The Fourth of July celebrates the birth of our nation. Through fireworks displays, historical reenactments and parades, we take time to give thanks to our founding fathers for the fortitude and foresight they showed in authoring our constitution and constructing the groundwork for a new type of nation.
As we reflect upon these historical events, upon what truly makes us unique as a nation, it makes sense to look at who the founding fathers truly were. In large part, they were farmers.
Of the 55 delegates who attended the Constitutional Convention, 14 were farmers. George Washington, the father of the nation, served as a military leader during the war for independence but, when he went home, he was a farmer.
Our nation has a strong basis in agriculture. Certainly, farming has changed over the years and evolved to meet the needs of a growing, developing society but the character of the farmer, fiercely independent, tirelessly optimistic and doggedly dedicated to hard work, remains an integral part of who we are today.
Thomas Jefferson himself often noted the importance of agriculture to the character of the young nation, famously saying:
“Cultivators of the earth are the most valuable citizens. They are the most vigorous, the most independent, the most virtuous, and they are tied to their country and wedded to its liberty and interests by the most lasting bands. “
This Independence Day, while spending time with family and community, take just a moment to think about the men and women who continue the proud tradition of our forefathers. Think about our farmers. Steadfast in their mission, they provide an abundance that sustains our people and fuels our country.