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Happy 4th, and may we all find our will to be free

Happy 4th, and may we all find our will to be free

The final words of the Declaration of Independence hold the key to freedom for all people of the world.

“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, our sacred Honor.”

This pledge to risk all we hold dear in defense of freedom has always been the requirement for societies and nations endowed with the blessings of human freedom.

56 men signed the Declaration of Independence.

56 men took this pledge.

But this was not a light-hearted, empty promise.

This pledge, was heavy, full of risk.

Challenging the preeminent global power of the time meant you could lose everything.

And yet these men signed, believing with all their heart that the potential sacrifice was worth it.

And many of these men did indeed pay the price.

The British reputation for violent retribution against their enemies was well known.

And they delivered on that reputation.

History focuses on the travails of Washington’s army.

But many signatories of the Declaration suffered far worse fates than a cold, dark winter at Valley Forge.

  • 8 signers had their homes and/or farms pillaged and destroyed by the British
  • 4 were captured/arrested
  • 2 had wives and/or children arrested and horribly mistreated
  • 5 lost vast fortunes and died in poverty, with many others taking on great personal expense to support the revolution
  • Others narrowly escaped arrest and went into hiding for years
  • All lost meaningful friendships and relationships

Overall, at least 1/3 of the signers suffered intensely as a result of their actions.

Was it worth it?

Is freedom worth it?

Every person - every society - will have a different answer to those questions.


The will to be free is a spectrum, with an enslaved society on one end, and an unconquerable people on the other, and most of us living somewhere in the muddled middle.


But the will of the people to be free was strong in those days of the revolution.

  • “Give me liberty, or give me death,” shouted Patrick Henry in a passionate speech that set the tone for the era.
  • “I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country,” said Nathan Hale in the moments before being hung by the British.
  • “Live free, or die.” The New Hampshire state motto emerged during the revolution and spoke as clearly then as it does now.

How many people today would utter the words above, and truly be willing to live up to them?

In modern times, we’ve been taught that our military is enough.

Their pledge to put their lives on the line is enough to preserve our freedoms.

But the force of our military is projected outward, not inward.

And we don’t have to look far back in time to find many, many examples of tyranny emerging within a society rather than coming from without.

At the end of the day, the only check against tyranny growing from within a society are the people themselves.

As George Washington warned, “The people must remain ever vigilant against tyrants masquerading as public servants.”

Shielding ourselves from the concentration of power that leads to tyranny is not about supporting the right party.

It’s not about supporting the right politicians.

It’s about removing the mask of blind loyalty to one faction or another, and holding ALL parties and ALL politicians accountable at every level.

And it’s about people everywhere choosing to exercise their power every day, rather than delegating that power to others.

We’re all in this together.

Tyranny could just as easily arise in the party you support as the party you oppose.

And when the next storm of tyranny arrives, we will all be faced with the same questions.

What will you fight?

What will you endure?

When that next storm arrives and our freedom is being stripped away…

We must find the will to speak.

We must find the will to say no.

We must find the will to hold the line for ourselves, our families, and for all of humanity.

When no one holds the line, we reach the end of the line.

If few stand and fight, the burden of freedom may become too heavy to bear, and we may lose all.

If enough of us stand our ground, that burden instead may become light for all.

It’s not a complex formula.

Freedom endures when enough men and women stoke the fire of their will to be free.

And so it has always been.

Happy 4th of July to all the people of the world, and may we all find that fire and that will be free.