Two-hundred-and-thirty-eight years ago, brave men and women decided to separate themselves from the most powerful empire on Earth, by declaring in a document we still hold dear today:
When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of natures God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
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 to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed... .
When the 56 men affixed their signatures to the Declaration of Independence, they became traitors in the eyes of Mother England. King George III told Parliament in October 1776 that, Nothing could have afforded me so much satisfaction as to have been able to inform you, at the opening of this session, that the troubles, which have so long distracted my colonies in North America, were at an end ... They have rejected, with circumstances of indignity and insult, the means of conciliation held out to them under the authority of our commission and have presumed to set up their rebellious confederacies for independent states.
With that, King George sent 32,000 troops to put down the Revolution. The rest is history. Its been a tumultous journey. Our nation has not always lived up to our creed. Weve had our proud moments and some not so proud. We fought a great Civil War to decide whether we were a union or just a confederacy of states as we began to erase a great cancer. Our Founders could not have imagined the country they birthed would grow to be the mightiest nation on the planet still guided by the words, We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal... .