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Sunday, Dec. 28, 2014

June 27, 2012

Posted Tuesday, July 10, 2012, at 10:39 AM

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." -Samuel Adams

For 233 years, Independence Day has been the celebration of the day we declared our independence from the tyrannical reign of King George III. Since Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence it has been a symbol of freedom known worldwide.

July 4th is a day to celebrate our freedom, specifically the freedom to govern ourselves. Even in the midst of political divide, Americans have always known that July 4th is the day we celebrate our freedoms that the Founders fought and died for.

We should remember the extreme sacrifices the Founders made so we could be free. We also cannot forget the extreme danger that was involved by just signing the document. That seems to be taken for granted nowadays, but it was an act of true bravery. One of the bravest, Ben Franklin, commented after he signed it:

"We must hang together, or assuredly, we will hang separately"

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died on the same day, July 4, 1826, the fiftieth anniversary of the date officially recognized for the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Ten days earlier, on June 24, 1826, in response to a request that he attend a ceremony commemorating that anniversary, Thomas Jefferson wrote to Washington a response that preserves the essential reason we celebrate.

It is not simply that America is celebrating a birthday or the courage it exercised to throw off the tyranny in the War for Independence. It is, rather, that we celebrate a unique event in the history of the world-a moment when men possessed of governing power chose not to vest sovereignty in themselves but to dedicate their lives, their fortunes, and their honor to a principle that all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and that no government is just except that which is based on the consent of the governed and is instituted to protect the rights of the governed. That is the essential reason we celebrate Independence Day.

As those principles have receded in practice with the growth of big government, the patriots among us have fought to restore them, mindful of the blessings that victories for liberty bring to us and our posterity. Let us endeavor to recover the spirit of 1776 that caused people bravely to sever the bonds of slavery and dependence and assume the full mantle of freedom.

As always, it is an honor to serve you in the Missouri House. If you would like to discuss any issue, please call 573-751-3629. You can also email me at Kent.Hampton@house.mo.gov. I look forward to hearing from you.



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