their systems drawn from a consideration of their tendency to promote public happiness.

The Author of Nature directs all his operations to the production of the greatest good, and has made human virtue to consist in a disposition and conduct which tend to the common felicity of his creatures. An abridgement of the natural freedom of man, by the institution of political societies, is vindicable only on this foot. How absurd, then, is it to draw argument from the nature of civil society for the annihilation of those very ends which society was intended to procure. Men associate for their mutual advantage. Hence the good and happiness of the members, that is, the majority of the members of any state, is the great standard by which everything relating to that state must finally be determined; and though it may be supposed that a body of people may be bound by a voluntary resignation (which they have been so infatuated as to make) of all their interests to a single person, or to a few, it can never be conceived that the resignation is obligatory to their posterity: because it is manifestly contrary to the good of the whole that it should be so.

These are the sentiments of the wisest and most virtuous champions of freedom. Attend to a portion on this subject from a book in our defence, written, I had almost said by the pen of inspiration. “I lay no stress,” says he, “on charters – they derive their rights from a higher source. It is inconsistent with common-sense to imagine that any people would ever think of settling in a distant country, on any such condition, or that the people from whom they withdrew should forever be masters of their property, and have power to subject them to any modes of government they pleased. And hadthere been express stipulations to this purpose in all the charters of the colonies, they would, in my opinion, be no more bound by them than if it had been stipulated with them that they should go naked, or expose themselves to the incursions of wolves and tigers.”

Such are the opinions of every virtuous and enlightened patriot in Great Britain. Their petition to Heaven is – “That there may be one free country left upon earth, to which they may fly, when venality, luxury, and vice, shall have completed the ruin of liberty there.”

Courage, then, my countrymen! Our contest is not only whether we ourselves shall be free, but whether there shall be left to mankind an asylum on earth, for civil and religious liberty? Dismissing therefore the justice of our cause, as incontestable, the only question is, What is best for us to pursue in our present circumstances?

The doctrine of dependence on Great Britain is, I believe, generally exploded: but as I would attend to the honest weakness of the simplest of men, you will pardon me if I offer a few words on that subject.

We are now on this continent, to the astonishment of the world, three millions of souls united in one common cause. We have large armies, well disciplined and appointed, with commanders inferior to none in military skill, and superior in activity and zeal. We are furnished with arsenals and stores beyond our most sanguine expectations, and foreign nations are waiting to crown our success by their alliances. There are instances of, I would say, an almost astonishing Providence in our favor: our success has staggered our enemies, and almost given faith to infidels: so that we may truly say it is not our own arm which has saved us.

The hand of heaven appears to have led us on to be, perhaps, humble instruments and means in the great providential dispensation which is completing. We have fled from the political Sodom; let us not look back, lest we perish and become a monument of infamy and derision to the world! For can we ever expect more unanimity and a better preparation for defence: more infatuation of counsel among our enemies, and more valor and zeal among ourselves? The same force and resistance which are sufficient to procure us our liberties will secure us a glorious independence and support us in the dignity of free, imperial States. We cannot suppose that our opposition has made a corrupt and dissipated nation more friendly to America, or created in them a greater respect for the rights of mankind. we can therefore expect a restoration and establishment of our privileges, and a compensation for the injuries we have received from their want of power, from their fears, and not from their virtues. The unanimity and valor, which will effect an honorable peace, can render a future contest for our liberties unnecessary. He who has strength to chain down the wolf is a madman if he lets him loose without drawing his teeth and paring his nails.

From the day on which an accommodation takes place between England and America, on any other terms than as independent States, I shall date the ruin of this country. A politic minister will study to lull us into security, by granting us the full extent of our petitions. The warm sunshine of influence would melt down the virtue, which the violence of the storm rendered more firm and unyielding. In a state of tranquillity, wealth and luxury, our descendants would forget the arts of war, and the noble activity and zeal which made their ancestors invincible. Every art of corruption would be employed to loosen the bond of union which renders our assistance formidable. When the spirit of liberty which now animates our hearts and gives success to our arms is extinct, our numbers will accelerate our ruin, and render us easier victims to tyranny. Ye abandoned minions of an infatuated ministry, if peradventure any should yet remain among us! – remember that a Warren and Montgomery are numbered among the dead. Contemplate the mangled bodies of our countrymen, and then say, What should be the reward of such sacrifices? Bid us and our posterity bow the knee, supplicate the friendship, and plough, and sow, and reap, to glut the avarice of the men who have let loose on us the dogs of war to riot in our blood, and hunt us from the face of the earth? If we 1ove wealth better than liberty, the tranquillity of servitude, than the animating contest of freedom – go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.

To unite the supremacy of Great Britain and the liberty of America, is utterly impossible. So vast a continent and of such a distance from the seat of empire will every day grow more unmanageable. The motion of so unwieldy a body cannot be directed with any despatch and uniformity, without committing to the Parliament of Great Britain powers inconsistent with our freedom. The authority and force which would be absolutely necessary for the preservation of the peace and good order of this continent, would put all our valuable rights within the reach of that nation.

As the administration of government requires firmer and more numerous supports in proportion to its extent, the burdens imposed on us would be excessive, and we should have the melancholy prospect of their increasing on our posterity. The scale of officers, from the rapacious and needy commissioner, to the haughty governor, and from the governor with his hungry train, to perhaps a licentious and prodigal viceroy, must be upheld by you and your children. The fleets and armies which will be employed to silence your murmurs and complaints must be supported by the fruits of your industry.

And yet, with all this enlargement of the expense and powers of government, the administration of it at such a distance, and over so extensive a territory, must necessarily fail of putting the laws into vigorous execution, removing private oppressions, and forming plans for the advancement of agriculture and commerce, and preserving the vast empire in any tolerable peace and security. If our posterity retain any spark of patriotism, they can never tamely submit to such burdens. This country will be made the field of bloody contention till it gains that independence for which nature formed it. It is therefore injustice and cruelty to our offspring, and would stamp us with the character of baseness and cowardice, to leave the salvation of this country to be worked out by them with accumulated difficulty and danger.

