The Declaration of Independence: Then and Now

Independence Day marks the anniversary of the ratification of the Declaration of Independence, the document brilliantly penned by Thomas Jefferson offering a bill of particulars against King George III of England and articulating the values upon which our new nation was to be based.  Have we remained true to those values?  I offer for your consideration the text of the Declaration of Independence with my thoughts on how consistent or inconsistent our country is, 235 years later, with the values set forth therein.

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.

The opening sentence of the Declaration of Independence establishes that nations exist based upon “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.”  In 2011, we scoff at the concept of natural law and look to the United Nations for such authority.

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.

In the second sentence, the Declaration of Independence states that just as nations exist pursuant to natural law derived from God, so too our individual rights are endowed by God and are therefore unalienable.  This was so obvious to the Founding Fathers that they deemed it “self-evident.”  Note also that the Founding Fathers stated that we are “created” equal and not that we have the right to equal outcomes throughout our lives, as modern leftists like Barack Obama claim.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

In my opinion, this is the single most important statement about government and governmental authority ever written.  The Founding Fathers here clearly stated that the government of the United States of America was being formed for the specific purpose of securing our rights and that, to do so, the government would have only those powers that we the people consent for it to have.  Any other power claimed or executed by the government is unjust.  Note that the purpose of government was to secure rights and not to guarantee outcomes or engage in social engineering through wealth redistribution and government programs.

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.

The Founding Fathers here make clear that because the just powers of government emanate from the people, if the government usurps more power than the people consent for it to have and thereby becomes oppressive, the people have the right to alter or abolish that government.  Jefferson retained this belief throughout his life, writing from France in the late 1780s that he believed the people should rebel against their government every 20 years because “[t]he tree of liberty must, from time to time, be fertilized with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”  Jefferson’s sentiment is instructive when we see a radical leftist Democrat president and a congress controlled by radical leftist Democrat supermajorities use hundreds of millions of dollars of public funds to bribe members of their own party into voting to impose on the American people a scheme that we vehemently opposed to usurp our rights to determine how we maintain our own health care.

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.

Try this on for size:  “The history of the present President of the United States and his congressional allies is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over the people.”  Scary how much it applies, isn’t it?

To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

And let’s compare the transgressions of King George III in the 1770s with those of President Obama in the 21st century.  Not every item has a corresponding modern transgression, but it’s alarming how many do.

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

President Obama has opposed every effort to cut spending and balance the budget, thus imposing a debt on our children of unimaginable proportions.

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.

President Obama routinely has used his federal regulatory power to roll over the right of the people to enact the policies they prefer within their own states.  He has even gone so far as to sue states to impose his will over that of the elected state legislatures.

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.

President Obama steadfastly has opposed efforts to control our borders and to enforce our immigration laws, and at the same time has worked to give citizenship to illegal immigrants whom he hopes will join his political party – all against the will of the vast majority of the American people.

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

President Obama has worked tirelessly to appoint judges who engage in outcome-based judicial activism rather than a respect for the Constitution and the laws as passed by our elected representatives.

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.

President Obama has appointed dozens of new unelected and unaccountable “czars” with various degrees of actual power and authority to govern us.  He has also dramatically increased the size and population of the federal government with “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 committed our armed forces to a war in Libya without consulting with or seeking the approval of the elected representatives of the people in Congress, and he adamantly refuses to seek such approval.

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:

President Obama appoints judicial activists to the bench for the purpose of enacting policies into law by judicial fiat that he cannot get approved by the elected representatives of the people in Congress.  His judicial activist appointees also advocate looking to foreign law as a basis for “interpreting” the American Constitution and statutes.

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:

President Obama has opposed numerous free trade agreements that would have opened doors to trade throughout the world, choosing instead to adopt the protectionist agenda of his union sponsors.

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

ObamaCare anyone???  And perhaps even more worse, President Obama has tripled the deficit and increased the national debt by 60%, resulting in a situation in which the only practical way to manage the debt will be through inflation – a weakening of the dollars already held by the American people that is the most insidious form of taxation known to man.

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:

President Obama ran for president seeking to “fundamentally transform” America.  He has attempted to do so by rendering the Constitution meaningless and seeking to use the regulatory process – which is beyond control by the people and our elected representatives, to do what he cannot get done through the elected representatives of the people in Congress.

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

President Obama hasn’t gone so far as to try to suspend the legislature.  He merely ignores it when it won’t do his bidding (i.e. since the Republicans took control of the House of Representatives).

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.

