In a remarkably short speech on October 28, 1886, Grover Cleveland dedicated the Statue of Liberty. It was ironic that Cleveland was the president to dedicate the statue. While serving as the Governor of New York, he had vetoed legislation authorizing $50,000.00 in public funds be used to construct the base of the statue. Congress had also refused to pass a $100,000.00 appropriation bill. Instead, the funds were raised privately. Much of the funding was organized by publisher Joseph Pulitzer who did so by listing the names of all those who donated to the “pedestal fund” regardless of the size of the donation.
The words of President Cleveland were as follows:
“We are not here today to bow before the representation of a fierce warlike god, filled with wrath and vengeance, but we joyously contemplate instead our own deity keeping watch and ward before the open gates of America and greater than all that have been celebrated in ancient song. Instead of grasping in her hand thunderbolts of terror and of death, she holds aloft the light which illumines the way to man’s enfranchisement.
We will not forget that Liberty has here made her home, nor shall her chosen altar be neglected. Willing votaries will constantly keep alive its fires and these shall gleam upon the shores of our sister Republic thence, and joined with answering rays a stream of light shall pierce the darkness of ignorance and man’s oppression, until Liberty enlightens the world.”
Liberty is a concept which is near and dear to the heart of most Americans. What did the Founding Fathers have to say about it? Here are just a few of their more notable statements:
“Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!” – Patrick Henry
“When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. When the government fears the people, there is liberty.” – Thomas Jefferson
“Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law’ because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.” – Thomas Jefferson
“But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.” – John Adams
“Among the natural rights of the colonists are these: first, a right to life; secondly, to liberty; thirdly to property; together with the right to support and defend them in the best manner they can.” – Samuel Adams
“Shame on the men who can court exemption from present trouble and expense at the price of their own posterity’s liberty!” – Samuel Adams
“The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil Constitution, are worth defending at all hazards; and it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors: they purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood, and transmitted them to us with care and diligence. It will bring an everlasting mark of infamy on the present generation, enlightened as it is, if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or to be cheated out of them by the artifices of false and designing men.” – Samuel Adams
“The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissensions, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty.” – George Washington
Please take a moment today to think about the liberty that we have been blessed with in our country. As President Cleveland stated, “We will not forget that Liberty has here made her home.” We must cherish the liberties that those before us fought so hard to retrain. We must stand up to tyranny whenever it presents itself. We must preserve the Liberty that is so much a part of the fabric of America for our children and their children as well. The continued liberty guaranteed to every American is definitely What IS Right With America!
Before signing off for today I wanted to pass along great news! As you know, Facebook does not include every post from every friend and all of the pages that you “like” in your newsfeed. Many of you have told me that my posts are passed along to you on a very sporadic basis. So, I have started an opt-in email list for those who would like to read each and every What IS Right With America blog post. Simply fill out the form at: http://www.bingoforpatriots.com/welcome-bingo-patriots/email-blog-form/ and every post will be delivered to your inbox. Thanks for reading What IS Right With America, and spreading the word about my blog to others as well!
Susan C. Rempel, Ph.D.