Prejudice, I confess, may warp our judgments. Let us hear the decision of Englishmen on this subject, who cannot be suspected of partiality: “The Americans,” say they, “are but little short of half our number. To this number they have grown from a small body of original settlers by a very rapid increase. The probability is that they will go on to increase, and that in fifty or sixty years they will be double our number: and form a mighty empire, consisting of a variety of States, all equal or superior to ourselves in all the arts and accomplishments which give dignity and happiness to human life. In that period will they be still bound to acknowledge that supremacy over them which we now claim? Can there be any person who will assert this, or whose mind does not revolt at the idea of a vast continent, holding all that is valuable to it, at the discretion of a handful of people on the other side the Atlantic? But if at that period this would be unreasonable, what makes it otherwise now? Draw the line if you can. But there is still a greater difficulty. Britain is now, I will suppose, the seat of liberty and virtue, and its legislature consists of a body of able and independent men, who govern with wisdom and justice. The time may come when all will be reversed: when its excellent constitution of government will be subverted: when pressed by debts and taxes, it will be greedy to draw to itself an increase of revenue from every distant province, in order to ease its own burdens: when the influence of the Crown, strengthened by luxury and an universal profligacy of manners, will have tainted every heart, broken down every fence of liberty, and rendered us a nation of tame and contented vassals: when a general election will be nothing but a general auction of boroughs, and when the Parliament, the grand council of the nation, and once the faithful guardian of the state, and a terror to evil ministers, will be degenerated into a body of sycophants, dependent and venal, always ready to confirm any measures, and little more than a public court for registering royal edicts. Such, it is possible, may, some time or other, be the state of Great Britain. What will at that period be the duty of the colonies? Will they be still bound to unconditional submission? Must they always continue an appendage to our Government, and follow it implicitly through every change that can happen to it? Wretched condition indeed, of millions of freemen as good as ourselves! Will you say that we now govern equitably, and that there is no danger of such revolution? Would to God that this were true. But will you not always say the same? Who shall judge whether we govern equitably or not? Can you give the colonies any security that such a period will never come?” No! The period, countrymen, is already come. The calamities were at our door. The rod of oppression was raised over us. We were roused from our slumbers, and may we never sink into repose until we can convey a clear and undisputed inheritance to our posterity. This day we are called upon to give a glorious example of what the wisest and best of men were rejoiced to view, only in speculation. This day presents the world with the most august spectacle that its annals ever unfolded. Millions of freemen, deliberately and voluntarily forming themselves into a society for their common defence and common happiness. Immortal spirits of Hampden, Locke, and Sidney! will it not add to your benevolent joys to behold your posterity rising to the dignity of men, and evincing to the world the reality and expediency of your systems, and in the actual enjoyments of that equal liberty, which you were happy, when on earth, in delineating and recommending to mankind!

Other nations have received their laws from conquerors: some are indebted for a constitution to the sufferings of their ancestors through revolving centuries. The people of this country, alone, have formally and deliberately chosen a Government for themselves, and with open and uninfluenced consent, bound themselves into a social compact. Here, no man proclaims his birth or wealth as a title to honorable distinction, or to sanctify ignorance and vice with the name of hereditary authority. He who has most zeal and ability to promote public felicity, let him be the servant of the public. This is the only line of distinction drawn by nature. Leave the bird of night to the obscurity for which nature intended him, and expect only from the eagle to brush the clouds with his wings, and look boldly in the face of the sun.

Some who would persuade us that they have tender feelings for future generations, while they are insensible to the happiness of the present, are perpetually foreboding a train of dissensions under our popular system. Such men’s reasoning amounts to this – give up all that is valuable to Great Britain, and then you will have no inducements to quarrel among yourselves; or suffer yourselves to be chained down by your enemies, that you may not be able to fight with your friends.

This is an insult on your virtue as well as your common sense. Your unanimity this day and through the course of the war, is a decisive refutation of such invidious predictions. Our enemies have already had evidence that our present constitution contains in it the justice and ardor of freedom, and the wisdom and vigor of the most absolute system. When the law is the will of the people, it will be uniform and coherent: but fluctuation, contradiction, and inconsistency of councils must be expected under those governments where every revolution in the ministry of a court produces one in the state. Such being the folly and pride of all ministers, that they ever pursue measures directly opposite to those of their predecessors.

We shall neither be exposed to the necessary convulsions of elective monarchies, nor to the want of wisdom, fortitude, and virtue, to which hereditary succession is liable. In your hands it will be to perpetuate a prudent, active and just legislature, and which will never expire until you yourselves lose the virtues which give it existence.

And, brethren and fellow-countrymen, if it was ever granted to mortals to trace the designs of Providence, and interpret its manifestations in favor of their cause, we may, with humility of soul, cry out, Not unto us, not unto us, but to thy name be the praise. The confusion of the devices among our enemies, and the rage of the elements against them, have done almost as much towards our success as either our councils or our arms.

The time at which this attempt on our liberties was made, when we were ripened into maturity, had acquired a knowledge of war, and were free from the incursions of enemies in this country, the gradual advances of our oppressors enabling us to prepare for our defence, the unusual fertility of our lands and clemency of the seasons, the success which at first attended our feeble arms, producing unanimity among our friends and reducing our internal foes to acquiescence – these are all strong and palpable marks and assurances, that Providence is yet gracious unto Zion, that it will turn away the captivity of Jacob.

Our glorious reformers when they broke through the fetters of superstition, effected more than could be expected from an age so darkened. But they left much to be done by their posterity. They lopped off, indeed, some of the branches of popery, but they left the root and stock when they left us under the domination of human systems and decisions, usurping the infallibility which can be attributed to Revelation alone. They dethroned one usurper only to raise up another: they refused allegiance to the Pope, only to place the civil magistrate in the throne of Christ, vested with authority to enact laws, and inflict penalties in his kingdom. And if we now cast our eyes over the nations of the earth we shall find, that instead of possessing the pure religion of the gospel, they may be divided either into infidels who deny the truth, or politicians who make religion a stalking horse for their ambition, or professors, who walk in the trammels of orthodoxy, and are more attentive to traditions and ordinances of men than to the oracles of truth.

The civil magistrate has everywhere contaminated religion by making it an engine of policy: and freedom of thought and the right of private judgment, in matters of conscience, driven from every other corner of the earth, direct their course to this happy country as their last asylum. Let us cherish the noble guests, and shelter them under the wings of an universal toleration. Be this the seat of unbounded religious freedom. She will bring with her in her train, industry, wisdom, and commerce. She thrives most when left to shoot forth in her natural luxuriance, and asks from human policy, only not to be checked in her growth by artificial encouragements.

