Sunday, July 02, 2006

Declaration of Independence...

4 July 1776

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.


SWAC Girl said...

As a history buff, I add the following to Rightside's excellent 4th of July post (thanks to HEAV home school research):

On June 7, 1776, a resolution was introduced by Virginia's Richard Henry Lee calling for the 13 colonies to be "free and independent states, absolved of all allegiance to the British crown." After much wrangling, Thomas Jefferson, another Virginian, was tasked with the job of writing the Declaration of Independence. With advice from Benjamin Franklin and John Adams, Jefferson submitted his completed work to the Second Continental Congress on June 28, 1776.

After debate and changes, the Declaration was adopted on July 2, 1776. That evening, John Adams wrote his thoughts on the new declaration to his wife, stating in part: "The second day of July 1776 will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival."

As we know, the country would end up adopting July 4 as the official birthday. But Adams was right about succeeding generations celebrating this event.

There would be fireworks between Adams and Jefferson, too. Bitterness and dispute marked their successive years. It did not help that Adams defeated Jefferson by three electoral votes, becoming the second president. Nor did things improve when, four years later, Jefferson saw to it that John Adams would be the first president to serve only one term, defeating Adams in his re-election bid.

Things seemed to go from bad to worse. It was mainly through the Christian and loving efforts of another founding father, Dr. Benjamin Rush of Pennsylvania, that these two men were finally reconciled. Although their friendship would never reach the depths that it once did, neither did the rancor.

In later years, John Adams boasted that he would outlive Thomas Jefferson, even though Jefferson was seven years younger. On the 50th anniversary of America's birthday, July 4, 1826, John Adams died. His last words were reportedly, "Thomas Jefferson survives." What Adams had no way of knowing back then was that he had indeed outlived Jefferson - by just a few hours.

Five years later, on July 4, 1831, James Monroe, another Virginian and the fifth U.S. president, also died.

Not too many countries live to be 230 years old. Happy birthday, America!

not4cindy said...

I am especially gratefull to see an acknowledgement of Independence Day here since I was so disappointed when I opened my newspaper. The front page shared equal parts with a story about parades and US soldiers accused of rape. Could, at least for one day, have shown something about our US Military in a positive, and possibly even appreciative, light. Please, could we just once be reminded of who it is that grants us independence?
Thanks for the history reminder SWAC girl. It's nice to know that someone realizes we didn't just wake up liberated!