Thanks to King George; America and Mother England, the Relationship That Matters

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), July 4, 2012 | Go to article overview

Thanks to King George; America and Mother England, the Relationship That Matters


Byline: THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Today is the day when Americans chomp hotdogs, watch fireworks and rightfully reflect on all this great nation has achieved. The occasion naturally stirs up patriotic sentiment for everything that makes the Unites States a better place to live than anywhere else, such as the rule of law, individual sovereignty in the form of a vote, and respect for civil liberties. Now that the foundations of our freedom are under attack from the White House, parts of Congress and the Supreme Court, it's more important than ever to appreciate their originality. As awkward as it might be to admit on Independence Day, a lot of the ideas that made America great are British.

On this occasion celebrating the Declaration of Independence, it's fitting to note that when writing this tour de force, Thomas Jefferson's most significant influence was Two Treatises of Government by John Locke, an English philosopher who focused on natural rights and died seven decades before 1776. Jefferson's most momentous line is, 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. That's a direct extension of this from Locke: The state of nature has a law of nature to govern it, which obliges every one: and reason, which is that law, teaches all mankind, who will but consult it, that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions: for men being all the workmanship of one omnipotent, and infinitely wise maker. …

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