“In the bold and doubtful election
we were to make for our country,
between submission or the sword;
and to have enjoyed with them
the consolatory fact, that our fellow citizens,
after half a century of experience and prosperity,
continue to approve the choice we made.
May it be to the world, what I believe it will be,
(to some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all,)
the Signal of arousing men to burst the chains,
under which monkish ignorance and superstition
had persuaded them to bind themselves,
and to assume the blessings & security of self-government.
That form which we have substituted,
restores the free right to the unbounded
exercise of reason and freedom of opinion.
All eyes are opened, or opening,
to the rights of man.
The general spread of the light of science
has already laid open to every view.
The palpable truth, that the mass of mankind
has not been born with saddles on their backs,
nor a favored few booted and spurred,
ready to ride them legitimately,
by the grace of god.
These are grounds of hope for others.
for ourselves, let the annual return of this day
forever refresh our recollections of these rights,
and an undiminished devotion to them.”
~ Thomas Jefferson