July 4th the Declaration of Independence and the revolution that began all revolutions

July 4th, Independence Day, that we celebrate today, transformed the world forever.

The divine right of kings, the old order, foundered never to return in the same strength.

We take it for granted today that the values in the declaration are those all the world would want to share but back then it was an earth-shattering document.

The notion of a republic by the people was still alien to the western world.

Indeed many of the signatories of the Declaration I'm sure did not fully understand what they were putting in motion.

In Sean O'Casey's words Jefferson et al "were the young gaffers who would capsize the stars"

Capsize them they did when we saw the millions in Tahrir Square in Cairo that is what they were seeking, when the millions gathered in Bejiing in Tiananmen Square in 1989 that is what they were looking for, the simple declaration that all men were created equal.

What America bequeathed the world was the revolution to begin all revolutions.

Its provenance is still with us today from the freedom fighters in Libya to the people of southern Sudan who recently voted for their independence.

Yeats wrote despairingly about 'rough beasts slouching to Bethlehem to be born' when predicting fascism, but not all the rough beasts turned out to be dictators and strong men.

Instead something beautiful was born on July 4th 1776 with the Declaration of Independence under the rockets red glare.

We are living in its afterglow ever since.


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