Thus by the beneficence of Providence, we shall behold our empire arising, founded on justice and the voluntary consent of the people, and giving full scope to the exercise of those faculties and rights which most ennoble our species. Besides the advantages of liberty and the most equal constitution, heaven has given us a country with every variety of climate and soil, pouring forth in abundance whatever is necessary for the support, comfort, and strength of a nation. Within our own borders we possess all the means of sustenance, defence, and commerce; at the same time, these advantages are so distributed among the different States of this continent, as if nature had in view to proclaim to us – Be united among yourselves, and you will want nothing from the rest of the world.

The more northern States most amply supply us with every necessary, and many of the luxuries of life – with iron, timber, and masts for ships of commerce or of war: with flax for the manufacture of linen, and seed either for oil or exportation.

So abundant are our harvests, that almost every part raises more than double the quantity of grain requisite for the support of the inhabitants. From Georgia and the Carolinas, we have, as well for our own wants as for the purpose of supplying the wants of other powers, indigo, rice, hemp, naval stores, and lumber.

Virginia and Maryland teem with wheat, Indian corn, and tobacco. Every nation whose harvest is precarious, or whose lands yield not those commodities, which we cultivate, will gladly exchange their superfluities and manufactures for ours.

We have already received many and large cargoes of clothing, military stores, etc., from our commerce with foreign powers, and in spite of the efforts of the boasted navy of England, we shall continue to profit by this connection.

The want of our naval stores has already increased the price of these articles to a great height, especially in Britain. Without our lumber, it will be impossible for those haughty islanders to convey the products of the West Indies to their own ports – for a while they may with difficulty effect it, but without our assistance, their resources soon must fail. Indeed, the West India Islands appear as the necessary appendages to this our empire. They must owe their support to it, and ere long, I doubt not, some of them will from necessity wish to enjoy the benefit of our protection.

These natural advantages will enable us to remain independent of the world, or make it the interest of European powers to court our alliance, and aid in protecting us against the invasions of others. What argument therefore do we want, to show the equity of our conduct: or motive of interest to recommend it to our prudence? Nature points out the path, and our enemies have obliged us to pursue it.

If there is any man so base or so weak as to prefer a dependence on Great Britain to the dignity and happiness of living a member of a free and independent nation – let me tell him that necessity now demands what the generous principle of patriotism should have dictated.

We have now no other alternative than independence, or the most ignominious and galling servitude. The legions of our enemies thicken on our plains; desolation and death mark their bloody career; whilst the mangled corpses of our countrymen seem to cry out to us as a voice from heaven – “Will you permit our posterity to groan under the galling chains of our murderers? Has our blood been expended in vain? Is the only reward which our constancy, till death, has obtained for our country, that it should be sunk into a deeper and more ignominious vassalage? Recollect who are the men that demand your submission; to whose decrees you are invited to pay obedience! Men who, unmindful of their relation to you as brethren, of your long implicit submission to their laws; of the sacrifice which you and your forefathers made of your natural advantages for commerce to their avarice – formed a deliberate plan to wrest from you the small pittance of property which they had permitted you to acquire. Remember that the men who wish to rule over you, are they who, in pursuit of this plan of despotism, annulled the sacred contracts which had been made with your ancestors: conveyed into your cities a mercenary soldiery to compel you to submission by insult and murder – who called your patience, cowardice; your piety, hypocrisy.”

Countrymen! the men who now invite you to surrender your rights into their hands, are the men who have let loose the merciless savages to riot in the blood of their brethren – who have dared to establish popery triumphant in our land – who have taught treachery to your slaves, and courted them to assassinate your wives and children.

These are the men to whom we are exhorted to sacrifice the blessings which Providence holds out to us – the happiness, the dignity of uncontrolled freedom and independence.

Let not your generous indignation be directed against any among us, who may advise so absurd and maddening a measure. Their number is but few and daily decreases; and the spirit which can render them patient of slavery will render them contemptible enemies.

Our Union is now complete; our constitution composed, established, and approved. You are now the guardians of your own liberties. We may justly address you, as the Decemviri did the Romans, and say – “Nothing that we propose can pass into a law without your consent. Be yourselves, O Americans, the authors of those laws on which your happiness depends.”

You have now in the field armies sufficient to repel the whole force of your enemies, and their base and mercenary auxiliaries. The hearts of your soldiers beat high with the spirit of freedom – they are animated with the justice of their cause, and while they grasp their swords, can look up to heaven for assistance. Your adversaries are composed of wretches who laugh at the rights of humanity, who turn religion into derision, and would, for higher wages, direct their swords against their leaders or their country. Go on, then, in your generous enterprise, with gratitude to heaven, for past success, and confidence of it in the future. For my own part, I ask no greater blessing than to share with you the common danger and common glory. If I have a wish dearer to my soul, than that my ashes may be mingled with those of a Warren and Montgomery – it is – that these American States may never cease to be free and independent!

This seems very prescient to me:

In a state of tranquillity, wealth and luxury, our descendants would forget the arts of war, and the noble activity and zeal which made their ancestors invincible. Every art of corruption would be employed to loosen the bond of union which renders our assistance formidable. When the spirit of liberty which now animates our hearts and gives success to our arms is extinct, our numbers will accelerate our ruin, and render us easier victims to tyranny.

To my friends everywhere: Have a thoughtful 4th of July, and remind yourselves that tyranny comes in many forms.

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Paul S
July 4, 2018 10:35 am

Do you have a Cliff’s Notes version of this?

David L. Hagen
Reply to  Paul S
July 4, 2018 12:34 pm

See: “When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. . . .”
The Declaration of Independence – 1776

Janice Moore
Reply to  Paul S
July 4, 2018 12:36 pm

Well… (smile), not a thorough summary, but, here is the essence:

The cause is just.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

–That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
“Declaration of Independence,” July 4, 1776.

… when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. … . Id.

… necessity [ ] constrains them … . Id.

The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. … . Id.

The time is now.

… I look back to the Year 1761, and recollect the Argument concerning Writs of Assistance … which I … [consider] the Commencement of the Controversy … .
Letter (first) of John Adams to his wife Abigail, July 3, 1776 (quoted from book My Dearest Friend – The Letters of Abigail and John Adams, ed. by Hogan and Taylor, Massachusetts Historical Society, p. 123).

I have just received a letter *** Such an attitude stems from a tragic misconception of time, from the strangely irrational notion that there is something in the very flow of time that will inevitably cure all ills. Actually, time itself is neutral; it can be used either destructively or constructively. More and more I feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than have the people of good will. …

Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be co workers with God … .
“Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., April 16, 1963.

