Revisiting the Declaration of Independence
Let us revisit the Declaration of Independence for a moment. Each of us knows deep down inside that we are created equal and that your God (whomever that might be) has given you certain fundamental rights that cannot be taken away, no matter what. These Rights are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. So, to ensure these rights are always there, our government was established alongside the people, created by the people, for the people. Their job was to secure these rights. The government got its power via the consent of the people.
However, according to our Founders, when any form of government becomes destructive, abusive, or overbearing, it is the right of the people to change it or overthrow it and establish a new government in its place. Such a government should be built upon these principles and organize its powers to ensure the people’s safety and happiness. Of course, discretion should be used in these matters, and governments that have been around for a long time should not be overthrown or challenged for trivial reasons. At the same time, we should understand that history has shown that humanity is more apt to suffer through unnecessary burdens that hinder these rights than to fix the problems by getting rid of or getting out of the situations they are suffering from.
Therefore, when people begin to see that a long list of abuses and violations continues to grow, it becomes clear that the people should get out from underneath any such total dictatorships. It is their right and duty to separate themselves from such a government. If for nothing more than to ensure that their future is secure.
Unfortunately, what has been described here is what is currently going on. Maybe it is time to consider creating a new government, unlike the government we are currently under. After all, this government has a history of repeated abuses and violations. When you think about it, they have provided us with nothing more than total dictatorship over the country.
The preceding sure does make a powerful case. Perhaps you might have heard something like this before? Well, you have just read a modern translation of the preamble to the Declaration of Independence. Some may find the preceding to be absolutely remarkable because it sounds much like the cries of citizens across this great nation almost weekly anymore. However, note that such cries are from the left, right, rich, and poor and are very similar to those of our Founding Fathers more than 200 years ago. So, isn’t it odd that so many people today don’t really know much about this essential document? How does this happen?
Our Founding Fathers wrote the Declaration of Independence because they realized that their king (government) would not listen to them and did not care what they had to say anyway. Their Central Bank far surpassed its acceptable boundaries, and the government was reaping great benefits from the labors of the colonists without any substantial gain to the colonists in return. When you force people to work without proper compensation, what do you call it?
At first, and primarily out of loyalty, the colonists accepted the hardships and higher taxes imposed on them. However, as time passed, the colonists began to see that they were treated more like workhorses than valued colonists. After all, the hard work and constant danger were bad enough without having a tyrant half a world away stealing from the tables of those who risked it all to acquire what they had.
Still, the colonists thrived for a time. Unfortunately, the more they thrived, the more the king took. This pattern proceeded to get worse over time. It elevated to such a degree that the establishment simply would not listen when the people asked for something. Instead, the king invaded the people’s privacy and created many new government programs enforced by intimidation. Does that sound familiar? The king then established numerous laws restricting or banning the tools necessary for self-protection and prosperity. Of course, these were major issues.
Much like today, the people accepted this tyranny primarily out of loyalty. However, this tyranny was reinforced through official-sounding declarations such as the American Revenue Act (Sugar Tax), Boston Port Act, the Massachusetts Government Act, and the Quartering Act. American history records such declarations as the “Intolerable Acts.”
For those who have read history, you might remember how the officials enforced the tax stamp, which taxed every piece of printed material, including playing cards. More or less, these were all attempts to create more burdens on the people so that, in turn, they would be forced to rely on the government more and follow what the government said. Of course, our Founding Fathers tried numerous times to plead with the king to stop and right some of these wrongs. Such pleas were ignored.
Our Founding Fathers wanted government representation by fellow citizens from the colonies, not by people halfway around the world. The representatives they were provided were people who knew nothing about life in the colonies. They were too far detached. The colonists considered the provided representatives to be elitists. It was understood that these representatives were not common and did not care about the hardships of those in the proverbial trenches. So, when certain laws were passed, abuses of those laws were exercised. As you know, the hardships imposed on the people went unchecked, and the cries of the people were left unheard.
Is this not our situation today, at least in part? Can you imagine a government that did what it wanted to do without citizen oversight or input? Can you imagine officials of that government not listening to the vast majority of the people? Can you imagine officials that only wanted to further advance the power of the government or themselves and were willing to lie, cheat, and steal to do it? Can you imagine elitists representing you who were detached, knowing nothing about you or your hardships or what life is like in your community?
