Wednesday, July 4, 2018
The Declaration of Independence
When I was growing up, we learned about slavery and the Trail of Tears and that women, blacks and poor white men who weren't landowners couldn't vote. But we learned it in light of the positive; the historic benefit the Declaration brought the world. We knew the Founding Fathers weren't perfect (we knew we weren't either), but they were also taking that first big leap forward, and the world owed them much.
By the time my boys were in school, the lesson on the Declaration of Independence mentioned nothing of its unique place in world history. A little bit about the surrounding context, why it was commissioned, who wrote it and a few quotes was the sum total. Most of the lesson focused on the slaves, the women (no mention of white men who couldn't vote), Native Americans, and segregation, Jim Crow and the Civil Rights movement, with an entire page dedicated to Martin Luther King, Jr..
My guess is that it speaks volumes for what half of our country thinks of our country and its past. For me, to simply know and read and reflect on the document - one of the most important in all of human history - is worth more than all the spins and downplays that our modern age can muster.
Here it is over at The American Catholic (reminding us that being a faithful Catholic is not antithetical to loving our country), complete with a nice clip from the very enjoyable miniseries John Adams (which I recommend).