It’s easy to be discouraged about the future of our country. But if we give up on freedom, we’d be the first generation of Americans in our country’s history to do so.

In 1776, fifty-six men declared America’s thirteen colonies to be independent from their Mother Country. The cherished treasure of self-governance was under attack, and our forefathers determined that it was worth defending.

Doing so, however, proved to be an extremely difficult task. The new nation’s army was perilously ill-prepared to oppose what was, at the time, one of the world’s greatest superpowers. In nearly every regard, Great Britain’s formidable military was better equipped, funded, and trained than the seemingly overzealous Americans.

But those who dismissed our forebears’ efforts notoriously underestimated the resiliency of the American Spirit. Armed with a passionate love for freedom and an uncanny serendipity that can only be ascribed to Divine Providence, the new nation threw off the chains of tyranny and exploded into existence with a glorious display of independence. To be sure, freedom came at an incalculable cost; lives were lost, blood was spilt, but the cause for which these early patriots made such noble sacrifices lived on. And the American Story was only beginning.

Just as birthing the American Experiment demanded sacrifice, so would preserving it. Thankfully, in every generation, true patriots have unflinchingly risen to the all-important challenge of supporting their country, and the torch of freedom has not yet burnt out. Yes, America’s future has, at times, seemed uncertain, but the shining city on a hill is still brightly shining.

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Against all odds, the nation survived its tumultuous formative years, managed to endure a horrific civil war, and was miraculously upheld through a century dominated by communism and political instability. Resiliency is indeed deeply embedded in the history of our Republic. We would, nonetheless, be amiss if we were to attribute America’s unparalleled success solely to our unique system of government.

Although God has certainly blessed the United States with an exceptional government, the real strength of America is not in Washington D.C., but in her people and their love for God, country, and, of course, freedom. After all of the dangers that have come against her, America still exists today because her people have faithfully and self-sacrificially safeguarded her.

And now it’s our turn. America’s freedoms are once again under assault, not by foreign enemies, but by our own government. Our purported “friends” and “saviors” in Washington D.C. have sadly reduced our prized Constitution to nothing more than an ignorable collection of sentimental platitudes, and in the process, they have truly forgotten We the People.

Understandably, Americans are sick and tired. It’s time to do something. But what? An ever-increasing number are inappropriately turning to violence as an answer, but physical aggression will only worsen the situation. Thankfully, our prudent Founders left us with a great arsenal of political weapons to wield against Washington should it ever endanger our God-given ability to self-govern.

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The most important resource remaining in that toolkit is an Article V Convention of States, which entrusts the states – not Congress or any other branch of the federal government – with the ability to propose constitutional amendments that “limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, impose fiscal restraints, and place term limits on federal officials.”

If ever there was an appropriate time to call a Convention of States, that time is now. Our corrupt, self-absorbed politicians will never restrain themselves or curb their own unscrupulous disregard for the American people. We must rein them in, or no one will.

At this very moment, when the United States stands at a crossroads between the two divergent paths of liberty and tyranny, our chapter of the illustrious American Story is being written. And just as it did in 1776, the future of the nation seems uncertain. After more than two centuries of exceptional success, many wonder if this is the inevitable conclusion in which the shining city on a hill finally implodes, forever lost to the annals of human history. Adversely, this very well may be yet another chapter in which freedom-loving patriots, like you and I, devotedly defend the glorious cause of freedom, defiantly refusing to let it fail. We must decide. By God’s grace, we have inherited the world’s greatest national experiment in freedom, and, in the tradition of those who have gone before us, it is our duty to preserve that freedom for future generations.

May history find us to be the ones who turned the Republic’s darkest hour into its brightest triumph.

Jakob Fay is a former SIA Coordinator and current writer for the Convention of States Project, a project of Citizens for Self-Governance