- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 5, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Yesterday, the greatest question was decided which ever was debated in America; and a greater perhaps never was, nor will be, decided among men. A resolution was passed without one dissenting colony, “that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States.” …

[Independence Day] will be the most memorable epocha in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forevermore. …

Nip the shoots of arbitrary power in the bud, is the only maxim which can ever preserve the liberties of any people. …

A Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever. …

Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide. …

What do we mean by the Revolution? The war? That was no part of the revolution; it was only an effect and consequence of it. The revolution was in the minds of the people, and this was effected from 1760-1775, in the course of 15 years, before a drop of blood was shed at Lexington. …

Power always sincerely, conscientiously, de tres bon foi, believes itself right. Power always thinks it has a great soul and vast views, beyond the comprehension of the weak. …

[On the Boston Tea Party] This is the most magnificent movement of all! There is a dignity, a majesty, a sublimity, in this last effort of the patriots that I greatly admire. The people should never rise without doing something to be remembered - something notable and striking. This destruction of the tea is so bold, so daring, so firm, intrepid and inflexible, and it must have so important consequences, and so lasting, that I can’t but consider it as an epocha in history!

Thomas Jefferson:

The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time; the hand of force may destroy, but cannot disjoin them. …

Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost. …

What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? …

Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government; that whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them to rights. …

No generation can contract debts greater than may be paid during the course of its own existence. …

I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground: That “all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States or to the people.” To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specially drawn around the powers of Congress, is to take possession of a boundless field of power, no longer susceptible of any definition. …

The incorporation of a bank, and the powers assumed by this bill, have not, in my opinion, been delegated to the United States, by the Constitution. …

I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty, than those attending too small a degree of it. …

A little patience, and we shall see the reign of witches pass over, their spells dissolve, and the people, recovering their true sight, restore their government to its true principles. It is true that in the meantime we are suffering deeply in spirit, and incurring the horrors of a war and long oppressions of enormous public debt. If the game runs sometimes against us at home we must have patience till luck turns, and then we shall have an opportunity of winning back the principles we have lost, for this is a game where principles are at stake. …

A wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned.

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