My annual act of civic piety is to read the Declaration on July 4. I have it in several places, including the Documentary Source Book of American History, 1606-1913 (1925) edited by William MacDonald, Professor of History in Brown University. College kids used to read the original source documents as a first year course. God help us. I was perusing the documentary record leading up to the Declaration. It was building up for a long time. The thing was not going to end happily.
The signers of the Declaration did not get to sit on their porch in a peaceable and prosperous country (drinking a rather stiff vodka and tonic) and being relatively carefree about it. They were making a hard decision to embark on open war with the most powerful country in the world, with a good chance of being beaten, hounded and harried, their wealth destroyed, their families scattered, their cause lost, and their own lives ending with a rattle of drums from redcoated drummer boys, and a broken neck at the end of a British noose.
They signed it anyway.
They stated their principles, they rolled the iron dice, and they gave us our country.
God bless America.
Lord, please make us worthy of them.