In Congress, July 4, 1776

Declaration of Independence (NARA image)

Declaration of Independence (National Archive)

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

Some 233 years ago, the founders of our nation put their lives, families, and fortunes at risk to pave the way for a noble experiment — a new nation based on the consent of the governed and recognizing as self-evident that we are all born with certain rights that must not be violated.

Since then we’ve weathered the challenges of political parties and partisan division, the influence of special interest groups of every stripe, and the full range of other challenges that face a nation.

Despite our differences, on this most holy day of our civic religion may we remember not to let our partisanship or our religious differences divide us. We took our first step as a people with differing political beliefs but united by a common cause: to exercise our birthright of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

After all this time, we still find we have differences. At times the discussion about them becomes shrill. But through it all we remain one nation.

Today of all days may we remember that despite our differences, we are all Americans.

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