The day “…will be commemorated as a day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty… bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other from this time forward forever more.” John Adams wrote to his wife, Abigail, regarding… “The Second Day of July 1776.”
He was close.
The motion seeking independence was embraced unanimously by Congress on the Second, but Jefferson’s actual Declaration wasn’t formally adopted until two days later – on the Fourth of July.
Jefferson, Adams, and crew were tasked with drafting a document to lay before mankind in plain and simple terms the grounds for their separation and the charges against the king: “He has refused… He has forbidden… He has abolished… .”
Kings, emperors and tyrants since the dawn of time seized power by might or birthright, subjugating citizens and enslaving freemen. All privileges and immunities flowed from the throne by a conveniently claimed “divine right”, which could be denied at anytime with a wink and a nod. The colonists of the world accepted their fate as wards of the state.
But corruptible absolute power ended with “When in the course of human events… .”
Rebelling against their king was treason. But Jefferson went on to note: “Whenever any form of government becomes destructive… it is the Right of the people to alter or to abolish it.”
Because even constitutional governments “…deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed” cannot grant rights. And Madison’s Bill of Rights was carefully worded as to acknowledge their prior existence. Codifying them simply hard-wired their legal protections.
Jefferson’s Declaration made clear that man’s basic rights were a gift of Divine Providence and found in nature predating government.
Could such a document even be written today?
Snowflakes and shirtless skateboaders confuse freedom with freebies. Today’s Special… or __________ (noun) “rights” are not actually rights but demands. The exercise of any right should never infringe on the rights of others: Might without right is enslavement.
A millennial’s Declaration of Dependence would most certainly fillet God-given liberty into a buffet of governmental goodies and etch-a-sketch the Bill of Rights into some sort of Mad-Lib.
Providential Rights demand nothing of anyone. Freedom by definition is not an imposition. And has no life of its own. Liberty lives and breathes only in the absence of tyranny, whether the decrees of some self-exalted sovereign or the democratic whims of our neighbors.
“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”
…was argued by Adams, preached by Paine, defended by Washington, quipped by Franklin, constitutionalized by Madison, and forever inscribed on the tablet of time by Jefferson.
The Founders may not have all sung from the same hymnal, but they found harmony on this note: The Rights of man revealed in nature were gifted by the God of nature, not the government of man.
It was no accident that the destinies of these men all convened at such a critical juncture on the time line of history – the creation of this “The last best hope for mankind.”
In 1826, Adams uttered with his last breath, “Jefferson survives.” But that was not to be. Jefferson had entered into the presence of nature’s Creator just hours earlier that same day – on the Fourth of July.
Monumental Robert E. Lee
Perhaps in place of General Lee they will erect a new statue… a snowflake – a testament to what this nation has become.
King George referred to President George as “the greatest character of his age.”