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Fourth of July

What a holiday! Fireworks, picnics, barbecues, and nobody works!

I always find that its a good time to read the Declaration of Independence, read a historical novel, think about history, and watch documentaries.

It’s exciting to find that I can still remember much of what I learned. While I get very fuzzy trying to recite the declaration, I can still give a decent impromptu talk on where the idea of “the right of a government to govern is concededby the consent of the govern”.

This was a new political idea, developed by John Locke the philosopher and first implemented by the United States of America. Initially, under the Articles of Confederation and then under the US Constitution.

This idea replaced the “Divine Right” to rule which had been justified in various forms for a millennium.  I’ve always thought the main take-away points from the study of the start of the US:

1. We boldly went where no country had gone before. “Government by the people, for the people1”

2.  We got it so wrong. But then kept fixing it. Examples:

A:  Everyone pretty much agreed after a decade that the initial concept, the Articles of Confederation of thirteen very independent states was not viable. So, we learned from our mistakes and tried again.

B. The US Constitution: The Bill of Rights. This was tacked on as the first ten amendments. I guess this means that this most important part of the Constitution was initially left out.

C. What are you and our students favorite examples of what the Founding Fathers got wrong which we fixed over time?