It is easy to take for granted the freedoms we enjoy. It has been two hundred and forty-one years since the founding of our country, and as time passes the propensity to fully appreciate the daring accomplishment that was The Declaration of Independence diminishes. There was a time when this land was ruled by a monarchy, and the people of this land had no legitimate claim to live life according to their own individual principals or desires. It is hard to imagine such a life. The idea of self-governance and guaranteed human rights at the time was radical and controversial to say the least. Democracy at the founding of this country, was an ancient concept that had been dormant for many hundreds of years. In the 18th century democracy was a massive departure from the geo-political status quo. What the founding fathers had conceptualized and what others fought for was an unprecedented vision of freedom. I believe it is appropriate to classify those concepts of individual freedom and the military victory over Britain as nothing short of a miracle.
Over the holiday weekend I celebrated that miracle with family and friends at a cottage in the Wisconsin North woods. I swam in a clear sparkling lake and sat around a fire underneath a translucent night sky, all the while being inundated with gratitude. Grateful to live in a place where I am allowed to enjoy life’s peaceful pleasures. I often have that same feeling of gratitude when I walk into a courtroom. As an attorney, I know I can rely on the Constitution to ensure my clients receive proper due process. There are few other courtrooms outside of the United States where this is the situation. In many other countries jurisprudence is dictated by the whims of one person, and not by a system of laws created by the populous. Though our system of laws are imperfect they are at least rooted by principles of individual rights. Those principals were famously declared on this date in 1776 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
One of my favorite destinations is Independence Hall in Philadelphia. This is the building where the Declaration of Independence was signed and where the Constitution was ratified. The building itself is not remarkable, a rather simplistic Georgian design. The interior is modest, there is no marble, no gilded ornaments, the main materials within the hall are wood and brick. There is nothing pretentious about the structure, which I think is fitting given its purpose and historical significance. However, the modest design and furnishings by no means detract from the awe struck feeling you have when you step foot inside Independence Hall. There you are at the exact birthplace of America. In the main assembly room there is a chair where George Washington sat during the Constitutional Congress. The chair is made of wood, far from a throne, and on the back of the chair is a sun with a face that is cut in half by the horizon. While the Constitution was being signed Benjamin Franklin optimistically observed the sun on the chair was rising, but noted that it was now up to the people to make sure the “sun” continues to rise. Franklin’s metaphorical observation is a message of caution that the freedoms passed down us only have value if the people ensure their relevance.
On this Fourth of July, the attorneys and staff at Adolph Legal would like to express our gratitude to those who have sacrificed to ensure that our freedoms are still relevant. We are aware that as legal professionals, our significance is moot without the sacrifice of others. Happy Fourth of July and we hope that our clients and anybody reading this are effectively pursuing happiness as our Founding Fathers intended.