“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

When Thomas Jefferson penned the Preamble of the Declaration of Independence, he expressed an enduring vision for a new nation, one built on the God-given principles of equality, unalienable rights, and the pursuit of happiness. These ideals not only provided the foundation for our republic, but it also laid the groundwork for our unique economic system. The economic freedoms we enjoy today are a direct extension of the values enshrined in the Declaration of Independence.

In 1776, Thomas Jefferson’s words would lay the foundation of hope and promise for countless individuals seeking a better life. For my parents, Ewald and Eva Sturm, these ideals provided the inspiration and courage to leave everything behind in Europe and build a new life in the United States.

Their journey was fraught with challenges and sacrifices. They spent many years waiting in Montreal, Canada before immigration would approve their petition and their dream could be realized. Despite the high cost and the long wait, my parents never wavered in their belief that the promise of America was worth it. In the end, they looked back on their journey with love and gratitude for the people and the ideals of our great nation.

The Declaration of Independence was revolutionary – and extremely dangerous to those who signed it. It asserted that every individual has inherent worth, given by their Creator, and the right to pursue their own path. This concept of individual liberty is the bedrock of our economic system, which champions free enterprise, innovation, and personal responsibility.

In a free-market economy like ours, individuals are supposed to have the liberty to pursue their economic ambitions without undue interference from the government. This freedom fosters an environment where creativity and entrepreneurship can flourish. Just as Jefferson and the other Founding Fathers sought to create a nation where individuals could pursue their happiness, our economic system provides the opportunity for individuals to pursue their financial goals and dreams.

From the earliest days of our republic, Americans have taken risks to create new businesses and industries. This entrepreneurial spirit is a reflection of the unalienable rights that Jefferson described. Entrepreneurs, through their innovation and hard work, have the ability to create new products and services, generate jobs, and contribute to the overall prosperity of our nation. Their success, in turn, benefits society by providing more choices, better products, and improved services for all.

Our economic resilience is particularly evident during times of crisis. The natural economic cycles of growth and recession are analogous to the challenges and triumphs faced by our nation throughout its history. Our ability to recover and grow stronger after economic downturns speaks to the strength of our economic principles. Historically, even during periods of economic decline, such as recessions, the American economy has demonstrated an impressive capacity for recovery and growth, driven by the ingenuity and perseverance of its people.

The Declaration of Independence is more than a historic document; it is a living testament to the values that define us as Americans. Our economic system, with its emphasis on freedom, innovation, and merit, is a direct reflection of these values.

Happy Independence Day!

Richard Sturm