Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Independence Day!

  • The Declaration of Independence ("Charters of Freedom" - National Archives)

  • Speech on the Occasion of the One Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, by President Calvin Coolidge. July 25, 1926. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania:
    ... Governments do not make ideals, but ideals make governments. This is both historically and logically true. Of course the government can help to sustain ideals and can create institutions through which they can be the better observed, but their source by their very nature is in the people. The people have to bear their own responsibilities. There is no method by which that burden can be shifted to the government. It is not the enactment, but the observance of laws, that creates the character of a nation.

    About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers.

  • Archbp. Carroll’s “Prayer for Government” (Fr. John Zuhlsdorf) A prayer composed by John Carroll, Archbishop of Baltimore, in 1791. He was the first bishop appointed for the United States in 1789 by Pope Pius VI. He was made the first archbishop when his see of Baltimore was elevated to the status of an archdiocese. He was also cousin of Charles Carroll of Maryland, a Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence.

  • 10 Things You Should Know About the American Founding (Catholic World Report) - Bradley J. Birzer, author of American Cicero: The Life of Charles Carroll (ISI, 2012) reminds us of a number of interesting facts about the era of our Founding Fathers.

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