Category — U.S. History
“In inspiring words, the Founding Fathers in the Declaration of Independence insisted that each man should be considered as owning himself, and not be viewed as the property of the state to be manipulated by either king or Parliament.”
The Declaration of Independence, signed by members of the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, is the founding document of the American experiment in free government. This is well taught and known.
But what is too often forgotten is that the Founding Fathers’s Declaration argued against the heavy and intrusive hand of big government. And it true today when dissident groups invoke the memory of the revolutionary period to call for political change anew.
For … and Against
Most Americans easily recall those eloquent words with which the Founding Fathers expressed the basis of their claim for independence from Great Britain in 1776:
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 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.
But what is usually not recalled is the long list of enumerated grievances that make up most of the text of the Declaration of Independence. The Founding Fathers explained how intolerable an absolutist and highly centralized government in faraway London had become. This distant government violated the personal and civil liberties of the people living in the 13 colonies on the eastern seaboard of North America. [Read more →]
July 4, 2012 2 Comments