On July 4, 1776, it was the belief of most, if not all, that a powerful, centralized government was tantamount to tyranny and oppression. This belief drove the thirteen United States of America to unanimously declare, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” In this Declaration these thirteen States were effectively separating themselves from England, establishing a new government, and laying the foundation for what is arguably the greatest nation to ever exist in the history of the world.
In the beginning years of our country the jealous rivalries between the States and the hatred of any centralized power almost suffocated the dream of freedom. On May 27, 1780, General George Washington wrote a letter to Congress from Morristown in which he lamented, “It is with infinite pain that I inform Congress that we are reduced again to a situation of extremity for want of meat.” Congress, powerless and penniless, being completely unsupported by the State assemblies, responded stubbornly to Washington’s letter by reminding him that in the last war “the soldiers provided their own food and clothing.”
How the splintered and suspicious federation of loosely allied states ever won the war against a vastly superior and better-funded army is one of history’s great mysteries. Many contend that it was the divine providence of Almighty God. Given the facts it is hard to argue with such a conclusion.
It seems to me that the key to our success as a nation has not been our declaration of independence. In fact, it can be persuasively argued that it is our penchant for independence and individualism that will eventually lead to our undoing. No, I believe that it is our declaration of dependence that is at the heart of our success. “We want no governor but the Governor of the Universe to rule over us,” is what the town of Ashfield, Massachusetts declared in its town meeting.
If only we would recommit ourselves as a people to that Declaration of Dependence upon Almighty God. It is our only hope as a free nation.