The battle is the Lord’s. (I. Samuel 17:47)

I must submit, all my Hopes and Fears, to an overruling Providence, in which, unfashionable as Faith may be, I firmly believe.
July 3, 1776 Letter (first) of John Adams to Abigail Adams.

Freedom is worth dying for.

… I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us … . Yet through all the Gloom I can see Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. …
Id. (July 3, 1776 Adams Letter (second).

To Anthony’s point:

What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.

Ecclesiastes 1:9.

Janice Moore
Reply to  Janice Moore
July 4, 2018 12:42 pm

Request: Please fix the formatting (in general — NOT of my comment above). The font size (why did the bolded text get small? why, for no reason at all, did some text get BIG?? ) and that there is, apparently, no “blockquote” option, inter alia, is extremely annoying. (First time I’ve posted since the site went to this new format. Not impressed. Thanks for listening.)

Janice Moore
Reply to  Janice Moore
July 4, 2018 12:43 pm

Italicized text also got really tiny. Why?

Reply to  Janice Moore
July 4, 2018 3:14 pm

Hi Janice “The Librarian” !! (Shhhhhhhhhhhhh) !! LOL

Janice Moore
Reply to  Marcus
July 4, 2018 3:37 pm

Hi! 🙂 Did you know that I prayed for you about a week ago? I had forgotten to do that for quite awhile (oops). Hope you are doing okay.

Janice Moore
Reply to  Paul S
July 4, 2018 12:54 pm

A picture …
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Janice Moore
Reply to  Janice Moore
July 4, 2018 12:55 pm

And Patrick Henry gets it in one (paragraph):

“Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”

Reply to  Paul S
July 4, 2018 2:29 pm

Do you have a Cliff’s Notes version of this?

In this case, we need a Cliff’s Notes of the Cliff’s Notes.


JP Guthrie
Reply to  Paul S
July 4, 2018 7:03 pm

If you can’t be bothered to read the full version, then you don’t really deserve the sacrifice of the man who wrote it, or those many others who sacrificed far more than their thoughts, paper, and ink.

Paul Penrose
Reply to  Paul S
July 5, 2018 10:50 am

I know it is a difficult read, but anything of worth that can be obtained, including wisdom, requires effort; generally in equal proportions.

richard verney
July 4, 2018 10:43 am

Happy Independence Day to all our American cousins from those living across the pond, may God be with you, and with your President.

It is not only Americans that wish to see America made great again; the world badly needs a resurgent America, to set an example to others, and to shine a light on those who would undermine democracy and the will of the people, bringing the perpetrators to book, and one that is not frightened or ashamed to extol and demonstrate the wonders of the American dream.

Good luck with draining the swamp.


Reply to  richard verney
July 4, 2018 11:58 am

The Misty Isle of the Mother Country has one of only two original copies of the Declaration of Independence:


Reply to  Felix
July 4, 2018 12:25 pm

PS: Good luck in the World Cup!

Most European sides in the Cup since 2006, when there were also six of eight.

Reply to  Felix
July 4, 2018 12:49 pm

The World Cup is more a global event than the World Series, but still more like a Euro-Latin American Cup than World.

Year: 2002, ’06, ’10, ’14, ’18
Africa: 1, 0, 1, 0, 0
Asia: 1.5*, 0, 0, 0, 0
Europe: 3.5*, 6, 3, 4, 6
North America: 1, 0, 0, 1, 0
South America: 1, 2, 4, 3, 2

*Turkey was in the quarters in 2002.

North American sides: USA in ’02 and Costa Rica in ’14.
Asian side in ’02 was RoK, besides Turkey.
African sides: Senegal and Ghana.

Harry Passfield
Reply to  richard verney
July 4, 2018 1:04 pm

MAGA – for this side of the pond – Make Anglia Great Again!

Reply to  Harry Passfield
July 4, 2018 1:13 pm

The U of East Anglia is doing its best to bring derision down upon all Anglians, whether they be of the East, Mercian, Northumbrian or Lalland Scots varieties.

July 4, 2018 11:01 am

Happy Independence Day to all Americans !

Janice Moore
Reply to  vukcevic
July 4, 2018 12:57 pm

Thank you, Vukcevic! 🙂

Reply to  Janice Moore
July 4, 2018 1:34 pm

You are very welcome, nice to hear from you Ms Moore.

Janice Moore
Reply to  vukcevic
July 4, 2018 1:38 pm

Thanks! 🙂

Reply to  vukcevic
July 4, 2018 2:50 pm

And there is the little known role that African Americans played with their intelligence gathering, running messages and military supplies . All “dangerous” activities for them at that time.

July 4, 2018 11:31 am

Great speech.

Curious George
July 4, 2018 11:38 am

The National Education Association used this date to bestow a human and civil rights award on Colin Kaepernick for bravely kneeling at the National Anthem. Education, indeed.

Lance Wallace
July 4, 2018 12:02 pm

Thank you, Anthony, for this beautiful and stirring call to independence and freedom. A greatly enjoyable read–those Founding Fathers knew how to put a sentence together!

The David Mcullough biography of his second cousin (John Adams) is one of the finest and most memorable books I have read.

July 4, 2018 12:12 pm

When the spirit of liberty which now animates our hearts and gives success to our arms is extinct, our numbers will accelerate our ruin, and render us easier victims to tyranny.

Jordan Peterson has spent his career studying tyranny. It can come both from the left and the right. Tyranny from the left is sneakier because it disguises itself as virtue, but it is tyranny nevertheless. link

William Abbott
July 4, 2018 12:30 pm

Eh? Sounds like a creationist.

Reply to  William Abbott
July 4, 2018 1:48 pm

Sam Adams, like his cousin John, turned his back on their family’s traditional devout Puritan religion, but in different ways.

While, John, like most prominent Founders, was a deist, Sam became a congregationalist. Though more conventionally Christian than deists, congregationalists rejected the Puritan hierarchy, believing that each church should organize itself along whatever Protestant lines its members wanted.

Also unlike John and most Founders, Sam opposed religious toleration of Catholics.

D Matteson
July 4, 2018 12:31 pm

And a toast to a great speech by Samuel Adams with my favorite Samuel Adams beer, SAM ’76.

