Independence Day – Blood and Treasure

“Blood and Treasure” comes from a July 4th speech by David Ramsay, M.D. in 1794. Ramsay studied medicine under Benjamin Rush, served in the Continental Congress and was a noted historian.

He feels it right to cover what had been done in the 16 years since the first such celebration:

“Every citizen perfectly free of the will of every other citizen while all are equally subject to the laws.
Liberty of the press…
…it is the fashion to rule well. We read of the rapacity [corruption], cruelty and oppression of men in power, but our rulers seem for the most part ot be exempt from these vices.
It is one of the peculiar privileges we enjoy in consequence of independence that no individual — no party interest– no foreign influence — can plunge us into war. Under our excellence Constitutions that scourge of nations will be avoided…
progressive improvement in business and trade…

We ought, in the first place, to be grateful to the all-wise Disposer of Events Who has given us so great a portion of political happiness. To possess such a country with the blessings of liberty and peace together with that security of person and property which results from a well-ordered, efficient government is — or ought to be — [a] manner of constant thankfulness.

Industry, frugality, and temperance are virtues which we should eminently cultivate. These are the only foundation on which a popular government can rest with safety…Idleness, extravagance and dissipation of every kind should be banished from our borders.

It remains for us to recommend free governments by the example of a peaceable, orderly, virtuous, and happy people. We should press forward in accomplishing everything that can add to the common stock of public good. While war with its horrid attendant is the pastime of kinds, let i be the study of republicans to make unceasing advances in everything that can improve, refine, or embellish society. Animated with this noble ambition, the superior happiness of our country will amply repay us for the blood and treasure which independence has cost. May that ambition fire our breasts,and may that happiness increase and know no end, till time shall be no more.

Like social skills and money sense, a correct knowledge of our nation’s founding (so necessary for fruitful civic engagement) must be taught at home. What are you doing to teach your children about our nation’s founding? How are you celebrating Independence Day?

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