America’s heritage—its cultural inheritance from one generation to the next—is preserved as much through its key documents as it is through its customs and traditions. These documents comprise the writings and speeches of its citizens; they give voice to what its people collectively believe and their hopes. They contain ideals toward which the people aspire. Often these ideals are loftier than the people wish to or are able to reach immediately, but they nonetheless serve as a compass pointing them to better life and better culture.
The core values of the Tea Party movement are visible from the earliest days of the colonization of and the establishment of government in the New World. Economic growth motivated the building of Jamestown in Virginia in 1607, and religious freedom inspired a hearty group of Pilgrims/Puritans to establish a colony in Massachusetts in 1620; the themes of individual liberty, personal responsibility before God, and collective respect for the rule of law are foundational through each successive wave of immigration.
Below are several documents in our Nation’s history which clearly reflect these values. As you read them and return to them from time to time, think of the ideals which led to their creation and those toward which we still climb. Reaffirm them in your own life and recommit to your part in making them a reality.
The Mayflower Compact (1620)
A Modell of Christian Charity (City Upon a Hill) by John Winthrop (1630)
Give me Liberty by Patrick Henry (1775)
Virginia Declaration of Rights (1776)
Common Sense by Thomas Paine (1776)
The Declaration of Independence (1776)
The Articles of Confederation (1777, effective 1781)
The Great Seal of the United States of America (1782)
The Constitution of the United States of America (1787, effective 1789)
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