The Declaration of Independence is not only an American document. It follows on the Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights as the third great title-deed on which the liberties of the English-speaking peoples are founded…. The political conceptions embodied in the Declaration of Independence are the same as those expressed at that time by Lord Chatham and Mr. Burke and handed down to them by John Hampden and Algernon Sidney. They spring from the same source; they come from the same well of practical truth….
Winston Churchill, speech given at the Anglo-American rally at the Albert Hall on US Independence Day 1918.
(Note that Churchill’s reference to the “Bill of Rights” is to the English Bill of Rights of 1689.)
Quoted in a review by Andrew Roberts of Mr. Churchill’s Profession: The Statesman as Author and the Book That Defined the “Special Relationship” by Peter Clarke.
We made a similar argument in America 3.0:
[T]o fully understand the meaning of the American Founding, and of our Declaration and Constitution, we need to go back even farther, to see where they came from. The Founders were not writing on a blank page. Far from it. They made a Revolution because the American people already held strongly to certain principles that they saw coming under increasing threat. And they wrote our Founding documents as a conscious attempt to preserve a valued way of life, at least as much as to make something entirely new.
And Daniel Hannan made much the same point in Inventing Freedom: How the English-Speaking Peoples Made the Modern World, when he wrote:
American Patriots didn’t just propose ideas that were inspired by the philosophy of Magna Carta. They saw that document itself as a part of their inheritance. When, as they perceived it, George III violated their patrimony, they too up arms to defend it.
We rightly celebrate our independence, and the Declaration that proclaimed it.
And we are right to recognize that the freedom our Founders fought for was ancient and the Declaration was the embodiment of something very old.
10 thoughts on “Quote of the Day from Winston Churchill, July 4, 1918”
Another excellent book is Our First Revolution by Michael Barone about the Glorious Revolution of 1688.
King James II’s Roman Catholicism, hostility to Parliament, and French sympathies alienated an increasing number of his powerful subjects including John Churchill, later Duke of Marlborough, who invited Dutch Stadtholder William of Orange and his wife, Mary, James’s sister, to intervene. Among the revolution’s consequences was a Bill of Rights that limited the monarch’s powers and strengthened representative government.
Agreed, the Barone book is excellent.
A terrible thing to watch a people surrender their liberty and prosperity by choosing to be ruled by tyrants.
I once laughed at the quote from Horace (“our progeny will be viler still”). Now I’m not so sure.
There is no remembrance of former things;
neither shall there be any remembrance of things
that are to come with those that shall come after.
Today I will celebrate its glory. Tomorrow I will celebrate its passing.
Well if men find their missing spheres perhaps we shan’t have to mourn its’ passing. We’ll need them anyway.
These aren’t conquerors. They’re raiders, plunderers, they are children playing with power and knocking down the other kids sandcastles. Obama mostly the latter, I believe if you tried to explain the danger of derivatives [one of many bombs waiting to explode] he’d get irritated, bored and go shoot some hoops. He’d snarl something cute on the way out the door.
He’s a punk kid, and when he gets on the plane for Hawaii, Indonesia or Kenya and doesn’t return we’ll know it’s over.
The professional plunderers who put this guy up and tell him what to say will deplane elsewhere.
Because we were available.
High Trust Culture and all that.
None ever kept Liberties they didn’t defend. Go back and read History of the English Speaking Peoples and you’ll see Liberty is always Steel and never Parchment. The Parchment is sacral because it was held so, because it was defended. Flesh and Blood yield to other Flesh and Blood wielding Steel and not Paper.
In truth we’ll need our missing spheres just to make it.
So cease mourning for that hour comes in it’s proper time.
PS – @ErisGuy – no, no they’re not. I have observed over time and pressure [war] the progeny reached nadir with the Boomers and has been steadily rising despite terrible unnecessary casualties in youth to parenting [gag], vice, drugs, crime and social decay.
Which is both testament to the Human Spirit and ..a miracle. Look at the 24 hour sewage and idiocy poured over them.
