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   Study our ForeFather's Freedom Documents in depth. Know and understand your rights in detail. More
 
Declaration of Independence
   The thirteen States set forth a decree to set them free from the taxation and burdens of British Government. More
 
Articles of Confederation
   Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union between the states. Agreed to by Congress 15 November 1777 In force after ratification by Maryland, 1 March 1781. More
 
Anti & Federalist Papers
   Both the Federalist (85 documents) & Anti-Federalist (85 documents) Papers. A study in the debate of the People in the days of the drafting of our Constitution. No serious student of the Constitution can be without both sides of the story. The 170 documents of the Federalist & AntiFederalist Papers are a must read. More
 
Constitution of the United States
   Quite possibly one of the greatest documents ever written to govern a Nation. More
 
Constitution In Depth Study
   The Constitution of the United States, an In Depth Study of Its Sources and Its Application. More
 
Bill of Rights
   The 10 Amendments of the Bill of Rights tells the government what they must never do! More
 
Pledge of Allegiance
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Charters of Freedom


The American Nation is Born
The Good, Bad and yes, the Ugly
 
From Loyal Subjects to Traitorous Rebels - By a Royal Proclamation
 
   When the last dutiful & humble petition from Congress received no other Answer than declaring us Rebels, and out of the King’s protection, I from that Moment look’d forward to a Revolution & Independence, as the only means of Salvation; and will risque the last Penny of my Fortune, & the last Drop of my Blood upon the Issue.
--George Mason October 2, 1778
 
   In 1761, fifteen years before the United States of America burst onto the world stage with the Declaration of Independence, the American colonists were loyal British subjects who celebrated the coronation of their new King, George III. The colonies that stretched from present-day Maine to Georgia were distinctly English in character although they had been settled by Scots, Welsh, Irish, Dutch, Swedes, Finns, Africans, French, Germans, and Swiss, as well as English.
 
   As English men and women, the American colonists were heirs to the thirteenth-century English document, the Magna Carta, which established the principles that no one is above the law (not even the King), and that no one can take away certain rights. So in 1763, when the King began to assert his authority over the colonies to make them share the cost of the Seven Years’ War England had just fought and won, the English colonists protested by invoking their rights as free men and loyal subjects. It was only after a decade of repeated efforts on the part of the colonists to defend their rights that they resorted to armed conflict and, eventually, to the unthinkable–separation from the motherland.
 
Courage of the Founders - The Perilous Road to Independence
 
   Perhaps our Congress will be Exalted on a high Gallows.
--Abraham Clark, signer of the Declaration of Independence August 6, 1776
 
   The sole governing authority presiding over the tumultuous events of the American Revolution between 1774 and 1789 was a body known as Congress. With no power to regulate commerce or lay taxes, and with little ability to enforce any of its decisions, this group, representing the thirteen colonies, declared independence, conducted a war that defeated one of the greatest military powers of its day, and invented a new political entity that became a sovereign independent nation. Its members pondered everything from the rightness of independence to the number of flints needed by the armies–sometimes with the enemy not far from their doorstep. Asserting their rights, they found themselves labeled as traitors.
 
   The fifty-four men who composed the First Continental Congress represented different interests, religions, and regions; they held conflicting opinions as to how best restore their rights. Most did not know each other; some did not like each other. With no history of successful cooperation, they struggled to overcome their differences and, without any way of knowing if the future held success or nooses for them all, they started down a long and perilous road toward independence.
 
The Spirit of the Revolution - The Declaration of Independence
 
   We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
--From the Declaration of Independence, adopted July 4, 1776
 
   In June 1776, as Thomas Jefferson composed a draft of the Declaration of Independence from a second floor parlor of a bricklayer’s house in Philadelphia, the largest invasion force in British military history was headed for New York Harbor. By the time the last of the fifty-six signers had affixed their names to the final, edited document months later, an invading force of British soldiers had landed at Staten Island, the British had taken New York City, and the American patriots had committed themselves to a long and bloody struggle for liberty and independence.
 
   The Declaration announced to the world the separation of the thirteen colonies from Great Britain and the establishment of the United States of America. It explained the causes of this radical move with a long list of charges against the King. In justifying the Revolution, it asserted a universal truth about human rights in words that have inspired downtrodden people through the ages and throughout the world to rise up against their oppressors.
 