July 4, 2018 12:31 pm

Alexis de Tocqueville quotes:
“The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.”
― Alexis de Tocqueville

Reply to  JimG1
July 4, 2018 2:06 pm

Someone somewhere must have promulgated a “first law of quotes,” which says something like: quotes ascribed to famous people are usually misattributed. For Lincoln examples http://mentalfloss.com/article/63002/9-popular-quotes-commonly-misattributed-abe-lincoln

You might want to do some research on this supposed Tocqueville quote, Jim.

Reply to  Ralph Dave Westfall
July 4, 2018 7:39 pm

I first saw this quote, similarly attributed, 30 years ago, and it is not that relevant to me as to whom was the original speaker/writer but I do not wish to be accused of plagiarism. The words quoted are very fitting to the subject of predicting what is happening today from the 1800’s.

July 4, 2018 12:44 pm

I published a brief essay on July 4, 2016:
American Spring by Bob Hoye. It can be Googled.
The point was that the popular uprising could not be put down as authoritarians did with the “Prague Spring” of 1968. The election was close and I shudder to think about Hillary winning. Justin Trudeau in a pants suit?
The uprising has a strong executive with Trump and will continue to make headway against mindless authoritarians under any banner, promoting the hysteria of the day.
Happy Fourth.
Bob Hoye

ferd berple
Reply to  Bob Hoye
July 4, 2018 2:40 pm

Now we have Trudeau in GroperGate over his “handling” of a female reporter. he is using the ever popular amnesia defense.

This is not to be confused with ElbowGate for his infamous Gordie Howe hockey maneuver to bypass a female member of the loyal opposition.

It appears our Trudeau is truly fearless when face to face with the opposite sex.

July 4, 2018 12:48 pm

I’m gonna throw a couple beers in a cooler, slather on whatever the poison is that keeps mosquitos away, and enjoy the fireworks with a true friend.
Worries can wait till tomorrow.

July 4, 2018 12:59 pm

All the best to America today. Celebrate what the world should be celebrating with you, freedom of thought, freedom of act, free trade, democracy, the rule of law, and the freedom to worship a chosen deity in peace.

Great Britain is roundly condemned in this speech, quite rightly, the only defence being, it was new to colonisation and made mistakes. What nation can say they also, haven’t made mistakes along the way?

And my small take from Samuel Adams Speech is prescient, considering this blogs emphasis:

“And if we now cast our eyes over the nations of the earth we shall find, that instead of possessing the pure religion of the gospel, they may be divided either into infidels who deny the truth, or politicians who make religion a stalking horse for their ambition, or professors, who walk in the trammels of orthodoxy, and are more attentive to traditions and ordinances of men than to the oracles of truth.”

It seems the debates we have over politics, religion and science are nothing new. Not that we didn’t know that, but it’s useful to be reminded.

Have a happy 4th.

July 4, 2018 1:18 pm

Thanks Anthony.

Adams speaks straight to my heart and soul. There’s nothing I can add.

July 4, 2018 1:21 pm

The vote for independence was on July 2nd. . . . The document was signed by the members on August 2nd 1776.

John Hancock, as the president of the Continental Congress, signed the document on July 2. It’s why his signature is so prominent. His signature was the only one on the document until the other members signed it. There is a common saying: “Put your John Hancock on the document”–in other words, sign your name. Some people incorrectly say “John Henry,” but John Henry was a steel driving man–not a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

If we had lost the war, I’m sure John Hancock would have been the first to be hanged by the British. Of course, in those days, the British punishment for treason was “Hanging, Drawing, and Quartering”–a very unpleasant way to die.


Reply to  Jim Masterson
July 4, 2018 1:30 pm

They already had JH up on smuggling charges.

July 4, 2018 1:32 pm

Happy Independence Day to all…You Americans…and all the rest… Californians too 🙂

July 4, 2018 1:38 pm

My founder ancestor was George Clymer. Though a rather prominent founder you will find his tiny signature near the bottom. He did not sign the Declaration until 4 days after it was first signed because he was out of town taking care of the Congresses financial business at the time the majority first signed it. George was one of only eight men who signed both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution as a delegate from Pennsylvania. BTW George was against slavery and never owned a slave though as a merchant he did deal in commodities that slaves had produced.

I find it amusing when various people a various times demand reparations because of perceived wrongs. George, a self made man, was one of the richest of the founders prior to the Revolution. He served in Congress during the entire war and afterwards and lost 3/4 of his fortune during the war.

Leonard Lane
July 4, 2018 1:38 pm

Anthony, I also like these thoughts as we reflect at the confusion and misunderstanding, and hate present in so many of our colleges and universities.

“Truth loves an appeal to the common-sense of mankind. Your unperverted understandings can best determine on subjects of a practical nature. The positions and plans which are said to be above the comprehension of the multitude may be always suspected to be visionary and fruitless. He who made all men hath made the truths necessary to human happiness obvious to all.”

July 4, 2018 1:52 pm

Something for today’s would-be tyrants to ponder with dread:

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Robert Austin
July 4, 2018 2:12 pm

The American founding fathers were astonishingly erudite, intelligent and inspiring, just what was needed to convince the populace to follow them against the British might. And the founding documents, the Declaration and the Constitution still inspire not only Americans but peoples around the globe. As a Canadian, my line is from what we call in Canada, United Empire Loyalists. Eight Austin siblings in Connecticut had to to make the choice. Six stayed and two left for New Brunswick leaving most of their possessions. And so our branch of the family made a life in Canada but I still feel a connection to the great experiment some five generations later.

Reply to  Robert Austin
July 4, 2018 2:14 pm

Those are some long generations.

My family has had some very long generations, but I’m still seven generations removed from my Revolutionary War ancestors, born in 1950. That’s counting from the soldiers themselves, born in the 1730s to ’60s. Even more generations if I start from COL James Barrett, CO of the Concord militia in April 1775, in whose house were stored the munitions for which the Redcoat column was searching.

My family also included some Tories as well as Patriots. Some families wisely took both sides.

Tom in Florida
July 4, 2018 2:12 pm

On this day I would like to point your attention to the final lines of the Declaration of Independence.

“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor”.

Such amazing men so dedicated to the ideals of self governance that would gladly give up their property and their lives. To understand that this final sentence marked them as traitors to the King, to bring the Crown’s death sentence upon them is to understand what was in the hearts and minds of our Founders. This is the one portion of both the Declaration and the Constitution that still brings tears to my eyes every time I read it. Where are such men today?