Of course, you do! So, if you say this all sounds too familiar, understand that you are not alone. It sounds surprisingly familiar because it is. You are currently in very similar shoes to that of our founders. Understand, though, that they decided they would do something about it over a long enough period of time.
It was not an immediate call to arms, though. As stated earlier, they did try to plead with the king and the king’s officials. They tried numerous letters, visits with officials, and persistent patience with the hardships they were dealing with every day. After all, they were loyal to Britain, and they just wanted to advance the empire.
They did, however, feel as though they deserved perhaps just a little in exchange for their bravery and hard work. The colonists were not asking for much. They simply wanted to be left alone and have the ability to be self-reliant. The king and his officials did not see these as great options because they wanted to advance their own agendas. The truth was that the people were nothing more than the workhorses to make that happen. Slowly, the people caught on.
The colonists worked hard to acquire resources but were not justly compensated for their work. Many of the resources found or harvested were more or less confiscated for the crown and were sent straight back to England. The lords took much of the territory the colonists were trying to settle, and the colonists were told they could not push further west. They were forced to stay right where they were in many cases. They began to see that their dreams were fading, and for what?
When the kings’ soldiers enforced many of the kings’ unreasonable demands, the people started to consider separation from Britain. After all, the king was not listening anymore, the kings’ officials would ignore the people, and the fact that the people were working more for their government than they were for their own livelihoods had just become too much.
The colonists believed they were living in a complete dictatorship. Only this dictatorship was known as a monarchy. Eventually, and after volunteering to come to this new land and taking enormous risks, the colonists did not feel that having their property or lives controlled by another was right. They knew what they were experiencing was fundamentally wrong, and they needed to do something about it. A change was soon to come.
Our Founding Fathers soon wrote one of the most amazing documents ever created. Because of this document, a chain of events ensued that eventually birthed one of the greatest nations the world had ever seen. As Americans, we have a responsibility to remember with a patriotic heart; all those freedoms they fought so hard to provide every citizen of the United States of America. Not just the freedoms, though, we should remember the reasons.
We should acknowledge and embrace the words and ideas of our Founding Fathers regarding our freedoms and livelihoods. In my humble opinion, we should not try to re-create America. Instead, we should be holding on to what we were told would keep our freedoms intact. Remember, the type of liberty we are supposed to have (the Republic) is a fairly unpopular idea because it empowers everyone equally. However, we must also remember that power is transferred, not created. Furthermore, those with an abundance of power seldom like to share it. This idea still holds true today.
So, in the spirit of remembrance, let us examine the reasons addressed in the Declaration of Independence. However, this time, I will provide some context in modern terms to better understand where they were coming from. Note that they refer to the king when “He” is used. The modern translation will be in italics.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.—The King refused to agree to wholesome and necessary laws that the people had requested.
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.—The King refused to grant local leaders permission to pass necessary laws without some approval from the king; regardless of their necessity or importance. In fact, the king often ignored such requests altogether.
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.—The King would only grant accommodation if the people gave up their rights to participate in their local governments.
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.—The King deliberately made it difficult for the people to participate in or even observe government proceedings that involved the people directly. IE: behind closed doors.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.—The King dissolved representative bodies of the people if those people opposed how things were run.
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 meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.—After The King dissolved the representative bodies, he would not allow the people to form new bodies even when necessary for the safety and protection of the people. Essentially, the Right to be able to defend themselves was taken away.
He has endeavored 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.—The King migrated people to the states to keep the people weak and reliant. He made all kinds of rules and laws that contorted the process.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.—Some areas had to go without the rule of law for a long period of time because the government objected to the idea of anyone but the king having such power.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.—This was more than likely the inspiration for Article III, Section 1 of the United States Constitution.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.—Imagine Customs agents, TSA, NSA, IRS, military courts, etc. Agencies are put into place by the government but without the consent of either the people or legislatures.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.—A military force among the people at all times was and is unacceptable if the people do not approve it.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.—He has made the military power stronger than our system of justice, and they impose their will accordingly.
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:—He has teamed up with other forces, and we have to follow all kinds of rules, and he does not even want to hear our own laws and what we think should be done.
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:—We have to house and feed strangers who are here to oppress us.
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:—He protects these murderers in so-called trials.
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:—He has essentially forced us to shut down our businesses and impeded commerce.
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:—He continues to raise taxes without even asking us.
