There are as many ways to celebrate Independence Day as there are Americans.

Whichever way one spends our seminal political holiday, it is important to dedicate sometime to remembering – or indeed clarifying – what the essence of the events that led to our Republic’s birth almost two and a half centuries ago were truly about.

It’s all to easy to focus on the personalities – the Paul Reveres, the George Washingtons, enemies like Cornwallis or evil King George – or on the pivotal events – the Boston Tea Party, the Battle of Concord and Lexington, or the crossing of the Delaware – and these are important. But why did a handful of American colonists decide to take on the greatest military the world had ever seen, with an empire on which “the sun never set?” It wasn’t about unfair taxes on tea imports, the quartering of British troops, or even the right to practice religion freely. In fact, the very catalyst and logic of 1776 is almost universally misunderstood as revolution against something.

Yes, King George was tyrannical and likely insane as a result of his suffering syphilis. And yes, the East India Company’s being allowed to import and sell tea in the colonies without paying taxes was favoritism and wrong. And the list of “abuses and usurpations” was indeed long. It was therefore right and a duty for the people to throw off the tyrannical yoke. But to what end? Just to be “free,” to gyrate like unfettered atoms of liberty in a vacuum? Hardly. Why would 56 men with their signatures pledge their “sacred honor,” and at the same time declare themselves traitors to the crown? Just so they could do whatever they wanted?

The clearest way to understand what the birth of America was truly about comes through juxtaposition in contrast to another Revolution, the French Revolution.

At first blush, the two events seem similar, portrayed as they were by their leaders as being about freedom and liberty, with the French adding in egalitarianism and fraternity to the mix of the reasons for their rebellion. But, as the great Os Guinness has so eloquently described in his work, the difference against the two world-changing events could not be greater.

The French Revolution was in fact a true revolution, a rejection and destruction of all that came before, from the monarchy to Christianity. And not just a philosophical or legal rejection, but utter destruction. That’s why the guillotine. That’s why monasteries confiscated or burnt to the ground. Our revolution was not in fact a revolution; it was a restoration that did not require a Reign of Terror or mass decapitations.

The sages of Paris rejected all that came before, believing man was supreme and France was a tabula rasa, a blank slate onto which a new society with new values could be built with no need for tradition and especially God. Our Founding Fathers had a very different diagnosis. And a very different remedy for man’s ills.

There is a very good reason that the Declaration of Independence refers to God on multiple occasions, mentions the Creator, the Law Giver, and the Supreme Judge. Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Franklin, et al understood where our freedoms came from, not because we have reason and are humans, but because we are made in God’s image and our reason is a reflection of His Truth.

Our Independence was predicated on the loss of eternal Truths that European societies, elites, and monarchs had forgotten or betrayed. 1776 was not a rejection of our civilization’s values, it was a restoration of those values triggered by a king who forgot the Magna Carta, where sovereignty truly resides, and why God is the real King.

Happy Restoration Day. Now let’s make it stick on November 5th.

Read the original at Dr. G’s Substack