When has our republic not been in danger of invasion from without or subversion from within?
"[A] populist strand ... has run through American history since Jonathan Edwards led the Great Awakending against the sophistication that was blossoming in the eighteenth century and Andrew Jackson spearheaded a popular revolt against John Quincy Adams. In fact, the division between populists and the establishment has been a more fundamental one in American politics than that between left and right, liberal and conservative. Both Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, like many of their predecessors, rode to the White House in large part by tapping an anti-Establishment vein in the populace." -- The Wise Men: Six Friends the World They Made by Walter Isaacson and Evan Thomas, Simon & Schuster, Inc., 1986; page 29.
Nothing in human history required the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, or the Bill of Rights. They were not the only documents of their kind. Before it was the United Kingdom, Great Britain had the Bill of Rights of 1689 which constrained the monarchy and included the right of the people (all of the Protestant ones) to keep arms in their homes. We all know the Articles of Confederation. But even that rested on the Albany Plan of Union, which itself was only one of several compacts over the previous two generations among some colonies for mutual defense. And the villages and townships were governed by elections, even—and especially—as the colonies lost their charters to the crown.
The American revolution did not begin in July of 1776. The Marine Corps was founded on November 10, 1775. The battle at Breed's Hill and Bunker Hill had been fought on June 17, 1775, six weeks after Lexington and Concord. The Boston Massacre was March 5, 1770. The "American revolution" had already begun fifteen years earlier. The battlegrounds were the minds of Americans and the shots fired were ideas in newspapers, pamphlets, sermons, and private letters.
Today, here in Austin, Texas, no parade will be held. We will have civic barbeques. Maybe that is enough, if it is true that 30% of the Texans in attendance will be carrying concealed handguns. I am less confident that 30% of them will have the post-graduate reading level necessary to understand the Declaration of Independence. (See here.)
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