What are we celebrating on July 4th?
Today is July 4th, 2017, we celebrate the day the Continental Congress declared independence from the British Crown. Today, we celebrate more than an eloquent document or the start of a war or even the formation of a country. We celebrate the concept of local government and self-determination. The 13 colonies didn’t secede from Britain because they hated the British culture or customs but because the King and Parliament violated their rights as British people. They decided to declare independence of their 13 states to protect their way of life and their rights. They believed that the role of government is to protect the natural rights of the people against violation and when the government itself violates these rights then that government ought to be abolished.
The 13 colonies were functioning as independent states with independent legislatures for over a century before independence. They relied on the central government in London only for defense of their trade ships and foreign policy. When that government started to tax them and regulate how they conduct their business they revolted against this government and declared their independence.
The union that the states formed was a replacement for this role they expected from the central government. They expected that government to represent them in international relations, protect their trade routes and borders and regulate trade among them to prevent one state from restricting trade with another trade and establish a shared sound currency. The powers delegated to the central government both in the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution are all to facilitate these concerns.
We deviated a lot from the vision of the founders. Many citizens look to the central government in Washington D.C. for solutions, aid, and handouts. The citizens and the states gave up on their rights in this union and let the federal government usurp powers to regulate all areas of commerce, inflate the currency, tax the people, redistribute income, and engage in unnecessary wars.
We do need to remember the reasons our founding fathers sought independence and formed this union and engage in all possible political and educational activities to teach the citizens and the state governments about their rights in this union and the proper role of the federal government as envisioned by the founding fathers and ratified in the Constitution.