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Fortnight For Freedom: Declaration of Independence

 

fortnight for freedom 2016

 

 

 

 

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.—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.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts:
John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Connecticut:
Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York:
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey:
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania:
Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Delaware:
Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Maryland:
Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia:
George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina:
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Georgia:
Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.

6 Comments

  1. It appears that Catholic thought also directly influenced the Declaration. Here’s an interesting post from Volokh Conspiracy about “Lex, Rex,” by Samuel Rutherford, a Scottish Presbyterian:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2016/07/02/origins-of-the-declaration-of-independence-samuel-rutherfords-lex-rex/

    “Rutherford used the Scholastic model of questions, assertions and arguments. Unlike some other Protestants, Rutherford quoted from and built explicitly on Thomas Aquinas and other Catholics, such as the Spanish Second Scholastics Francisco Vitoria and Francisco Suárez. Like the Scholastics, Rutherford paid great attention to Aristotle and to the political history of ancient Greece and Rome.”

  2. Now there is one more reason I look forward to July 4th. And that is this sham called Fortnight for Freedom (or as truth in advertising would demand, Operation Define Religious Liberty Down to the Abyss of the Meaningless) will be over for another year.

    Don’s first post was about the bishops getting into bed with Caesar. Well, the USCCB’s FFF campaign is just one more tryst in that sordid affair. To characterize just immigration laws as an attack in the same way the HHS Mandate does cannot be justified by any Catholic or Constitutional stretch of the imagination. And when you look at this campaign against the backdrop of Cardinal Dolan’s race-baited calumnious swipe at Arizona’s SB 1070 and the USCCB’s amicus brief to SCOTUS citing that same law as a serious threat to religious liberty (a reading of the law for which you can easily find by googleling it will reveal it does no such thing), and the USCCB receiving government funding through its Migration Fund, the bishops place the push for open borders immigration policy as a higher priority than actual religious liberty. A sad truth to be sure, but the truth nonetheless.

  3. Stay on topic Greg. I know your opinion about the Fortnight for Freedom, but this post is about the Declaration of Independence. I would think that all Americans could find much to celebrate about that document. Is it too much too ask that on one day, one day, we celebrate our American heritage?

  4. I am with you Donald, Celebrating our American heritage on the fourth and all days. And thank you for posting the entire declaration here, we don’t see it often enough to remind us just how much we have to be thankful for.

  5. And we should all rejoice in all our freedoms, and that it is not yet a hate crime to read the Declaration Of Independence in public.

  6. “What was written in 1776 applies to our current despot: “A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.”

    In full:

    Sorry re the length on this one-post from Natl Cath Reg some years back:

    Posted by Guy McClung on Wednesday, Nov 21, 2012 4:29 PM (EDT):

    England, Could You, Would You?

    Dear England: Some years ago we sent a cordial note to your monarch – some here called it a DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE – in an effort to commence a mutually beneficial dialogue between some of us over here and you all over there. Only for potential negotiating advantage did our forefathers refer to your monarch as a “Tyrant” and his form of government as “despotism.”

    Due to recent developments here in the colonies, we entreat you to consider re-opening this dialogue begun in the Spring of 1776 and, after a serious study of the benefits for all of us, that you allow us to again join with you and become part of the realm. Let us in mutual cooperation submit facts to a candid world.

    Our Declaration listed some proposed talking points (in the parlance of that time over two centuries ago these topics for discussion were referred to as “usurpations” which then was just another word for “deliberations”). “He” was the esteemed and beloved His Royal Highness George III. We believe some of these topics bear reconsideration today since they perfectly describe our present tyrant in the White House; for example

    “He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
    He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States;
    He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
    He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
    For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
    For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
    For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
    He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us.”

    We had no clue that the “swarms” of which we complained previously in 1776 could today multiply exponentially into heartless hordes, virtual mobs, of intransigent agents and officers.

    We apologetically admit that we had no idea that someone could subvert words we wrote specifically to prevent tyranny; and then could sign treaties which countermanded our Constitution and were contrary to the will of the people. By his imperial pen he is at this very moment preparing to sign a UN Treaty to repeal our 2nd Amendment, when he is fully aware that our Constitution explicitly does not permit amendment in this way.

    Our taxes, as compared to those just and reasonable ones under the esteemed and beloved George III, have also increased both exponentially in rate and in the scope of things and activities taxed.

    We did not realize that what we were setting up could be abused via so-called “penalties” so that a huge percentage – now almost 50% – of all the populace live off the labor and sweat of the remaining people who work. We had no idea that our plans could be embodied in a work force nearly half of whose jobs are working for the government to either control every aspect of our lives or to collect the taxes which apply to every aspect of our existence from birth to death and even thereafter.

    Your revered monarchs have always respected the rights enshrined in the Magna Carta, while our current tyrant invests himself and his government with power to legislate –which we thought we had reserved to a legislative branch of government – while now via imperial decrees – which are called “executive orders” – he himself alone legislates enacting his imperial “laws” which are not based on and are usually contrary to the will of the people.

    And now our country, at his bidding, is divided – making what we called “domestic insurrections” in 1776 look like picnics – while he purposefully pits one group against another, making Americans hate Americans, to increase his power.

    What was written in 1776 applies to our current despot: “A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.”

    For some time we have been inclined to suffer, while evils were sufferable, rather than to right ourselves by leaving our loved homeland so that we are not subject to the new form of aristocracy here in the colonies. Since in this day and age change as occurred in 1776 is unrealistic and politically impossible, we humbly and earnestly ask, no, we beg and beseech you, that you most seriously consider allowing us to rejoin you so that we can again lift our heads high with others who respect human dignity, who value the Creator-endowed inalienable rights of all men and women, and who believe that government is of, by and for the people.

    God bless the Queen; and God bless America.
    Sincerely, the People of the Unites States of America

    PS: All rights reserved in the event of a “Queen Camilla”

    Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/mark-shea/fr.-robert-barron-on-obamas-secular-totalitarianism/#ixzz4DXflzY7w

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