Founders’ July 4th lesson: Divided by politics but united in core values of a free people

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For many of us, the Fourth of July is a favorite holiday as families gather around barbecues and picnic blankets to this quintessential American experience. Yet, in the midst of the food, fireworks and friends, it is also a holiday to reflect, if only briefly, on what brings us to this moment each year in celebration of the Declaration of Independence.

This year, the holiday seems even more important. The core values that define us as a people are again under attack, particularly the right that defines us as a people: free speech.

In my book, “The Indispensable Right: Free Speech in an Age of Rage,” I discuss our struggle with free speech through the stories of the heroes and villains of our Republic. Two of those figures, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, also happened to die on this date.

Thomas Jefferson, left, defeated President John Adams in the bitterly divisive election

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