Perhaps when you see how bad it can get early you grit your teeth and decide to do it right when you get bigger. And if you make it you do get bigger.
The only truly revolutionary movement in human history is the proclamation of individual human rights as the foundation of any and all political legitimacy.
I went to college with all the new left idiots and collectivists of one flavor or another. They marched around campus with their blue work shirts and jeans and work boots, all grim and committed to the revolution. It was pathetic and juvenile in the extreme.
When confronted with the fact that all they were proposing was merely a return to any ancient period when the ruling elite and its dogmas controlled everything and everyone, the angry sputtering and incoherent rage was a sight to behold.
When the individual was nothing, a mere peasant or serf with no rights and no guarantees under the laws of whim and expediency, humanity stagnated for millennia, each generation struggling through the same subsistence mode of living, prey to famines, diseases, and oppression without recourse.
Upon the elevation of the individual, and the establishment of the rule of law based on the protection of the rights of the citizen, the miracle of modern civilization began, and food that was once often scarce became plentiful, the diseases that had killed untold millions were conquered one after another, and the peasant who eked out a miserable life of want at the mercy of any lord’s whim became the middle class worker or small business owner who need not kneel to anyone but his or her deity.
My family, on both sides, came here from different parts of Europe to escape the wars, the oppression, and the lack of opportunity that feudal authoritarian systems inevitably imposed on their societies. They prospered, becoming successful farmers, small business people, and joining several distinguished professions over the generations.
We now face the ever more intrusive growth of a new authoritarian oligarchy in our society, with the resultant stagnation and stultification of our dynamism and economic/social/cultural development.
It is clearly time, and past time, for a new declaration of the rights of the individual, and a determined movement dedicated to securing them against all opposition, secular or religious.
My children, and theirs, will not live in chains forged of the indifference and ignorance of foolish, careless people.
As the book says, we know not the day nor the hour.
Be ready to do what must be done to ensure that the rights of man do not perish from the Earth.
Lex: Whose side are you on, son?
ErisGuy: Our side, sir.
Lex: Don’t you love your country?
ErisGuy: Yes, sir.
Lex: Then how about getting with the program? Why don’t you jump on the team and come on in for the big win?
ErisGuy: Yes, sir.
Lex: Son, all I’ve ever asked of [Chicago Boyz readers] is that [they stay in the fight as if they were being led by Winston Churchill himself]. We are here to help the [American people], because inside every [goofball, libtard, crony capitalist, corrupt political hack, PC-spouting idiot, brainwashed college kid and just plain ignorant clod] there is an American trying to get out. It’s a hardball world, son. We’ve gotta keep our heads until this [national stupidity] craze blows over.
ErisGuy: Aye-aye, sir.
And get that damn peace symbol off of your body armor, son!
We have not yet begun to fight.
“Upon the elevation of the individual, and the establishment of the rule of law based on the protection of the rights of the citizen, the miracle of modern civilization began”
I totally agree. I would add “property,” which has become a hated idea. The reason why there is no fracking in Europe is because the government owns the mineral rights. Fracking here is all being done on private land.
Inventions are property. If the inventor does not profit from his invention, the inventions stop happening.
“Good enough for government work” is about to be seen and recognized in medical care. I would not have worked the hours and schedule I did for the good of mankind. Our chief of Surgery once was complaining about moonlighting by surgery residents. He said we were “laboring in the fields of surgery” and moonlighting was diminishing our contribution by diluting our time. I rather impertinently responded that, if he really believed that, we should be out spraying mosquitoes instead of removing “fat ladies’ gallbladders.” He was not amused. I was not intimidated. My family came first, then surgery. Now, the women surgeons are all about time off and shift work. I don’t blame them; they are on salary.
The English bill or rights, with an enumeration of the wrongs committed by King James, reads much like the Declaration of Independence. Conclusion: Thomas Jefferson had read it before writing the Declaration of Independence.
Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.
by Winston Churchill
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