"A Bill of Rights is what the people are entitled to against every government, and what no just government should refuse, or rest on inference."
- Thomas Jefferson
Today now marks the 233rd Anniversary of one of our most sacred treasures of liberty. I am of course referring to The Declaration Of Independence.
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....
This famous paragraph is just the beginning to our new declaration of independence so eloquently written by Thomas Jefferson during the month of June 1776. On 11 June 1776, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman and Robert R Livingston were appointed to a committee to draft a declaration of independence. Thomas Jefferson presented a "rough draft" for correction before writing what would of course become the final version that we have known and have been taught. We are all too familiar with the beginning of the 2nd paragraph...
"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..."
Following the importance of the Declaration of Independence, would be the Constitution of the United States. We all should remember the Preamble to the Constitution, having been taught this in school.
We The People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America....
The first three words are very powerful in their context and meaning. We The People...ponder for a moment what these words are actually saying. The Preamble does not say The Government of the United States, it is...We The People of the United States. It was written as such, since our founding fathers meant our government to be for the people, BY the people. They were also looking for a form of government to include States Rights and a limited centralized government. This is why we fought for our independence, to move away from a form of tyranny, where the people had no voice in what their government was doing to them. Let us all remember what these two powerful and important documents mean to our country and to us as its citizens, as we celebrate with our families today.
Maybe it is time for all of us in this country, including our elected officials, to sit down and reread or read for the first time, both of these documents. Listen to the words that are being spoken. Comprehend their meaning and pass this understanding on to future generations.
While there were other acts in prior years, the timeline leading to our independence started in 1773 with the Boston Tea Party. In 1774, the First Continental Congress was held and thus begins the timeline leading to the 4th of July, our nations Independence Day.
So as we sit with our families, enjoying the parades, the food at the picnic and watching the fireworks...remember to take a moment and reflect upon our heritage as a country and what happened 233 years ago for us to enjoy our freedom today.
Happy 233rd Birthday America!