   Jefferson was not aiming at originality. The Declaration articulates the highest ideals of the Revolution, beliefs in liberty, equality, and the right to self-determination. Americans embraced a view of the world in which a person’s position was determined, not by birth, rank, or title, but by talent, ability, and enterprise. It was a widely held view, circulated in newspapers, pamphlets, sermons, and schoolbooks; but it was Thomas Jefferson, the 33-year-old planter from Virginia, who put the immortal words to it.
 
   On July 4, 1776, Congress completed its editing of the document that reduced the text by 25 percent (“mutilations” is what Jefferson called it) and formally adopted the Declaration; on July 19, Congress ordered that a formal copy of the Declaration be prepared for members to sign; and on August 2, the final parchment–the one presently displayed in the nearby case–was presented to Congress and the signing began.
 
The First Constitution - The Articles of Confederation
 
   We have it in our power to begin the world over again. A situation, similar to the present, hath not happened since the days of Noah until now. The birthday of a new world is at hand.
--Thomas Paine, February 14, 1776
 
   Throwing off the British monarchy on July 4, 1776, left the United States with no central government. It had to design and install a new government–and quickly. As early as May 1776, Congress advised each of the colonies to draw up plans for state governments; by 1780, all thirteen states had adopted written constitutions. In June 1776, the Continental Congress began to work on a plan for a central government. It took five years for it to be approved, first by members of Congress and then by the states. The first attempt at a constitution for the United States was called the Articles of Confederation.
 
   This first constitution was composed by a body that directed most of its attention to fighting and winning the War for Independence. It came into being at a time when Americans had a deep-seated fear of a central authority and long-standing loyalty to the state in which they lived and often called their “country.” Ultimately, the Articles of Confederation proved unwieldy and inadequate to resolve the issues that faced the United States in its earliest years; but in granting any Federal powers to a central authority–the Confederation Congress–this document marked a crucial step toward nationhood. The Articles of Confederation were in force from March 1, 1781, until March 4, 1789, when the present Constitution went into effect.
 
Slavery and the American Revolution - Voices of Protest
 
   I beheld a middle aged African raised and exposed on one of the stalls in the shambles of Philadelphia market at Public Sale, as a Slave for life! and this is the capital of Pennsylvania, a land high in the profession of Liberty and Christianity.
--Colonist quoted in Pennsylvania Packet, a Philadelphia newspaper, February 7, 1774
 
   The Revolution’s ideals of liberty and equality existed side by side with the brutal realities of human slavery. By the time of the Revolution, slavery existed in all the colonies, slaves made up 20 percent of the population, and their labor had become a vital contribution to the physical and economic development of the colonies. The existence of slavery created tensions that would strain the integrity of the United States for many decades to come.
 
   The Society of Friends, a religious group also known as the Quakers, formed the first formal antislavery society in 1775. Throughout the Revolution, as the states struggled to find common ground, the issue of slavery was so divisive that it threatened to shatter their fragile union. Some prominent leaders of the Revolution raised their voices to oppose slavery on moral grounds. Slaves and free Africans embraced the principles of liberty and equality embedded in the Declaration as their own best hope for freedom and better treatment. Many, fighting as soldiers in the American armies, helped to defeat the British, while earning their freedom and gaining the respect and gratitude of some whites. And clinging to their own understanding of “all men are created equal,” they pushed the country closer to living out the full promise of its words.
 
The Constitutional Convention - Creating the Constitution
 
   [The Constitution of the United States] was not, like the fabled Goddess of Wisdom, the offspring of a single brain. It ought to be regarded as the work of many heads and many hands.
--James Madison, March 10, 1834
 
   Eleven years after the Declaration of Independence announced the birth of the United States, the survival of the young country seemed in doubt. The War for Independence had been won, but economic depression, social unrest, interstate rivalries, and foreign intrigue appeared to be unraveling the fragile confederation. In early 1787, Congress called for a special convention of all the states to revise the Articles of Confederation. On September 17, 1787, after four months of secret meetings, the delegates to the Constitutional Convention emerged from their Philadelphia meetingroom with an entirely new plan of government–the U.S. Constitution–that they hoped would ensure the survival of the experiment they had launched in 1776.
 
