02 August 2012

Declaration of Independence "Text Study"

There are so many things that we take for granted as Americans - our freedoms, our way of life, our exceptionalism. I think that it's time to delve into... or at least take a look at some of our basic founding documents.

I've looked over the Declaration of Independence this week and these are some of the interesting points that I've found -- please share which ones you find most interesting.

First, a side note - The Declaration of Independence was written in one sitting by Thomas Jefferson, I think a most brilliant thinker. It was adopted by the United States Congress on July 4, 1776 - Independence Day.

The first two introductory paragraphs seem to be a general reasoning why the American Colonies were declaring their independence from Great Britain, followed by a listing of grievances that the Americans felt.

A lot of the reasoning come from John Locke, another thinker of the time that we should take a look at, but not today.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, 
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. 
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
Like Jefferson says here, government is granted its power from the people. Not the other way around. Another very important point here (but generally overlooked) is that our rights come to us from our Creator - not given to us by government.

People do not generally on a whim change their form of government, like Jefferson writes, "mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed." Very true - but then there becomes a breaking point.

He then lists many of these abuses that the colonists are no longer willing to suffer with. The two that jump out at me are these:
He has erected a Multitude of new Offices, and sent hither Swarms of Officers to harass our People, and eat them out of their Substance.  
Creating new offices and expanding government through new bureaucracies and thousands of laws that we are required to follow - without really knowing what they are, while still paying for them through our taxes - seems wrong. Taking a look at New York and Mayor Bloomberg trying to micro-manage people's lives through limiting soft-drink sizes and even "forcing" women to breast-feed seems like a huge over-reach of government power.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
When reading that statement I think about the lack of Executive interest in enforcing the border and immigration policies. I know very well that immigration laws need to be rewritten - but until then - policies have to be enforced. American citizens are in danger, especially American ranchers along the border who are scared to death of the drug cartels and illegals.

"I'm a citizen of the United States. This is supposedly sovereign soil, but right now it's anybody's who happens to be crossing here," he said. "I'm a little nervous being here right now. Definitely don’t come down here after dark." 
The farmer said a federal law enforcement agent told him to buy a bulletproof vest to use while working in his fields. Whenever he goes out to survey his agricultural operations, he always tells his office where he is headed, and he has purchased a high-powered rifle. 
"One of the basic points of the federal government is to protect the people of this nation to secure the border, and they're not doing that," he complained.

In some ways, the federal government doesn't seem to care - in other words "declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us."

It's a fascinating document - I'm glad I was able to take a few minutes to re-read such an interesting piece. Of course, so much to say... so little time.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"...endowed by their Creator" are the most profound four words in the history of government ever written. The remainder are inspired by that phrase.