Independence Day is a special time for Americans. Of course, we celebrate our independence from Great Britain, but let us also recognize how important the American experiment in popular government is. Take a moment to read one of the most stirring passages of the Declaration of Independence:
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, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
On America's 87th birthday, July 4, 1863, President Lincoln received word of two tremendous victories--Vicksburg in the West and Gettysburg in the East--effectively turning the tide in favor of the Union during the American Civil War. The opening line of the Gettysburg Address marvels at the American experiment, just as it reaffirms the promise of the Declaration of Independence:
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Today is America's is 231st birthday.