   They proposed a strong central government made up of three branches: legislative, executive, and judicial; each would be perpetually restrained by a sophisticated set of checks and balances. They reached compromises on the issue of slavery that left its final resolution to future generations. As for ratification, they devised a procedure that maximized the odds: the Constitution would be enacted when it was ratified by nine, not thirteen, states. The Framers knew they had not created a perfect plan, but it could be revised. The Constitution has been amended twenty-seven times and stands today as the longest-lasting written constitution in the world.
 
   On September 17, 1787, two days after the final vote, the delegates signed the engrossed parchment.
 
The Bill of Rights - The First Ten Amendments to the Constitution
 
   The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for, among old parchments, or musty records. They are written, as with a sun beam in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of the divinity itself; and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power.
--Alexander Hamilton 1775
 
   Freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, the right to a fair and speedy trial–the ringing phrases that inventory some of Americans’ most treasured personal freedoms–were not initially part of the U.S. Constitution. At the Constitutional Convention, the proposal to include a bill of rights was considered and defeated. The Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution as the first ten amendments on December 15, 1791.
 
   The fact that the Constitution did not include a bill of rights to specifically protect Americans’ hard-won rights sparked the most heated debates during the ratification process. To the Federalists, those who favored the Constitution, a bill of rights was unnecessary because the Federal Government was limited in its powers and could not interfere with the rights of the people or the states; also, most states had bills of rights. To the Anti-Federalists, those who opposed the Constitution, the prospect of establishing a strong central government without an explicit list of rights guaranteed to the people was unthinkable. Throughout the ratification process, individuals and state ratification conventions called for the adoption of a bill of rights.
 
   The First Federal Congress took up the question of a bill of rights almost immediately. Congress proposed twelve amendments to the states. Ten of these were added to the Constitution on December 15, 1791.
 
   The Bill of Rights that is on permanent display at the National Archive is the Joint Resolution passed by Congress on September 25, 1789, proposing twelve–not ten–amendments. The first article, concerning the ratio of constituents to each congressional representative, was never ratified by the states; the second article listed, concerning congressional pay, was ratified in 1992 as the Twenty-seventh Amendment.
 
Declaration of Independence
 
   Drafted by Thomas Jefferson between June 11 and June 28, 1776, the Declaration of Independence is at once the nation’s most cherished symbol of liberty and Jefferson’s most enduring monument. Here, in exalted and unforgettable phrases, Jefferson expressed the convictions in the minds and hearts of the American people. The political philosophy of the Declaration was not new; its ideals of individual liberty had already been expressed by John Locke and the Continental philosophers. What Jefferson did was to summarize this philosophy in “self-evident truths” and set forth a list of grievances against the King in order to justify before the world the breaking of ties between the colonies and the mother country.
 
Constitution of the United States
 
   The Federal Convention convened in the State House (Independence Hall) in Philadelphia on May 14, 1787, to revise the Articles of Confederation. Because the delegations from only two states were at first present, the members adjourned from day to day until a quorum of seven states was obtained on May 25. Through discussion and debate it became clear by mid-June that, rather than amend the existing Articles, the Convention would draft an entirely new frame of government. All through the summer, in closed sessions, the delegates debated, and redrafted the articles of the new Constitution. Among the chief points at issue were how much power to allow the central government, how many representatives in Congress to allow each state, and how these representatives should be elected--directly by the people or by the state legislators. The work of many minds, the Constitution stands as a model of cooperative statesmanship and the art of compromise.
 
Bill of Rights
 
   During the debates on the adoption of the Constitution, its opponents repeatedly charged that the Constitution as drafted would open the way to tyranny by the central government. Fresh in their minds was the memory of the British violation of civil rights before and during the Revolution. They demanded a “bill of rights” that would spell out the immunities of individual citizens. Several state conventions in their formal ratification of the Constitution asked for such amendments; others ratified the Constitution with the understanding that the amendments would be offered.
 
   On September 25, 1789, the First Congress of the United States therefore proposed to the state legislatures 12 amendments to the Constitution that met arguments most frequently advanced against it. The first two proposed amendments, which concerned the number of constituents for each Representative and the compensation of Congressmen, were not ratified. Articles 3 to 12, however, ratified by three-fourths of the state legislatures, constitute the first 10 amendments of the Constitution, known as the Bill of Rights.
 