Reply to  Tom in Florida
July 4, 2018 2:18 pm

Where are such men today?

Some died on the beaches of Normandy. They seem to arise whenever our country needs them.


July 4, 2018 2:21 pm

Once upon a time I read Algernon’s Sidney’s Discourses Concerning Government (every American should at least once). It took a while to find it, but Section XXV particularly talks to our times: https://archive.org/stream/discoursesconcer01sidn#page/360/mode/2up

Reply to  OK S.
July 4, 2018 2:36 pm

Algernon Sydney was right about Charles I. Not only was he a traitor, but so were his sons, Charles II and James II.

Even more so than the late, briefly king, Nazi uncle of the present British monarch.

Sadly, Charles II murdered Sydney, even though he had argued against executing Charles I.

Reply to  Felix
July 4, 2018 2:52 pm

But then, sadly, Dalrymple found evidence that not only the Stuarts, but Sydney himself was in Louis XIV’s pay.

Reply to  OK S.
July 4, 2018 2:55 pm

Gad! Your link uses the old-style “s” which looks like an “f”. Mathematicians still use that style of “ess” for the integral sign in calculus.


Reply to  Jim Masterson
July 4, 2018 3:12 pm

Same as in the Declaration itself:

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Reply to  Jim Masterson
July 4, 2018 8:43 pm

I’m guessing then that you won’t care for the print version of William Bradford’s On Plimoth Plantation even if it doesn’t have a single long s:

Easier reading than his hand-written account, though.

ferd berple
July 4, 2018 2:23 pm

Samuel Adams Speech – August 1, 1776
A true statesman. It is easy to underestimate the intellect of historical figures. His observation regarding the pope, magistrate, politician, and scientist remain equally true in our time.

I was very much struck by Adams clarity of vision that flowed from his religious convictions. A moral compass indeed.

a Canuck celebrating the 4th in Wisconsin.

Reply to  ferd berple
July 4, 2018 3:10 pm


Now that’s a really good point.

Considering the communication methods of the time, the lack of information relative to what we have now, the clarity of though in this speech is astonishing.

With all the resources the collective members of WUWT have at their finger tips, I doubt we could, not just propose a speech like this, but make it the foundation of the most successful nation the modern world has known.

It strikes me that rather than focussing on scientific fact, political or religious dogma, or even accepted cultural standards, this is a philosophical blueprint based on common decency towards our fellow man.

More than that, the speech seems to cut through all those influences, to address a desire for common sense and honour, and draws on the basic principles of humanity, buried deep within those influences. In that respect, it’s almost mocking them.

I can’t imagine this speech was written drawing on the collective knowledge of researchers, then crafted and massaged until it appealed to a certain percentage of voters, then delivered with theatrical precision. It was, simply, the belief of a man who, with limited resources, had to think for himself.

I cringe every time I hear America condemned, for all the reasons it can be criticised for because, in the in the balance of probability, the world would be a far bleaker place without it.

There’s 365 days we can all celebrate America, not just one.

Roger Knights
July 4, 2018 3:09 pm

Wonderful though this is, Tom Paine’s “Common Sense”, published six months earlier, has even more punch and rhetorical incisiveness. It can be read (after you zoom the screen size) at:

Roger Knights
Reply to  Roger Knights
July 4, 2018 3:28 pm

PS: It is to “Common Sense” that Adams alludes when saying:

“Attend to a portion on this subject from a book in our defence, written, I had almost said by the pen of inspiration. “I lay no stress,” says he, “on charters – they derive their rights from a higher source. …””

July 4, 2018 3:24 pm

Too verbose. Such flowery language doesn’t work for our age anymore.
He should have cut it down to that one paragraph and edited out the rest. But I love his zeal…

Roger Knights
Reply to  TDBraun
July 5, 2018 5:19 pm

Here’s H.L. Mencken’s humorous re-write of the Declaration if it had been written by an average American of the 1920s: http://xroads.virginia.edu/~drbr/decind.html Mencken commented on it later thusly:

‘It must be obvious that more than one section of the original is now quite unintelligible to the average American of the sort using the Common Speech. What would he make, for example, of such a sentence as this one: “He has called together bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures”? Or of this: “He has refused for a long time, after such dissolution, to cause others to be elected, whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise.” Such Johnsonian periods are quite beyond his comprehension, and no doubt the fact is at least partly to blame for the neglect upon which the Declaration has fallen in recent years, When, during the Wilson-Palmer saturnalia of oppressions [1918-1920], specialists in liberty began protesting that the Declaration plainly gave the people the right to alter the government under which they lived and even to abolish it altogether, they encountered the utmost incredulity. On more than one occasion, in fact, such an exegete was tarred and feathered by shocked members of the American Legion, even after the Declaration had been read to them. What ailed them was simply that they could not understand its Eighteenth Century English.’

Tom Abbott
July 4, 2018 4:56 pm

Tell Sam Adams we are still fighting for our personal freedoms and we are still winning this battle.

John MacDonald
July 4, 2018 5:04 pm

Thank you Anthony…and Janice…for this wonderful posting. It is always appropriate to read these documents each year.
Today I celebrate with my wife our 13th anniversary, along with all of you who celebrate the birth of this great country.
Just as 3 days ago I celebrated Canada Day for the country of my birth. Two wonderful countries that sprang to being from a common heritage. Indeed, I can trace back to Scotland in 1792, when a man named Angus decided that English rule was not for him either, so he made his way to Nova Scotia. Thus I too am now the rebel American son of a proud family still in the Canada they love.
The Declaration and the Constitution won me over.
Life, liberty and happy pursuits to all.

Janice Moore
Reply to  John MacDonald
July 4, 2018 5:34 pm

Dear Mr. MacDonald,


Wishing you MUCH happiness as you continue on up the path of life — together.

comment image

Smiling for you,


P.S. I WANTED to give you a song, but, I can’t post youtube videos anymore…. I tried about 50 million times on “Test” today…. 🙁

Well, here is the link to it anyway — play it and dance…. nice and slow…… (even if one or both of you is in a wheelchair, you can dance…..

“It Had to Be You” — going out to a fine Scot and his beloved 🙂
(Haynes and Forrest)

P.P.S. I had nothing to do with this post, btw, THANK YOU, just the same for the accolade (if you meant my “Cliff’s Notes” post, then, thank you, so much, for the kind acknowledgement — it took me a bit of time to write that!

