We call July 4 Independence Day because it celebrates the emancipation of the American colonies from British rule. Our revolution, the American Revolution, is credited with inspiring the French Revolution a decade later. Americans focused on entirely different goals in their revolution, however. While the French stormed the barricades with cries of “​Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité,” we sought to achieve liberty only and above all else. We knew that freedom is the essential condition from which all societal good follows.

This Independence Day, more than any that came before in recent memory, feels less like a celebration of independence won than an ominous reminder of independence lost, and a call to battle to reclaim our independence not from an overseas ruler but from a domestic despot: our own government.

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