The Power of the Courts - Marbury v. Madison 1803
 
   The people made the Constitution, and the people can unmake it. It is the creature of their will, and lives only by their will.
--Chief Justice John Marshall, 1821
 
   Although most of the Framers of the Constitution anticipated that the Federal judiciary would be the weakest branch of Government, the U.S. Supreme Court has come to wield enormous power with decisions that have reached into the lives of every citizen and resolved some of the most dramatic confrontations in U.S. history. The word of the Supreme Court is final. Overturning its decisions often requires an amendment to the Constitution or a revision of Federal law.
 
   The power of the Supreme Court has evolved over time, through a series of milestone court cases. One of the Court’s most fundamental powers is judicial review–the power to judge the constitutionality of any act or law of the executive or legislative branch. Some of the Framers expected the Supreme Court to take on the role of determining the constitutionality of Congress’s laws, but the Constitution did not explicitly assign it to the Court. Marbury v. Madison, the 1803 landmark Supreme Court case, established the power of judicial review. From the modest claim of William Marbury, who sought a low-paying appointment as a District of Columbia Justice of the Peace, emerged a Supreme Court decision that established one of the cornerstones of the American constitutional system.
 
Westward Expansion - The Louisiana Purchase
 
   Let the Land rejoice, for you have bought Louisiana for a Song.
--Gen. Horatio Gates to President Thomas Jefferson, July 18, 1803
 
   In 1803, with one bold move, President Thomas Jefferson’s administration doubled the size of the United States. France’s offer of the Louisiana Territory–828,000 square miles of land extending west of the Mississippi River, in exchange for $15 million–was simply too good to resist. The Treaty, dated April 30, 1803, was signed in Paris by Robert Livingston and James Monroe and ratified by Congress on October 20. Fifteen states or parts of states were carved from the vast territory, which was the single largest acquisition of land in U.S. history.
 
   Sixteen years earlier, critics of the Constitution had argued that the original thirteen states already covered too vast a territory to be under a single government. In 1803, some European powers predicted that the huge addition of land would be the death knell of the American experiment and would cause the Union to degenerate into competing and warring factions. Jefferson, however, believed it would provide “a wide-spread field for the blessings of freedom.” The Louisiana Territory added to the United States a wealth of natural resources beyond anyone’s calculations. Westward expansion was a disaster for the many indigenous peoples who had no say in the sale of lands they had inhabited for generations. But the Louisiana Purchase did not weaken the Union; it strengthened it. The transaction was more than a brilliant act of diplomacy or a shrewd real estate deal. It was a vote of confidence in the future of a fledgling nation.
 
The Civil War - The Union Sealed in Blood
 
   The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation. . . . In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free–honorable alike in what we give, and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best, hope of earth.
--President Abraham Lincoln, December 1, 1862
 
   September 17, 1862, was the bloodiest single day in U.S. history. An estimated 6,300 Union and Confederate soldiers died at Antietam, Maryland, in a savage battle that took place nearly a year and a half into the Civil War. It was one day in a war that raged from 1861–65 and cost some 623,000 lives. In a total national population of twenty-seven million in 1860, that number would be proportionately equivalent to losing more than five million today. That bloody day marked the seventy-fifth anniversary of the signing of the Constitution.
 
   At stake in the Civil War was the survival of the United States of America as a single nation. Eleven Southern states, invoking the spirit of 1776, seceded from the Union in 1861 to form a nation they named the Confederate States of America. The Federal Government refused to allow it. Massive armies representing the Union and the Confederacy squared off in a conflict that tested the experiment in self-government as never before. At the end of the Civil War’s carnage, the primacy of the Federal Government over the states was indisputably upheld.
 
   Americans had been wrestling with the fundamental question of nationhood since the earliest days of the Revolution. In 1774, as the British colonists struggled to unite in the cause of American liberty, Patrick Henry rose to address the Continental Congress in one of its earliest sessions: “The distinctions between Virginians, Pennsylvanians and New Englanders are no more. I am not a Virginian, but an American.” It took the Civil War to make it so.
 
Missing 13th Amendment - David M. Dodge, Researcher, 08-01-1991
 
   In the winter of 1983, archival research expert David Dodge, and former Baltimore police investigator Tom Dunn, were searching for evidence of government corruption in public records stored in the Belfast Library on the coast of Maine. By chance, they discovered the library's oldest authentic copy of the Constitution of the United States printed in 1825.
 