President Obama’s leftist allies seek to “excite domestic insurrections” by accusing anyone who disagrees with their leftist agenda of racism.

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.

President Obama and his allies forced ObamaCare down our throats despite the massive peaceful protests across the country.

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.

Truer words were never spoken.

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.

Our Founding Fathers, 235 years ago, pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor to fight for freedom, and many of those great men did indeed lose their lives and fortunes.  Who are the great men and women of today who likewise will pledge their lives, fortune, and sacred honor to restore the liberties which were bought with blood 235 years ago only to be usurped later by a tyrannical federal government?

  • Shane M.

    So you complain about Obama and his evil leftists and how they label conservatives as “racist” right after the paragraph of the Declaration that is arguably the most racist with its depiction of “merciless Indian Savages”.


    And since you’ve accused the President himself of participating in the hurtful, unfair accusations of racism, I trust you have some evidence of this? I’m sure some exists otherwise why include the President among the accused.. so I hope you could show me some evidence of him calling conservatives racist.

    • @Shane- It is fair to say that Obama himself has not overtly played the race card, tactically choosing instead to allow his allies and surrogates to do so without his condemnation. I have modified my critique accordingly.

      Regarding the language of the Declaration of Independence on Indians, I have two points:

      (1) It is well-documented that frontier Indians did indeed engage in savage tactics in mounting unprovoked warfare on American settlers, often at the behest of the British. (I recently read a biography of Daniel Boone that described many such incidents.) The wording in the Declaration of Independence is distasteful to our modern sensibilities, but if it was your family who had been brutally murdered in an unprovoked attack at the time the Declaration was drafted and ratified, I’m not sure you would have objected. And, by the way, Jefferson was fond of the Indians generally and defended them vigorously throughout his life against criticism that all Indians were savages, including in his widely disseminated and read Notes on the State of Virginia.

      (2) Are you saying that this unfortunate language describing Indians justifies Obama’s allies (with his tacit approval) smearing his critics as racist merely because we oppose his policies?

  • You know, Ken… I could just as easily see some lefty writing this about Bush about four years ago.

    Sorry — always get a bit squeamish about someone saying the sitting POTUS has reached a level of tyranny comparable to King George III and the British Parliament.

    • @Shaun – Do you disagree with the specifics of what I wrote?

  • Jerry Z

    For some of us the office of the POTUS has reached a level of tyranny that makes us uncomfortable-not just Obama’s term. Congress too.

  • View the following blog items for yet another view of our sad slide back into an Imperial all-knowing and all-controlling central government.

  • WillRogersBucko

    American’s government has grown more tyrannical by way of incrementalism, and the electorate is completely naive and enables our government to do that very thing. Citizens vote for Presidential puppets and are still left wondering why they are disappointed. National politics is a game. Go learn more about your local community where you can actually try to make a difference by being involved and caring.

  • John Jackson

    I believe the word you’re looking for is Fascism. Roanoke is no different with their alliance called the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany River Region as we have one in Hampton Roads.

    Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission:

    Hampton Roads Partnership:

    These organizations are intended to overcome the traditional state-federal relationship and push a global Sustainable Development agenda.

    As you notice, local governments, businesses (chambers, banks, utilities, etc.), universities and news organizations come together. News cronies, university professors/students and even military officers exercise in Bernay’s/Goebbel propaganda to push their social engineering.

    The Declaration of Independence has been replaced with the Declaration of Interdependence.

    We are now proud members of the Global Community now…

    I see that the BD engaged on this discussion last year when our city officials committed to this global goal:

    Also, you may wish to see how they envision United States in the future…so much for free market. We are moving toward Mega-Regions and this is where Gov McDonnell mentions we are behind.

  • Jonathan

    Ken, I agree wholeheartedly with everything you have written. I am convinced that were our founding fathers alive today they would have already, as in decades ago, begun the Second American Revolution. Washington has long since passed 27 abuses and is showing no signs of even slowing down let alone stopping. 2012 may be the defining year that tells us whether a peaceful resolution to the federal tyranny can be accomplished or if we will have to resort, assuming enough americans have the will to do so, to the same method our founding fathers had to employ against England. My sentiments echo those of Patrick Henry who said the words “give me liberty or give me death!”

  • Shannon Sexauer Ulery

    I’d be interested in seeing this list redone today Jan 16, 2015, listing all of the things Obama has done since it was originally done in 2011. I bet there are a boat load more things that can be added that Obama has usurped and would match the Declaration of Independence a lot more than back in 2011.

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