Joel O'Bryan
July 4, 2018 5:32 pm

We are as always blessed by having two very large oceans between us and our adversaries. Europe, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Israel… have known both the threat and the reality of a foreign army marching through their towns and cities. Foreign aircraft over their skies dropping bombs. Even Australia was once threatened with invasion from an Imperial Japan. Someday it could also be threatened by an Imperial China, intent on seizing its mineral wealth.

We are fortunate here in fortress North America.

Our demise will not come from a Russia or a China — But from within. From a tyrant who manages to control the military against its own people.

That is why we must uphold the Constitution. To its letter, to its purpose.

The neo-Marxists, thinly-veiled as Socialists today, would have us tear-up the Constitution, to make us somehow believe it oppresses us, when it really oppresses their quest for power. Their intent is to make it mean anything that as the political winds blow.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
July 4, 2018 5:39 pm

Many American states knew foreign armies marching through their towns and cities, 1861-65.

Also in 1775-83 and 1812-15.

A number of US states was bombed, 1941-45.

But agree that even with illegal immigration, our gravest present danger is not invasion from without but decadence within.

July 4, 2018 5:51 pm

“If we 1ove wealth better than liberty, the tranquillity of servitude, than the animating contest of freedom – go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”

John in Oz
July 4, 2018 5:54 pm

Happy Independence Day to you all from Oz (especially my 8 US cousins in Virginia)

This sentence stood out early to me and should be repeated by all climate ‘scientists’ every morning and 3 times before announcing their next new discovery related to their ‘settled science’:

Let me beseech you, then, to hear me with caution, to examine without prejudice, and to correct the mistakes into which I may be hurried by my zeal.(/blockquote>

Gunga Din
July 4, 2018 6:20 pm

The ideals set forth in The Declaration of Independence came before the flag that stands for those ideals.
Those who dishonor it, don’t seem to share those ideals.

Pete Weedon
July 5, 2018 1:46 am

As a Brit, this is, for me, uncomfortable reading! I console myself with the thought that ‘that was then’ and the hope that ‘now shall be better’.

Reply to  Pete Weedon
July 5, 2018 7:02 am

Dont fret, it didnt happen.

July 5, 2018 3:20 am

“our meekness and patience should be insulted: our coasts harassed: our towns demolished and plundered, and our wives and offspring exposed to nakedness, hunger and death”

Now I am pretty sure that DIDNT happen.

Not only was there large support for American independance in Britain (the Prime Minister supported it, and many officers resigned when called to go to war against colonists) but the very basis of the American revolution was bred in the English revolution 100 years earlier. It is no mistake that the Americans used Jonathon Locke’s writings, from 100 years earlier, as their guidance, as did English men at that time, when English men over threw a Catholic Papist monarchy.

And talking of which, there WAS no papistry in Britain or its Empire at the time of Americna independence. It was Protestant. In fact George was chosen to be king from a minor Hanovarian family because he was Protestant.

So yes, as he admits himself, Adams was an extremist, with very incorrect views of events.

Reply to  MattS
July 5, 2018 6:25 am

Utter rubbish but trumpeted from every corner.
The Confederates used Locke in their secessionist folly.
Leibniz is the source of the Preamble. Have a look at Leibniz’s New Essays, and Securitas Publica.
And what is the British Monarch but the head of a Church? A theocracy?

Reply to  bonbon
July 5, 2018 7:02 am

Locke, the philosopher of the American Revolution. https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=locke+philosopher+of+the+american+revolutionjh&rlz=1C1CHBF_en-GBGB798GB798&oq=locke+philosopher+of+the+american+revolutionjh&aqs=chrome..69i57.7173j1j8&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

As for religion, Adams specifically said Papistry. Britain was NOT Catholic, and hadnt been for a very long time. There was NO Papistry for Adams to object to, it is ranting idiocy that he does.

And “our meekness and patience should be insulted: our coasts harassed: our towns demolished and plundered, and our wives and offspring exposed to nakedness, hunger and death” is utter crap. It didnt happen. Britain did not do that to its own people.

The reason Adams promulgated this garbage is because he wanted to exploit the Indian territories in the west, given to them and protested from exploitation by the British.

In order to break the strong relationship the British had with the natives Adams and his cronies even dressed up as natives when they pillaged British boats of tea. Tea that had recently had its tax REMOVED in order to compete with smuggled tea.

Those are the facts.

Reply to  MattS
July 5, 2018 12:16 pm

Fake news . Locke was roundly ridiculed by Leibniz. The reason the Brits have a problem, is Leibniz almost became the first British Prime Minister.
Now back to the British theocracy – a Henry VIII legacy. Of course this is controversial – why do you think this Post happens?
Now Trump will meet Putin and secure that old special relationship. Remember Russia parked its entire naval fleet at NY and SF with a telegram to Britain that interference meant war, during the British supported Confederate secession folly. Care to listen up when Putin makes repeated reminders?

Reply to  bonbon
July 5, 2018 11:08 pm

Who said Locke was the only influence?

It doesnt change the fact that the basis of the English Civil War Part II, the American Revolution, has its roots in the freedom expressed by English people throughout history and which is inherent in Saxon culture, since that is what English people are, Saxons, with a history of law, freedom and democracy that goes way back.

The French, who helped you, ARE papists, the British not, in fact Catholics (Papists)_ had been banned from holding any kind of public or government role in Britain for almost a century, and British people did not “our towns demolished and plundered, and our wives and offspring exposed to nakedness, hunger and death” beyond what would be normal law keeping.

Adams was, as he admits in his speech, an extremist with some ludicrous views.

Reply to  bonbon
July 5, 2018 7:24 am

And on top of that, the French who helped you WERE Catholic, and therefore Papists!

Really, Adams was full of shit.

Reply to  MattS
July 5, 2018 11:18 pm

And yet he saved America, and you didn’t.

Reply to  Felix
July 6, 2018 11:16 pm

Adams saved America? From what?

Reply to  MattS
July 5, 2018 12:31 pm

Calvinists don’t consider Anglicans to be Protestants. Not sure about how Lutherans feel.

Just not recognizing the authority of the Bishop of Rome isn’t enough to qualify as Protestant. You also have to reject apostolic succession and everything in Church doctrine not derived from the Bible.

The Hanoverians weren’t required to convert to Anglicanism in order to be head of that denomination, however.

