In history of mankind, freedom has been considered the exception
“In the history of mankind, freedom has been the exception. Governed by kings and queens, human beings were told that power starts at the top and flows down; that their rights emanate from a monarch and may be taken away at the monarch’s whim.
“The British began a revolution against this way of thinking in a meadow called Runnymede in 1215. It was embodied in the Magna Carta which read, ‘To all free men of our kingdom we have also granted for us and our heirs forever all the liberties written out below, to have and to keep, for them and their heirs…’
“That revolution reached full flower in Philadelphia in 1787, in a Constitution that began from two radical premises.
“The first is that our rights come not from kings, or queens — or even from presidents — but from God. As the Declaration of Independence puts it, ‘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, and that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.’
“Second, in the Constitution, America’s founders inverted the understanding of sovereignty.
“Power comes not from the top down but from ‘We the People,’ and governing authority for those in political office is limited to set periods subject to elections.
“As James Madison explained in Federalist 51: ‘If men were angels, no government would be necessary … In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed, and in the next place oblige to control itself.’
“And that is why Thomas Jefferson said ‘The chains of the Constitution’ should ‘bind the mischief of government. Only when government is limited are rights protected, the rule of law honored, and freedom allowed to flourish.
‘Simply put, the American free market system is the greatest engine for prosperity and opportunity that the world has ever seen.’
“Freedom works. No other nation on earth has allowed so many millions to come with nothing and achieve so much.
“Historically, our nation has enjoyed remarkable economic mobility. About 60 percent of the households that were in the lowest income quintile in 1999 were in a higher quintile 10 years later.
“During the same decade, almost 40 percent of the richest households fell to a lower quintile.
“This is a nation where you can rise or fall. It is a nation where you can climb the economic ladder based not on who you are born to, or what class you are born into, but based on your talents, your passion, your perseverance, and the content of your character.
“We are all children of those who risked everything for liberty. That’s the DNA of what it means to be an American — to value freedom and opportunity above all.”
Happy Independence Day to everyone. God Bless America.