Posted by: bkivey | 4 July 2013

In Congress, July 4, 1776

In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
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.

The Revolutionary War had been going on for more than a year when Thomas Jefferson and the ‘Committee of Five’ drafted the Declaration of Independence for the Second Continental Congress. The Preamble and Introduction above retain their power well into their third century, and have served as models for people yearning to breathe free the world over.

The Declaration and the Constitution were written by men who understood that while societies and technologies may change, people don’t. Humans of 300,000 years ago were pretty much like humans today. They were just as smart, and driven by the same emotions as the modern variant. Humans are at base tribal pack animals. We want to be part of a group, we want other people to like us, and we have an innate need to serve a higher power.

That is why freedom is hard. Freedom requires that a people make decisions about, and take charge of, their lives without the security of a controlling authority. In any given human population, a large percentage aren’t going to want to do that. As long as basic needs are met, how much easier it is to let others make the decisions, to shoulder the responsibility.

It’s important to understand that if you depend on the beneficence of others for sustenance, you are not free. You are held in thrall by those who may claim to help, but in reality seek to control. Throw off those chains. It will be hard, but the rewards are priceless.

Make a decision. Take a stand. Be free.


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