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:—He has taken away our right to trial by jury in many cases. Government officers pretty much do what they want.
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offenses—He kidnaps us to be tried for ridiculous charges.
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighboring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:—More or less, this refers to rendering established laws obsolete, expanding the rule of the king, forcing the king’s laws onto the people and making an example of those who do not follow.
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments – He has taken away our ability to govern ourselves.
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.—Rendering our laws moot, and forcing us to follow other laws.
He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging War against us.—He abolished our government, disowned us, will not allow us to protect ourselves, refused to protect us, and threatened war against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.—He has taken our resources, burned our towns, and devastated so many people here.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.—From what we understand, he sent provocateurs and mercenaries to kill us, destroy what we have built, and make us a memory. This is not civilized behavior.
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.—When he has captured our brothers and sisters at sea, he has forced their service to take arms against us.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us and has endeavored 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.—He has turned the colonists against one another and has invited people who do not flight like the English to come battle against us.
(U.S. Declaration of Independence, 1776)
You might recall parts of this from when you were in grade school. It is often forgotten by most, though, and by the time it becomes a crucial thing to know, people have long since forgotten the details, while others simply consider it all elementary. Still, one might find it interesting that we can draw parallels between then and now.
Has the government, in any way, shape, or form, hindered our safety or national security for what appear to be dumb reasons?— Think Operation Gun Runner or Operation Fast and Furious. Think about enabling groups like Antifa or terrorist nations. Has the government attempted to stop the states from passing what the states believe to be reasonable and needed laws?—Think about laws such as the Second Amendment Protection Act and how the feds threatened governors for attempting to pass such laws.
Has the government provided accommodations for certain states or companies if the people of those groups gave up any of their rights to participate in the program?—Think entitlements. Has the government had proceedings behind closed doors where the people could not hear, or perhaps even the press was not allowed?—Think about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (among many others).
Has the government effectively stopped representative parties from being formed?—Think about third parties or bodies held for grievances. Has the government contorted the immigration rules to make it difficult for someone who wants to be a citizen (for the right reasons) to actually achieve citizenship?—Think Legal vs. Criminal Immigrant.
Has the government stopped or hindered a state’s ability to protect itself?—Think Arizona. Has the federal government tried to establish its power over the states? Has it attempted to put itself above the states? Has the government become a revolving door with corrupt organizations and corporations?
Has the government created many agencies whose entire purpose seems to be harassing the people of this great nation if they are somehow affiliated with anything remotely close to something Constitution-oriented?—Think TSA, NSA, IRS, etc.
Are we seeing the military more and more often? Do we have a militarized police force? Is military equipment being utilized as everyday equipment? Is the government signing treaties that infringe on our fundamental Constitutional Rights?—Think UN Small Arms Treaty.
If a government official does something that ends up in the death of an American citizen, is that person brought to trial, or is that person protected by the Administration?—Plenty of examples here, but for those who are not aware, please reference Clinton/ Benghazi or Holder/Gun Runner.
Are taxes continuing to be raised without consent? Is spending out of control despite citizen rejection? Are we fined for not paying? Can the government be fined for being late with a payment to you? What about your trial by jury or being kidnapped to answer for crazy charges without Due Process?—Think National Defense Authorization Act.
Is the government growing its power and trying to render self-rule a thing of the past?—Try to think about all the different areas of your life the government is in. Are any federal laws somehow infringing on Constitutional Rights or laws? Can you govern yourself?
Has the government threatened war against its people?— Think DHS in conjunction with the MIAC Report of 2009 or the Virginia Terrorism Threat Assessment 2009, which states that third-party supporters, Ron Paul supporters, and even Constitution-loving Americans, were all domestic terror threats.
Has your government turned people on one another? Has the government forced Americans to point their guns at other Americans?—Think Katrina Gun Confiscations, think Boston, etc.
Except for a few listings, we have just drawn numerous parallels to the entirety of the Declaration of Independence. There are examples of similar problems that our founders faced in almost every single category. Some of you might be looking at the examples provided, and you are ridiculing them because you can come up with far better examples that illustrate the point much more effectively. Does this feeling not further the point?
Understand that if you can find better examples of these, you are already making the case. It is a simple point. We are where our founders were, only this beast has gotten bigger, stronger, and more resolute. Are you amazed more people do not see this?