“The Underlying Ideas Of American Independence”

Listen to or read this week’s radio program: “The Underlying Ideas Of American Independence”

© 2012 Don Pinson  /  To Download, right-click here: [Download]  / 

The time had finally come.  After twenty years of growing government interference into the affairs of the American Colonies, the patience of Americans was exhausted.  The Representatives of America had appealed to their British King and the Parliament over and over during those twenty years, and had only been insulted for their efforts.  Over and over the King had treated their appeals with disdain.  Finally, Thomas Jefferson would sum up the attitude of the majority of Americans when he wrote in The Declaration of Independence,

“A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.”

The final break with England began on March 16, 1776.  The Continental Congress, representing each of the thirteen colonies, called upon the American people to observe a day “of fasting, humiliation, and prayer.”  The Congress stated:

“In times of impending calamity and distress; when the liberties of America are imminently endangered by the secret [schemings]and open assaults of an insidious…administration, it becomes the indispensable duty of these hitherto free and happy colonies, with true penitence of heart…publicly to acknowledge the over ruling Providence of God; to confess and deplore our offences against Him; and to supplicate His interposition for averting the threatened danger, and prospering our strenuous efforts in the cause of freedom, virtue, and posterity.”

(The Declaration of Independence, Rod Gragg, Rutledge Hill Press, Nashville, 2005; p.32)

It may seem strange to us in our present selfish society that a government declaration of independence from a mother country should begin with the people humbling themselves before their Creator and Redeemer, Jesus Christ.  But the day in which America’s Founders lived was very different from this present America.  In Rod Gragg’s book, The Declaration of Independence, he rightly identifies the thinking which moved our forefather’s to declare this day of fasting and repentance.  He partially quotes another historian as he writes,

“‘[In] eighteenth-century America…religion…underlay all thought…and gave meaning to every public and private crisis’…  most English colonies in America, like Jefferson’s Virginia, had been officially chartered in part to promote ‘the propagation of the Christian religion.’  More than a century later and just in time for the American Revolution, a revival of Biblical faith–the Great Awakening–had kindled anew faith and focus in America.”

(The Declaration of Independence, Rod Gragg, Rutledge Hill Press, Nashville, 2005; p.36)

John Adams, one of the leaders in the movement who would sign The Declaration of Independence, would likewise identify the thinking that produced American liberty when he would later write,

“The general principles, on which the Fathers achieved independence, were the only Principles in which that…Assembly of young Gentlemen could Unite….And what were these general Principles? I answer, the general Principles of Christianity, in which all these [denominations] were United: And the general Principles of English and American Liberty, in which all those young Men United…Now I will avow, that I then believed, and now believe, that those general Principles of Christianity, are as eternal and immutable, as the Existence and Attributes of God; and that those Principles of Liberty, are as unalterable as human Nature…”

(Adams, John. June 28, 1813, in a letter to Thomas Jefferson. Norman Cousins, In God We Trust – The Religious Beliefs and Ideas of the American Founding Fathers (NY: Harper & Brothers, 1958), p. 230.)

There can be no doubt that it was Biblical Christianity which produced the ideas on which American liberty was founded.

Jesus Christ, referring to His own words, said;

“And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”

(John 8:32)

Think about it; because if you don’t, someone else will do your thinking for you—

and for your children!  And you won’t like what that brings to you.  I’m Don Pinson this has been Think About It.