First Principles

I am reading some of the foundational documents of our nation in preparation for a Heritage Foundation Seminar – First Principles. Throughout every letter, compact, speech, and ultimately our Founding Documents the foundation of God and His Wisdom permeates and gives reason and purpose to the achievement that is The United States of America. I encourage everyone to read the speech given by President Calvin Coolidge in Philadelphia, PA, July 4, 1926, on the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

Some excerpts (emphases added):

… the Declaration of Independence represented the movement of a people. It was not, of course, a movement from the top. Revolutions do not come from that direction…the American Revolution represented the informed and mature convictions of a great mass of independent, liberty loving, God-fearing people who knew their rights, and possessed the courage to dare to maintain them.

This obedience of the delegates to the wishes of their constituents, which in some cases caused them to modify their previous positions, is a matter of great significance. It reveals an orderly process of government in the first place; but more than that, it demonstrates that the Declaration of Independence was the result of the seasoned and deliberate thought of the dominant portion of the people of the Colonies.

It was not because it was proposed to establish a new nation, but because it was proposed to establish a nation on new principles, that July 4, 1776, has come to be regarded as one of the greatest days in history… Three very definite propositions were set out in (the Declaration’s) preamble regarding the nature of mankind and therefore of government. These were

  • the doctrine that all men are created equal,
  • that they are endowed with certain inalienable rights, and
  • that therefore the source of the just powers of government must be derived from the consent of the governed.

It was the fact that our Declaration of Independence containing these immortal truths was the political action of a duly authorized and constituted representative public body in its sovereign capacity, supported by the force of general opinion and by the armies of Washington already in the field, which makes it the most important civil document in the world.

Our forefathers came to certain conclusions and decided upon certain courses of action which have been a great blessing to the world. Before we can understand their conclusions we must go back and review the course which they followed. We must think the thoughts which they thought. Their intellectual life centered around the meetinghouse. They were intent upon religious worship. While there were always among them men of deep learning, and later those who had comparatively large possessions, the mind of the people was not so much engrossed in how much they knew, or how much they had, as in how they were going to live.

Today, 15 years until our 250th Anniversary, the form of government put in place at our country’s beginning is in peril. Each of us must choose how we are going to live. So read the full speech, resolve to follow its admonitions, and join with us!


  1. Jag N. Holt says:

    I like this post! :)

    • Nancy Coppock says:

      Thanks to President Coolidge for his historical brilliance.

      Our Founding Fathers knew God and understood human nature. Through that wisdom these great men had the ability to imagine, cogently define, and then construct the Founding Documents for a nation like no other nation on earth. We must remind ourselves of who and what defines The United States of America, and then defend that Freedom with every breath left to us by our Creator.

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