 
   Both men were stunned to see this document included a “different” 13th Amendment that no longer appears on current copies of the Constitution. Moreover, after studying the Amendment's language and historical context, they realized the principle intent of this “missing” 13th Amendment was to prohibit lawyers from serving in government. So began a seven year, nationwide search for the truth surrounding the most bizarre Constitutional puzzle in American history:
 
 
 
The Treacherous 11 thru 17 Amendments
 
   You have been taught the American Civil War “Freed the Slaves”.
      -a LIE!, a FRAUD, a COVERUP, Historical Evidence proves otherwise.
 
   It was fought because the several States were fighting for their “States Rights” against the United States becoming a completely “legislated” Federal Municiple Corporate - “USA Inc.”
 
   “USA Inc.” a corporation controlled and run by Bankers, Industrialists and Lawyers being “Titles of Nobility”, loosely defined: a Democracy; thereby effectively usurping our inalienable States and unalienable People Rights in a Founded Republic!
 
   It was a “smoke and mirrors masking of a greatly deceptive and highly planned turning around of the united States Constitution”. All planned by European Bankers, Industrialists and Nobility Lawyers to “Take Over A Nation”. Most Americans “now residents”, have NO CLUE what has been done to them. “Their Constitutional Citizenship Rights have been revoked and replaced by the privilege forced upon them in the 14th Amendment resident”... which also commits same residents to the entire debt of the Municiple Corporate, being the federal union, The United States Government! “USA Inc.”
 
   14th Amendment, Section 4. “...The validity of the public debt of the United States,... ..., shall not be questioned.
 
   All done in the 14th Amendment during the Civil War to mask their Grand Planned Takeover of the united States! Please note that the “quashed” original 13th Amendment barring nobility from offices was part of the setup also. I personally loath the current 13th which is a replacement and appeasement placeholder coverup. Also the 14th Amendment and the treachery set forth in it’s ratification. Proper ratification of both are quite debatable.
 
   The treacherous plan was finished up in 1933 with the bankruptcy of the united States, gold was devalued and our very being and souls were sold out by “USA Inc.” as collateral to these European International Banksters. A plan that took the Banksters 135 years to complete, but they did a good job of stealing our Sovereign Citizenship and our Money.
 
Are You Mad About This Deception? I Know I Am!
 
   Actually the Amendments 11 thru 17 are all detestable and despicable; they need to be repealed, abolished, as if they never were... They were inspired, promoted and instituted by despotic European Bankers, Industrialists and Lawyers. A “Nobility that should never be allowable” by the Natural and Common Laws of a Constitutional Sovereign People.
 
   Just remove these treacherous 11 thru 17 Amendment usurpations and “We the People” will be back on an even keel, back on a steady progressive national federal course, with equality for the People of each and every Sovereign State in the union. Taking these actions would not affect the Equality or Rights of any gender or ethnic group on this continent, SO JUST REMOVE the Treachery! This is my analysis after 43 years of Constitutional, Law and Citizenship Studies.
 
Funny thing about Freedom. You can’t force People to be Free.
A People have to want Freedom with all their heart and soul.
   Wake Up America
 --2005 David Lee Ion
 
New Thirteenth Amendment - The End of Slavery in the United States
 
   The more men you make free, the more freedom is strengthened, and the . . . greater is the security of the State.
--Frederick Douglass, abolitionist, statesman and former slave, November 17, 1864
 
   The four years of Civil War that ripped apart the nation from 1861–65 achieved what seventy-five years of compromise could not: it resolved once and for all the question of slavery in the United States. By 1860, there were 4.5 million slaves in the United States. Military necessity and the force of human passion for liberty pushed emancipation to the top of the nation’s agenda. Two major milestones marked slavery’s final destruction during the war years: the Emancipation Proclamation and the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution.
 
   President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, declaring that “all persons held as slaves” within the rebellious areas “are and henceforward shall be free.” It also announced the acceptance of former slaves into the Union’s armed forces. The Constitution grants extended powers to the President during times of war, and although it would not permit the President to interfere with slavery in the states under normal circumstances, it would do so during wartime.
 
   President Lincoln feared that the Emancipation Proclamation would be overturned once the war ended. A constitutional amendment would ensure that slavery could never again resurface. Congress formally proposed the Thirteenth Amendment outlawing slavery on January 31, 1865; it was ratified on December 6, 1865.
 
