“I can say,” wrote Ayn Rand, “not as a patriotic bromide, but with full knowledge of the necessary metaphysical, epistemological, ethical, political and esthetic roots — that the United States of America is the greatest, the noblest and, in its original founding principles, the only moral country in the history of the world.”

Rand’s bold claim was based on the political philosophy contained in the Declaration of Independence — contained explicitly, in Jefferson’s immortal statement that government’s sole purpose is to protect the individual’s rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — and contained implicitly, in moral principles of rational self-interest that Rand herself made explicit almost two hundred years later.

Independence Day: What July 4 Really Means

“It is in this context — from the perspective of the bloody millennia of mankind’s history — that I want you to look at the birth of a miracle: the United States of America,” Rand wrote elsewhere. “If it is ever proper for men to kneel, we should kneel when we read the Declaration of Independence.”

On July 4, we commemorate political independence from England and pay tribute to the Founders’ moral vision of the sovereign individual who deserves freedom to live by his own independent judgment. But to achieve that ideal in the twenty-first century, we desperately need Ayn Rand’s perspective on individual rights and how government can protect them. Here are some resources for those who want to explore the deeper significance of Independence Day:

Ayn Rand on “America” (from The Ayn Rand Lexicon)

Ayn Rand on the “Founding Fathers” (from The Ayn Rand Lexicon)

Ayn Rand on “Man’s Rights” and “The Nature of Government” (essays available here)

Atlas Shrugged: America’s Second Declaration of Independence” (essay by Onkar Ghate)

The Meaning of Independence Day” (video by Mike Berliner)

Boston Tea Party – July 4 keynote (video, part 1 and part 2, by Yaron Brook)

Atlas Shrugged: A Paean to American Liberty” (op-ed by Don Watkins)

Kagan’s Updated Declaration of Independence” (blog post by Tom Bowden)