The Strange History of American Freedom

July 8, 2015

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It’s a little strange, don’t you think? The Magna Carta, signed 800 years ago, established freedom for the British. But then, more than 500 years later, American colonists had to fight a War of Independence against the British. And what did they use to fight against English tyranny? The Magna Carta.
Given the recent Independence Day celebration, I examined the history of the Magna Carta, which America’s Founding Fathers used as a basis for our Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States of America and its Bill of Rights.
But before I continue, let me share an interesting piece of American history. On July 4th, we celebrated the fact that a committed group of colonists pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honor on July 2, 1776 to build a new land where freedom reigned – and the King of England didn’t.  July 2? Yes. As John Adams wrote his wife:
But the Day is past. The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.
He’d sure be surprised. Somehow I don’t recall learning this, but in case you also didn’t, now you know.
Now back to the Magna Carta…
King John didn’t want to sign it but he did it to avert a civil war. According to the National Archives, the Magna Carta was written by 40 angry barons to protect their rights and properties from the tyrannical King John.
And from that document, signed on June 15, 1215 in a muddy field in Runnymede, flow many elements of freedom that have made America great and prosperous and free:
  • Freedom of religion
  • Property and ownership rights
  • No king is above the law
  • No taxation without representation
  • Right to a trial by your peers
  • Due process
  • No delay or denial of justice
  • The rule of law
It didn’t take British tyrants long to rise again -- and the Magna Carta’s rights to recede. So hundreds of years later, 56 brave colonists an ocean away declared: “The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.”
With these words, the colonists left their English citizenship behind and fought the American Revolution to create a new land of freedom called America. Listen to the excitement in John Adams’ letter:
You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. -- I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. -- Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.
Today in America, tyranny is rising. Our president and various policymakers, regulators, judges and business bigwigs conveniently dismiss the U.S. Constitution as a “living document” that must change to fit their Big Government designs for our future. To grab new powers, they push unconstitutional “rights” such as a “right to health care.”
There’s a reason the U.S. Constitution protects only natural rights, such as Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. These rights don’t restrict the natural rights of other individuals. The Declaration of Independence asserts only rights “to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them.”
The Magna Carta was the roadmap for a new land of liberty called America. “Our system, uniquely, elevated the individual over the state, the rules over the rulers,” writes Daniel Hannan in The Wall Street Journal.
Let’s keep it that way.
Working with you to protect the land of sweet liberty,
Twila Brase, RN, PHN
President and Co-founder
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