The Meaning of Independence

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The 4th of July is just days away. Independence Day. This is America’s day to celebrate independence from Great Britain and the formation of a new country. It is the time when our Founding Fathers decided that enough was enough and that we needed to become a separate and independent nation.

What is independence, anyway?

The definition of independence as defined for kids by states it this way: (noun) in·de·pen·dence \ in-də-ˈpen-dəns\

“the quality or state of not being under the control of, reliant on, or connected with someone or something else.” I chose the kids definition to view it in its simplest terms.
Independence. What a concept. Imagine the concern, and even the fear that many had at this time in history. Independence; it meant cutting ourselves off from the lifeline to a great and powerful nation who promised to care for us, feed us and defend us from foreign powers who might now take advantage of our newly formed independent status.
We would now have to make it on our own. No more reliance on someone or something to direct us, guide us with promises to sustain us. We would have to make it with our own ingenuity; we would have to make our own decisions and thrive through our own efforts and hard work. No more guarantees of safety from a large and powerful government. We were on our own. Surely, only a brave and progressive people would desire to face such unknown trials that this newfound independence may bring.   

Conflicting views of independence

It is interesting to discover that some saw these same possibilities not as something to fear but rather as opportunities. Some recognized that the promise of security also came with the promise of oppression. But now that decision had been made; we were independent, we were free. Imagine the rush of powerful emotions that can only be experienced by a truly free and fiercely independent people. Imagine. Just imagine.

What did independence mean to the new Americans?

It meant that they would finally make their own decisions without interference of some large, disengaged government that continually grew in power; a government that with the stroke of a pen was empowered to force more and more of its decisions upon a beleaguered and resentful populace. It meant that success or failure was finally in the hands of the individual. It meant being released from oppressive taxation that threatened to smother their chances for success and their dreams of wealth. It meant ‘Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness”. It meant everything.

Independence is our permanent right, isn’t it?

Independence is not a right. It is not free, nor does it come with a guarantee of permanence. We have had to fight to preserve it many times in our history. We are still fighting to preserve it.

What can possibly threaten the independence and freedom of a country as great as the United States of America? What country or outside force would dare attempt to extinguish our independence and freedom?  

Abraham Lincoln’s answer

Here’s what the sixteenth President of the United States had to say on this very subject when he addressed the Young Men’s Lyceum, of Springfield, Illinois way back on January 27, 1838.  “At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it? Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step the Ocean, and crush us at a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years. At what point, then, is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.”

Happy Independence Day. Let’s celebrate!

It definitely is a time for celebration. Have fun. Enjoy your family as well as your independence and freedom. Celebrate. Remain thankful for the gift of independence and freedom that has been provided and preserved by those brave souls who came before us and those who continue to defend us. And always remain vigilant for those who would attempt to remove these wonderful and priceless gifts for their personal gain.



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