Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Lincoln (et al.) in Czech

In my continuing education on all-things-Czech, I happened upon the 1918 Declaration of Czecho-Slovak Independence and was delightfully surprised to find an eloquent tribute to America's patrimony of modern democratic principles. Having declared "the Hapsburg dynasty unworthy of leading our nation," denying "all of their claims to rule in the Czecho-Slovak Land," and declaring "a free and independent people and nation," the Declaration continues:

We accept and shall adhere to the ideals of modern democracy, as they have been the ideals of our nation for centuries.  We accept the American principles as laid down by President Wilson; the principles of liberated mankind - of the actual equality of nations - and of governments deriving all their just power from the consent of the governed.

We, the nation of Comenius, cannot but accept these principles expressed in the American Declaration of Independence, the principles of Lincoln, and of the declaration of the rights of man and of the citizen.  For these principles our nation shed its blood in the memorable Hussite Wars 500 years ago; for these same principles, beside her allies, our nation is shedding its blood today in Russia, Italy, and France.

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The original agreement between Czechs and Slovaks, pledging each group to work together toward an independent Czecho-Slovakia, was signed in Pittsburgh: http://www.pitt.edu/~votruba/qsonhist/pittsburghagreement.html.

There's an historical marker in the city at the site of the old Moose lodge where the agreement was signed.

I have often thought, though admittedly based upon not much evidence or knowledge, that is in the nations of Eastern Europe, and in particular Poland and the Czech Republic, that the world may find today the greatest champions of liberty--having had recent first-hand experience of the effects of its deprivation.

Or that in other words, that it is in these nations that the last best conscience of mankind may rest today. Time will tell.

Interesting. I found it refreshing that in 2009 when the Czech republic handed over the EU presidency to the Sweeden they did so symbolically with an oak barrel made for the occasion filled with Pilsner Urquell – the official beer of the whole of the Czech Presidency.

“We believe that for the Presidency to be transferred to Sweden smoothly and without any major turbulence, our Swedish colleagues ought to refresh themselves with Czech beer, at least in the days to come”, remarked European Affairs Minister Štefan Füle.

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