United States as a Beacon to Liberty - Immigration
 
   The bosom of America is open to receive not only the Opulent & respectable Stranger, but the oppressed & persecuted of all Nations & Religions; whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights & privileges.
--George Washington, Address to Irish Immigrants, draft hand written by David Humphries, December 2, 1783
 
   America’s earliest settlers who came in search of religious freedom in the seventeenth century passed on a vision of America as a shining beacon of hope to the world that still shines today. Between 1820 and 2001, more than sixty-seven million people came to the United States from every corner of the globe, lured by the promise of liberty and opportunity. The open-door policies of the early years of the republic eventually gave way in the late-nineteenth century to more restrictive measures driven by concerns for the nation’s economy and security. Fear of foreigners and racial prejudice have also influenced policies that excluded rather than welcomed immigrants. But the wish to honor the ideal of America as a safe haven persists. Two-thirds of the seventy million people who have left Europe since 1600 have come to America. Millions more have come from Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
 
   Today, the United States pulses with the energy of a dizzying mix of cultures, races, religions, and languages. The people of the United States are joined together, not by religion, race, or genealogy, but by a shared set of beliefs about freedom. In 1989, the fortieth President of the United States, Ronald Reagan, reflected on the current state of the American Dream: “After 200 years . . . [America’s] still a beacon, still a magnet for all who must have freedom, for all the pilgrims from all the lost places who are hurtling through the darkness, toward home.”
 
Expansion of Rights and Liberties - The Right of Suffrage
 
   It was we, the people, not we, the white male citizens, nor yet we, the male citizens; but we, the whole people, who formed this Union.
--Susan B. Anthony, 1873, “Is It a Crime for a U.S. Citizen to Vote?” speech delivered following her arrest for voting in the election of 1872
 
   When the Constitution took effect in 1789, it did not “secure the blessings of liberty” to all people. The expansion of rights and liberties has been achieved over time, as people once excluded from the protections of the Constitution asserted their rights set forth in the Declaration of Independence. These Americans have fostered movements resulting in laws, Supreme Court decisions, and constitutional amendments that have narrowed the gap between the ideal and the reality of American freedom.
 
   At the time of the first Presidential election in 1789, only 6 percent of the population–white, male property owners–was eligible to vote. The Fifteenth Amendment extended the right to vote to former male slaves in 1870; American Indians gained the vote under a law passed by Congress in 1924; and women gained the vote with the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920.
 
   Susan B. Anthony devoted some fifty years of her life to the cause of woman suffrage. After casting her ballot in the 1872 election in her hometown of Rochester, New York, she was arrested, indicted, tried, and convicted for voting illegally. At her two-day trial in June 1873, which she described as “the greatest judicial outrage history has ever recorded,” she was convicted and sentenced to pay a fine of $100 and court costs.
 
   Anthony took full advantage of the high-profile case to promote the cause of woman suffrage. In a speech delivered repeatedly in 1872–73, she exhorted her listeners to “fight our battle for the ballot–all peaceably, but nevertheless persistently through to complete triumph, when all United States citizens shall be recognized as equals before the law.” Women gained the vote with the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution in 1920, fourteen years after Anthony’s death.
 
Global Impact of the Charters of Freedom
 
   The flames kindled on the Fourth of July, 1776, have spread over too much of the globe to be extinguished by the feeble engines of despotism; on the contrary, they will consume these engines and all who work them.
--Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, 1821
 
   From the earliest days of the Republic, this nation’s Founders believed that the United States had a special mission in the world. George Washington spoke of it on April 30, 1789, moments after taking the oath of office as first President of the United States. “The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the Republican model of Government, are justly considered as deeply, perhaps as finally staked, on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.” The success of their experiment, these early Americans hoped, would hasten the spread of liberty around the globe.
 
   In the first century following the Declaration of Independence, movements in France, Belgium, Poland, Norway, Switzerland, as well as in Venezuela, Mexico, and Argentina drew both inspiration and practical lessons from the American Revolution and its landmark documents. During the nineteenth century, the adoption of written constitutions often accompanied changes in governments in Europe and Latin America.
 
   In 1917, there were approximately a dozen democracies in the world. Today, there are more than one hundred, and most of them have written constitutions. While the charters of many of these nations vary greatly from the U.S. Constitution, its endurance and stability has surely lent encouragement and credibility to the cause of freedom-loving people everywhere who have labored to throw off tyrannical regimes and devise for themselves a system of self-determination and government based on the consent of the governed.
 
 

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