“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”
These famous words form the opening paragraph of one of the most influential documents in all of human history – the American Declaration of Independence. According to this paragraph, the American claim to independence was established upon “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God,” but what did Thomas Jefferson mean by this phrase? Nearly all of the modern historians who have written about this phrase have accused Jefferson and the other signers of the Declaration of abandoning the God of the Bible and erecting a more deistic god of nature in His place. But this accusation is entirely false. Jefferson’s reference to the laws of nature and of nature’s God had a very specific meaning that was well understood by eighteenth century Americans.
July 4th, 1776, has long been celebrated as the birth of our nation, but is that really the day that America became independent of Britain?
The first recorded celebration of the 4th of July occurred on the first anniversary of that date in 1777 in the city of Philadelphia, where the Declaration of Independence had been signed. A reporter in Philadelphia wrote of the event:
There has been much debate over the years regarding the view of immigration and border control that was shared among the founding fathers of our nation. Historians on both sides of the argument have attempted to co-opt the founders into their camp, and there is so much misinformation on the subject that it is difficult to ascertain anything about the actual view of our founders without abandoning modern research and returning to the original source documents from those great men who formed our nation.
Bill Fortenberry is a Christian philosopher and historian in Birmingham, AL. Bill's work has been cited in several legal journals, and he has appeared as a guest on shows including The Dr. Gina Show, The Michael Hart Show, and Real Science Radio.
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"Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning." (Proverbs 9:9)