Speaker of the House John Boehner's Fourth of July tribute to the Declaration of Independence:

“If you’re like me, when you enter the Capitol Rotunda, your eyes are drawn to Trumbull’s depiction of the Declaration of Independence. And why not? It’s humbling to stop and think about how it all began.

“Though hard to imagine now, America was once the little guy. We had no grand Capitol, no booming commerce, no flag or currency of our own. Our army, if you could call it that, was a rag-tag bunch of farmers and shopkeepers who had homemade uniforms. We were nothing more than the subjects of a ruler an ocean away.

“But percolating in the hearts and minds of our forefathers was a radical idea, never before tried… that individuals could, given freedom and liberty, govern themselves and live out their God-given potential. These principles, once put to parchment, landed with seismic force and changed the course of human events.

“For this Declaration did a whole lot more than make a republic, it remade the world. And it still is. Every time someone, somewhere resists the constraints of tyranny and aspires to freedom, it is an echo of what happened right here.

“That is why, from our earliest days, Americans have marked the Fourth of July as the ‘great anniversary celebration,’ as John Adams predicted it would be. We raise Old Glory, march down Main Street, and light up the skies -- our pride front and center, just like Hancock’s signature itself.

“So here’s to the Spirit of ’76. Here’s to its blessings, and to the men and women who have worked, sacrificed, and pushed to preserve them. And here’s to the United States of America, the land where anything’s possible and our best days are always ahead of us.

“Just think, it all started with a small group of believers and a few self-evident truths. What a country.”

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