Opposite Forms of Freedom on the Fourthby Jacob G. Hornberger
Jul. 01, 2011
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I’d like to share two points about the Fourth of July that I believe are important:
First, the people who signed the Declaration of Independence were not American citizens, as is commonly believed. The people who took up arms against the British government were not fighting a foreign power. The revolutionaries were British citizens. They took up arms against their own government. They were shooting the troops rather than supporting them.
Why did they do that? Because they believed that their government was engaged in terrible wrongdoing. That wrongdoing is specified within the Declaration. They believed that when people’s own government is engaged in wrongdoing and persists in that wrongdoing, it is up the citizenry to take a stand against it.
There are undoubtedly those who consider the rebels to have been traitors — people who refuse to support their own government, especially in time of crisis and war. British government officials certainly considered George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and others who joined the Revolution to be criminals and traitors.