On Independence Day…

Today is the 4th of July or Independence Day… the day that America celebrates it’s independence from Great Britain. July 4th is the day that in 1776 the 13 American states adopted the Declaration of Independence. Here’s an section from that declaration:

“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.”

No doubt you’ve heard the first sentence before, but the most interesting thing I find here is the section I’ve bolded. That whenever a a government no longer is protecting the “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” of the citizens, the Founding Fathers claim that it is the “Right of the People to alter or to abolish” that government and set up a new government in the order that is most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Notice that it’s not just an option the people have but that it’s their right. I think this is a really interesting point made by the Founding Fathers, especially today when a lot of people are unhappy with their government’s seemingly ever-increasing encroachment on their freedoms and mention of secession in some states.

The author (Thomas Jefferson) continues though by saying that government shouldn’t be changed for light and transient things. And that human nature shows that while evils are sufferable people will suffer it rather then change it. But when the abuse becomes too much, it is the right and the duty of the people to rid themselves of that government.

President Adam D


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