Reflecting On America’s Identity On Independence Day.

I delivered these remarks, more or less as written, to the CT Liberty Rally’s Independence Rally in Hartford, CT. They are slightly edited for brevity. 

Good morning fellow patriots,

Today marks the day that our Founding Fathers pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to declare their independence from Great Britain. To us, it marks a day of celebration – a celebration of America exceptionalism, a celebration of the inalienable rights that an Almighty Creator has bestowed on all men: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Among the joyous festivities, Independence Day marks something else to me: a day of sober reflection. A day of refreshing in my mind the principles that have made the United States of America the greatest nation in human history.

I am not talking only about the principles enshrined in our Constitution, but the principles that underly the American experiment. Some folks look to the preamble of the United States Constitution, and I certainly do not quibble with that as a good starting point. I, however, start with our nation’s history and the invitation inscribed on the Statute of Liberty:

Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

The story of America is not one of fragility and dependence. It is one of rugged individualism, enterprise, and perseverance through pain and suffering. Our ancestors came to America for various reasons: religious freedom, fortune, fame, etc. Some found what they came for. Others did not. Some died in their quests All, however, found that America was, indeed, a land of hardship, but one of liberty.

Government was necessary to restrain human vice, but the American people did not depend on it to grant them privileges. They understood that they possessed God-given liberty.

When the British Crown and the British Parliament encroached upon that God-given liberty, our ancestors were long-suffering until they could endure no more. History termed it a rebellion, but it was, in truth, a reclamation of their God-given liberty.

They fought a long and bloody war to buy their freedom, and, in the years following the war amid the pains of a confederation government, they dedicated their efforts to establishing a constitutional republic where government derived its powers from the people who retained their God-given liberty as natural rights rather than privileges granted to them by a “benevolent” sovereign. Their experiment endured, not just for themselves and their progeny, but also for countless immigrants – the rejects of other lands – who embraced what America offered.

What did America offer? America offered liberty to contend with life’s hardship without the interference of an incompetent sovereign. America offered opportunity – an opportunity to rise above arbitrary societal restrictions and provide a better life for one’s self and one’s family. Above all else, America offered hope – hope that power vested in a sovereign people firmly endowed with the inalienable rights given to them by an Almighty Creator would endure as a place where liberty, self-reliance, and rugged individualism were the identity of a nation.

America did endure. She survived economic turmoil, invasion, a civil war, and existential threats from imperialism, fascism, socialism, and communism. America did more than endure. She prospered. Through the enterprise of a self-reliant people, she pushed her borders across rugged frontiers – land that a billy goat would struggle to live off of. Through the unleashed ingenuity of a free people, she made technological advances that made her the global superpower.

America’s endurance is attributable to its people’s God-given liberty, and the American people’s liberty is directly attributable to an animating spirit of self-reliance and rugged individualism. We are not a people bound by ties of blood or culture. We are a people bound by a sacred identity – the American identity – of liberty, self-reliance, and rugged individualism.

We have enshrined our statements of liberty, our plans to constrain our government, and our commitment to a free people in the United States Constitution. But the United States Constitution is meaningless and will not endure if we the people do not adopt the virtues of self-reliance and rugged individualism that undergird its promise of liberty.

That is what Independence Day represents to me – the celebration not only of our  Founding Fathers’ temerity but also a celebration of the American identity.

It’s often said that a free people must ever be jealously vigilant of their liberty. I say to you that the American people – a free people by the grace of an Almighty God – must also be jealously vigilant of their national identity. Every assault on the American experiment – internal or external – has been on the American identity. We are not a fragile people who looks to our government for survival. We are a self-reliant people who understands that our survival depends on our liberty to function as rugged individuals in contending with life’s hardships. When we give away our self-reliance, we are no longer rugged individuals, and we will soon give away our liberty as well.

There is no better day than Independence Day to remember the American identity and recommit ourselves as one nation under God to its virtues.

Now, this is a protest, and I am expected to make a few incendiary remarks that bear some connection to what I have already said.

Governor Ned Lamont, Wannabe Tyrants, and Wannabe Cronies, listen up. No matter how hard you try, no matter how many restrictions you place on individual liberty, no matter how many self-righteous lies you peddle about protecting us from ourselves, you cannot redefine the American identity to suit your tyrannical agendas. Your version of a “New Normal” is nothing more than a code word for totalitarianism.

Know this, and know it well. The American identity is alive and well. The virtues of self-reliance and rugged individualism compel us to stand for our liberty. We are a people who would rather die free rather than live a single day under your heavy thumbs. We may be idiots who waste our gas and our time driving around the governor’s mansion honking our horns at you because you’re too much of cowards and elitists to engage with us and listen to us. We may be stupid deplorables who show up to the capitol building to demand our liberty on a regular basis.

But we are also the stupid idiots and deplorables who will make every effort to run you and your spineless cronies out of public office at the first opportunity we get. We have built a great nation on a foundation of liberty, self-reliance, and rugged individualism, and we aim to keep it that way despite your tyrannical designs.

So ignore us at your peril. We’ll deal with you at the ballot box.

In conclusion, my fellow patriots, today is, indeed, a day of celebration. It is also a day for somber reflection on the American identity – the reason that America is great. Reflect and continue to defend that identity with all your might. God bless you all, God bless the American people, and God bless the United States of America.



Cameron L. Atkinson

Cameron Atkinson is a Christian, a published constitutional scholar, a trial and appellate lawyer, and a general hell-raiser. He has received national recognition for his victories in civil rights cases, especially in First Amendment cases. Attorney Atkinson stands out for his written advocacy, and he has taken the lead role in briefing cases to the United States Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, the Connecticut Supreme Court, the Connecticut Appellate Court, and multiple New York appellate courts. Attorney Atkinson has successfully represented clients facing criminal charges, including successfully arguing for the reversal of a sexual assault conviction before the Connecticut Supreme Court. He will accept requests for public speaking engagements on a case-by-case basis.

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