Happy Independence Day!

July 4, 2014

In honor of the Founding Fathers and our other forbears, consider Calvin Coolidge’s “Speech on the 150th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence”.

Although a century and a half measured in comparison with the length of human experience is but a short time, yet measured in the life of governments and nations it ranks as a very respectable period. Certainly enough time has elapsed to demonstrate with a great deal of thoroughness the value of our institutions and their dependability as rules for the regulation of human conduct and the advancement of civilization. . . .

. . . The American Revolution represented the informed and mature convictions of a great mass of independent, liberty-loving, God-fearing people who knew their rights, and possessed the courage to dare to maintain them.

. . . It was well advised. It had about it nothing of the lawless and disordered nature of a riotous insurrection. It was maintained on a plane which rises above the ordinary conception of rebellion. It was in no sense a radical movement but took on the dignity of a resistance to illegal usurpations. It was conservative and represented the action of the colonists to maintain their constitutional rights which from time immemorial had been guaranteed to them under the law of the land.

Coolidge spoke at some length, but the speech is available in its entirety at Teaching American History.org.

National Review’s Charles C. W. Cooke more or less agrees with him (echoing Mark Steyn and others) that the American Revolution can be understood to be at least as much an extension and further development of the English culture of liberty as a break with England.
“The Civil War of 1776: An English war for American independence”

. . . in truth, the break of 1776 was the latest in a series of fallings out between brothers — a civil war fought by men who were separated by an ocean but not by a history.

The extent to which his and others’ account of the history veers into anti-Catholicism, or whether Catholicism or traditional Christianity is inherently pro-monarchy (consider 1 Samuel 8), is a question for another day.

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