US Declaration of Independence

Listening to the Founding Fathers

On this 4th of July 2010, it would behoove all of us to to give thanks to our founding fathers and to reflect on the Declaration of Independence. Every year we celebrate this historic date but what do people really think of when they celebrate the 4th of July?

When I was growing up, it was just a day where we got to see fireworks, have a barbecue, and see a parade. (And I grew up near Boston!)  To some it is just a day off from work or a good time to have friends over for some steaks on BBQ or set off Fireworks.

As I get older and leaned more about how this country was founded and about the sacrifice of those who chose to declare independence and fight for it, I'm forced into a more serious reflection about the meaning of this holiday. How many Americans really know why this country was founded? These men who wrote this document sacrificed everything to declare independence.  Do people really appreciate who these men were and what they had in mind when they made this sacrifice?

This document though not law is preeminent in the country's founding because it serves as the genesis of what America is about. As it is the founding document of US, consider what it contained.  In less than 1400 words, this document not only explained why we wanted independence but established the foundation for why we are a country as well as the basis upon which we are built. It is the bedrock upon which the constitution sits.

Take the first 2 sentences 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. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.'

In less than 60 words, Jefferson et al, state a powerful yet simple truth with great clarity.  Simply paraphrased it was this; that the rights of mankind are given to us as a gift from God our Creator. That governments borrow these rights through the consent of the governed to defend these rights.. That is where it ends. It does not say that we are governed to institute fairness or equality of result. It is very simple and quite plain, the people lend power to governments not to institute some Utopian form of social justice but to secure the rights given to us by our Creator.

I believe that providence smiled upon these brave men as they wrote this text. It took Jefferson about a month to write it. Adams, Franklin et al a couple days to edit then present it to the constitutional convention. In the end, each word is carefully written. We as Americans should study and know this document inside and out, not only in what is says and what it means but what is absent from the document.

These men understood mankind. They understood freedom and the natural inclinations of man to try and control others. This was as true back then as it is now. In a world where not all agree that all men are created equal or that liberty is a right, it is important to use this founding document to remind all of us what is worth protecting and the real purpose of governments.

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Comments 10 comments

rkhyclak profile image

rkhyclak 6 years ago from Ohio

Very good hub, Tom. I think a majority of the people in this country think today is all about the fireworks, not freedom and it is pathetic. I wrote a hub a month or so ago, "What Would John Adams Think Now?" that is along the same lines. We need to get back to what these great men founded our country on!

Tom T profile image

Tom T 6 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

rkhyclak - totally agree. Adams was one of my favorites of these great men. Don't think he gets enough credit. All we can do is keep on talking and teaching. God Bless and have a wonderful 4th.

dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

I sometime wonder if I current leaders are really aware of the document. Or if they respect it. We do tend to take these things without thought.

Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago

Good job! Used that same quote in my hub. It is an excellent quote.

Rebecca E. profile image

Rebecca E. 6 years ago from Canada

excellent hub great job doen on this one rated up and bookmarked.

Tom T profile image

Tom T 6 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

@Joni-it's such a great quote isn't it!

@Rebecca - Glad you liked it. Wish more could see and understand this concept. Thanks for stopping by.

KFlippin profile image

KFlippin 6 years ago from Amazon

The country needs to be reminded of the words of the Declaration of Independence -- is it even still in our textbooks? :) Many of our leaders probably haven't stopped even once to read it since they were in school, kind of like Arizona's SB 1070, don't read what you choose to disregard or blindly attack. Great 4th of July hub....KF

Tom T profile image

Tom T 6 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

KF - I agree whole heartedly... Sadly there are too many who desire to keep the details this marvelous document obscured because to read and understand it would mean knowing what is going on now is not right and that would be inconvenient. Thanks for stopping by.

Truthful Speaker profile image

Truthful Speaker 6 years ago from Liberal-land Ohio

It's a shame how such fundamental, simple statements such as these have been shut out and forgotten, or as it seems. People are right; no one talks like this anymore. Now that we've got what we've got, we don't care anymore about they that established the fundamentals of the country. As it seems, people now only care about themselves and the gain they get from those around them.

Keep up the good work Tom my friend, and inasmuch as those around us fail in the pride of their hearts will we win. (win what they loose)

Tom T profile image

Tom T 6 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

Truthful Speaker- It is a shame but we have to keep talking and teaching. Thanks for stopping by.

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