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.
Before the US Constitution, we had the Declaration of Independence. An ideal of what a free America would look like.
I typed these words today from memory. These words should ring through the minds of all citizens of this nation young and old alike. Everyone should be able to recite the preamble to the Declaration of Independence on command with pride and respect. More importantly, the meaning and origin of these words should be understood.
Before the United States became the United States and before the US Constitution was established, the colonists wanting independence imagined a life without a corrupt government. They envisioned a government of the people and by the people.
Thomas Jefferson was given the task of writing this document with the help of other important thinkers of the day like Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, Robert Livingston and John Adams. In Philadelphia, late at night he wrote. It took him a little over two weeks to draft this document which was treason against the king of England. The Continental Congress was planning an insurrection against England and this document’s purpose was to arouse people to join the cause.
Why would they do such a thing?? How did they get to the point of establishing a militia against their leader? If you read the Declaration of Independence, it clearly states first the list of peaceful attempts of the colonists to be heard as a people wanting change. The government ignored the needs of the people. The document then lists how the English government was violating their rights given to them under the English Bill of Rights.
When an oppressed people, after trying to peacefully appeal for change, are left to no other devices, they rebel. As stated in the Declaration of Independence, ” 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 provide new guards for their future security.”
When we look back on the men who fought for our freedom and independence, somehow we don’t see them as an evil perpetrators, we see them as heroes fighting for what is right.
The Declaration of Independence tells a story. A story of a people fighting against injustice and corruption. It tells a story of people willing to die for a cause that they believed in, an American principle. It is the story of where we came from and who we are as Americans. Let us NOT forget this story lest we fade away.