Via BadBlue, here are the highlights of some of the Fourth's best posts:
Robert Dillon: 'Thomas Jefferson was then a little past thirty-three years of age. His ability as a thinker and a writer was well-known. The committee met immediately after appointment. Jefferson suggested that Adams should draw up the Declaration. Adams objected, saying: "You can write ten times better than I can." The others agreed that Jefferson ought to make the first draft, and he consented... At some time in the following three weeks, Jefferson wrote the paper. We are led to believe he did it at one sitting, or one day, or night... Many years later he remarked: "Whether I had gathered my ideas from reading or reflection, I do not know. I only know that I turned to neither book nor pamphlet while writing it."'
Thomas Jefferson, writing for the nation's founders: "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."
Matthew Spalding: "Because all are endowed with these rights, the rights are unalienable, which means that they cannot be given up or taken away. And because individuals equally possess these rights, governments derive their just powers from the consent of those governed. Government’s purpose is to secure these fundamental rights and, although prudence tells us that governments should not be changed for trivial reasons, the people retain the right to alter or abolish government when it becomes destructive of these ends."
Diana Schaub: "Washington close[d his] Farewell Address by anticipating a retreat beyond even his retreat to Mt. Vernon, namely his journey toward the “Mansions of rest.” The line is said to have brought tears to the eyes of his readers. Four decades later, a young Abraham Lincoln delivered a remarkable speech that revisited Washington’s theme of “the perpetuation of our political institutions.” The Lyceum Address closed by imagining a sort of second coming of Washington. Lincoln’s closing hopes for the nation can still serve as our own: “that we improved to the last; that we remained free to the last; that we revered his name to the last; that, during his long sleep, we permitted no hostile foot to pass over or desecrate his resting place; shall be that which to learn the last trump shall awaken our Washington."
Sarah Rumpf: "Over two centuries ago, fifty-six men put their lives on the line to preserve and protect the freedoms that are the God-given unalienable rights of all free people... Today, as I think back about the incredible amount of courage it must have taken to publicly sign their names to this document, I cannot help but think that the best way to honor this courage is for each of us to consider making a similar personal pledge to our fellow Americans. "
Bobby Jindal, writing at RedState: "If you are a small business owner, a middle-class taxpayer, or if you are worried about what Obamacare will do to the quality of your health care, or if you are worried about the fact that our government is headed towards insolvency – you have only one recourse – make President Obama a one-termer. Elections do matter; this one matters a lot."
Ed Morrissey: "Two hundred and thirty-six years ago, a beleaguered but defiant group of men created the most magnificent declaration of liberty and human rights in history. It changed the world forever, and ended the heretofore universal model of a permanent ruling class in favor of self-government. Most scoffed at the grand experiment by these “Americans,” but in the end those men not only changed their own land, they changed the entire world. Happy 236th anniversary to the Declaration of Independence, and to the United States of America."