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246 YEARS ago delegates from all the American colonies gathered in Philadelphia to embrace the text that Thomas Jefferson had left us as a great and principal legacy: the United States was being born and, for the first time, conceived as a free and independent nation.
The Declaration of Independence, pronounced on July 4, 1776, announced the first steps that cemented what is today the freest and most prosperous nation in the world. Legacy of the Founding Fathers, the columns that build the United States are a guarantee of its greatness.
To date, no other nation has been born on the principles of freedom, as the United States was. It is precisely this dynamic that follows the birth of America that leads Tocqueville to praise American life in his great work, Democracy in America.
With this, I only want to emphasize that the United States is a great country, built on a foundation that differentiates it from the rest of the countries of the world. A beacon of hope. A city on a hill, as John Winthrop and later Reagan would say. An exceptional city, worth protecting from those who want to burn it down.
Now, I want to return to the importance of Thomas Jefferson. We are talking about the most important thinker of classical liberalism and perhaps the most influential in the world. Father of the principles of equality in the eyes of the law and the notion that we are all born with the inalienable right to liberty. It is remarkable that he was the author of the Declaration we celebrate today. To honor him, I would like to leave you with some of his phrases, which I consider pertinent:
- Nothing in Europe can counterbalance the freedom, the simplicity, the friendship and the domestic felicity we enjoy in America
- I know no country where… public esteem is so attached to worth, regardless of wealth.
Hope for the world:
- We can surely boast of having set the world a beautiful example of a government reformed by reason alone without bloodshed.
- The last hope of human liberty in this world rests on us
- The eyes of the virtuous, all over the earth, are turned with anxiety on us, as the only depósitos of the sacred fire of liberty
- The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time; the hand of force may destroy, but cannot disjoin them
- I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending to small a degree of it
- Timid men… prefer the calm of despotism to the boisterous sea of liberty.
- The true barriers of our liberty in this country are our State governments.
- The last hope of human liberty in this world rests on us. We ought, for so dear a stake, to sacrifice every attachment and every enmity.
Declaration of Independence:
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 to 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.
Happy Fourth of July!
Orlando Avendaño is the co-editor-in-chief of El American. He is a Venezuelan journalist and has studies in the History of Venezuela. He is the author of the book Days of submission // Orlando Avendaño es el co-editor en Jefe de El American. Es periodista venezolano y cuenta con estudios en Historia de Venezuela. Es autor del libro Días de sumisión.