This is what it’s all about—Paragaph two of the Declaration of Independence
It’s the time of the year when, at least for the moment, I make sure to look beyond the many mistakes we as a country have made over the last two-plus centuries. It’s the time of the year when I, at least briefly, set aside focusing on flaws to be found in our system and leaders. It’s the time of year when I say thanks for the marvelous foundation of government we were given by our Founding Fathers, and celebrate their courage and foresight. It’s the time of year when I respectfully resolve for us to do better as a country. Recall these words:
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 shown, 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 evidences 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.
With those words our Founders explained to each other, to colonial citizens, and to the world why the 13 American Colonies had come to this point in their History. The preamble had referred to the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God which entitled all people to certain respect and rights. Following the second paragraph, a lengthy list of abuses by the King of England were enumerated (not shown).
The words of paragraph two, shown above, assured the world of the legitimacy of certain “unalienable rights” which apply to all humans, whether American or not. These rights can’t be given or withheld by any government because they are “endowed by their Creator.” The people who are so endowed with rights also give consent to their government to enforce and protect those rights—i.e. power comes from the people. This document declares that it is the right, indeed the duty, of the people to revolt against any government that destroys and doesn’t protect such unalienable rights.
After this declaration of Freedom and Liberty, the Revolutionary War was fought and won. Ultimately the U.S. Constitution was the tool intended to carry out the ideals of the Declaration of Independence. That was followed by the first 10 constitutional amendments, or “The Bill of Rights,” which clarified and emphasized certain elements of the Constitution. Some felt this Bill of Rights compromised some of the perceived imperfections of the Constitution.
How blessed we are in these United States of America!