Lathbury wrote in his “History of the Book of Common Prayer” (1858): “George I, remained a Lutheran as long as he lived, and had his German chaplain; but he conformed on some occasions with the Church of England. George II. was in the same position. Though Lutherans, they exercised acts of supremacy in the Church of England; and the common opinion was, that there was no opposition between the views of the two Churches.”

July 5, 2018 5:52 am

Tribute to a Founding Father and the first American scientist, also to his contemporary woman scientist

Benjamin Franklin’s kite experiment in 1752

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Emilie du Chatelet was the same age as Franklin. She was the first woman physicist to publish a physics book in 1740

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Reply to  Dr. Strangelove
July 5, 2018 12:34 pm

Franklin named the Gulf Stream in 1762.

July 5, 2018 6:29 am

Some who would persuade us that they have tender feelings for future generations, while they are insensible to the happiness of the present, are perpetually foreboding a train of dissensions under our popular system.

Same as it ever was.


July 5, 2018 6:43 am

The entire “Russiagate” scam was run by MI6 Christopher Stelleel and Dearlove, from London with treasonous US co-conspirators. An attempt at regime change, this time the USA and Trump. All to stop the meeting in Helsinki with Trump and Putin. Great Britain is going berserk – a century of geopolitics, their essential tool , is coming to an end – see the Economist, the Times and the City’s Financial Times’ hysterics. What Trump did with Korea has driven London to chew carpet. Looks like Salisbury is a very dangerous place at the moment.
As Trump reminded Trudeau – “you guys burnt down the Executive Mansion in 1814”, a not so subtle reminder.
Former diplomat and military expert Alexander Bartosh stated his view that the “Russian threat” is now all the U.K. has in Europe; “The common belief that America and Britain are such great friends isn’t really justified, as there are many in the U.S. who support tougher and more pragmatic relations with the U.K.”
See Mattis’ letter on NATO…

Reply to  bonbon
July 5, 2018 1:23 pm

Bonbon: The entire “Russiagate” scam was run by MI6 Christopher Stelleel and Dearlove, from London with treasonous US co-conspirators.”

If only this were true. Steele’s unconfirmed rumors were published BEFORE the election ONLY by Yahoo News and Mother Jones. The vast majority of Americans didn’t hear about the Steele Dossier or its contents until January 2017 – thanks to an Intelligence Community that correctly kept its mouth shut about unconfirmed opposition research and the bulk of the press, which also refused to publish.

Russians almost certainly hacked the DNC and Podesta. The Podesta child sex ring at the Cosmic Ping Pong Pizzeria is the poster child for the spread of fake newsfor political purposes on the Internet. The Russian Internet Agency bought ads on Facebook and Twitter (mostly sowing dissension, which aided Trump) and even organized political rallies in the US. Russian efforts to influence the election UNDOUBTEDLY reached far more Americans than Steele’s.

And REALITY is that Trump Jr., Kushner, Manafort, Page, and Papadopolous all worked for the Trump campaigned and met with influential Russians during the campaign; in one case with the unambiguous intent of getting hold of hacked documents. Flynn was fired for lying about his contacts with the Russians. Of course, none of this directly connects Trump to the Russians. (For that you might reflect upon Trump’s inability to personally criticize Mr. Putin and his incessant criticism of the FBI. But such reflections produce opinion, not fact.)

Additional facts are that Putin impulsively occupied and annexed Crimea in 2014, despite treaties signed less than two decades earlier and has sponsored an insurrection in Eastern Ukraine. Russian military exercises are also alarming its neighbors.

July 5, 2018 2:34 pm

I’d like to contribute a few quotes from Alice Dreger’s book subtitled “Heretics, Activists, and the Search for Justice in Science”. (WordPress objects to the full title.) It starts with the scientific ideals of Feynman’s “Cargo Cult Science” and explains why they are important to democracy. An appropriate topic for July 4.


“[Where would we be] if the Pope had succeeded in using his self-serving Catholic identity politics to forever quash Galileo’s evidence that the ancients and the Bible were wrong about the Earth.”

“Science and democracy grew up together [in the Enlightenment] … many of America’s founders were science geeks. The American freedom to think, to know, to learn, to speak – these were freedoms that the radical Galileo had seized..” (An electorate without such freedoms and informed by increasingly polarized news, social media, and propaganda makes democracy a dubious enterprise.)

“Good scholarship had to put the search for truth first and the quest for social justice second… The world needed that of us, to maintain – by our example, by our very existence – a world that would keep on learning and questioning, that would remain free in thought, inquiry and word.” (A principle that could be applied to this science blog.)

“Only insanely privileged people like us [academics], who never fear the knock of a corrupt police could think that guilt or innocence [truth] should be determined by identity rather than facts. Science – the quest for evidence – is not just ‘another way of knowing.'”

Dreger’s relatives lived in Communist Poland. Thought police knocking on the door were a reality to her. Inconceivable here? Climate scientists are petitioning the government to apply RICO to climate change skepticism. Any form of climate heresy in academia carries severe penalties, but Dreger’s book will show you that this phenomena is not unique to climate science.

Of course, heretics who accurately explain why rising GHGs will cause some warming are attacked at WUWT with equal fervor. Short clever comments to the contrary get the most “likes”.

“I longed to get away from “representations of reality” .. to know what is true, to have my work JUDGED BY OTHERS, to find EVIDENCE that an idea is right OR WRONG”.

Does these principles motivate those who post here?

Warning. Ms. Dreger studies the medical treatment of people born with indeterminate sex, a subject that makes me and probably others, uncomfortable. She once was a hero of the liberal left, and the women’s and LGBTQ movements until her research led her in directions that caused her allies to turn on her. Then came:

“the death threats, the sex charges, the alleged genocides, the epidemics, the alien abductees, the anti-lesbian drug, the unethical ethicists, the fight with Martina Navratilova and, of course, [the symbolic title of this book, which WordPress won’t let me use]”

July 6, 2018 10:08 am

I like this quote.

“Truth loves an appeal to the common-sense of mankind. Your unperverted understandings can best determine on subjects of a practical nature. The positions and plans which are said to be above the comprehension of the multitude may be always suspected to be visionary and fruitless. He who made all men hath made the truths necessary to human happiness obvious to all.”

July 10, 2018 3:53 pm

As a father, I find this to be very motivating:

It is therefore injustice and cruelty to our offspring, and would stamp us with the character of baseness and cowardice, to leave the salvation of this country to be worked out by them with accumulated difficulty and danger.

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