On this day in 1775, the American Revolution begins.
Incredibly, also on this day in 1861, the first blood of the American Civil War is shed.
Instructive for both is Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration on Taking Up Arms, written in July 1775:
“Our cause is just. Our union is perfect. Our internal Resources are great, and, if necessary, foreign Assistance is undoubtedly attainable. We gratefully acknowledge, as signal Instances of the Divine Favour towards us, that his Providence would not permit us to be called into this severe Controversy, until we were grown up to our present strength, had been previously exercised in warlike Operation, and possessed of the means of defending ourselves. With hearts fortified with these animating Reflections, we most solemnly, before God and the World, declare, that, exerting the utmost Energy of those Powers, which our beneficent Creator hath graciously bestowed upon us, the Arms we have been compelled by our Enemies to assume, we will, in defiance of every Hazard, with unabating Firmness and Perseverence, employ for the preservation of our Liberties; being with one Mind resolved to die Freemen rather than to live Slaves.”
We find similar sentiment in the fourth verse of the “Star-Spangled Banner” by Francis Scott Key. In fact, it gives way to an early iteration of Our National Motto, and inspired Our shirt design, below:
“Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto – “In God is our trust,” ”