Declare

By Phil Plait | July 4, 2007 9:30 am

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 harass 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 benefit 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 British 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.

— John Hancock

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

Tip of the hat to TJ.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Cool stuff, Politics

Comments (64)

  1. Mark UK

    Yeah, you won that one. Well done and enjoy the party. Just remember to vote wisely.

  2. Ben Franklin

    We have thrown off the yoke of an oppressive government. It remains our solemn duty, as citizens, to ensure that we never suffer that indignity again. Vote wisely.

  3. Ruth

    YAWN. I mean, not even a witty comment, nothing, just a copy/paste of some boring old history, why bother?

  4. Farb

    The parallels with another George are disturbing.

  5. Ben Franklin

    Ruth, you only scored a 1.3 on the troll-o-meter. Better luck next time.

  6. aiabx

    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 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 harass our people and eat out their substance.

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

    For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit 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:

    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.

    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.

    The revolution is over.
    You lost.
    Happy July 4th.

  7. Darrin Cardani

    It’s funny – I used to live in Gwinnett County Georgia, and at the local Holiday Inn where my parents would stay when visiting, there was a bar called “Button’s”. Apparently it was named after Button Gwinnett who signed the declaration for Georgia. It’s strange the things you learn in a bar at the Holiday Inn. :)

  8. i know some folks would consider posting the declaration today a cop out, but i’m really glad you did this. i don’t know the last time i read it, and today i was really struck by this line:

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

    to which i say, thank god for those who speak the truth, and for places like the internet where (for the most part) our speech is unfiltered.

  9. Chip

    Yes, as Farb posted above: “The parallels with another George are disturbing.”

    Freedom of speech is essential, and we still have it. Happy 4th!

    Olbermann: Bush, Cheney Should Resign:
    http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/070407Y.shtml

  10. Steve

    Your post makes it seem like John Hancock wrote it… didn’t Thomas Jefferson write the bulk of it?

  11. Phil

    Little known fact:

    Today is Britain’s “Finally Got Rid Of Day” :D

  12. DCB

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for this post. And may the chips fall where they may in comparing George’s………..

  13. “Little known fact: Today is Britain’s “Finally Got Rid Of Day” :D

    and by tradition we celebrate it with endless rain two months before and two months after….

  14. Heather S

    We read this aloud over/after breakfast every 4th of July, just to remind ourselves that there is still some serious disconnect between this great Declaration and life as we know it. Of course, this flummoxed my 3.5 year old daughter today…

    My favorite cherry-picked lines this year:

    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 harass our people and eat out their substance.

    For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

    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.

    And as always these past 7 years:
    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.

  15. Stu

    As I’ve never read that all the way through before, and haven’t seen the film yet, I consider that to be the biggest “Spoiler” ever, thanks a lot Phil!!! ;-)

  16. I have a video from when I was last in London. Here’s a Brit’s thoughts on the comparison of Georges. Gotta love Dickie, our tour guide.

    Madman King George

    Funny and depressing at the same time.

  17. Qd

    Oh ok .. I just got it. It’s 4th July, and its all about America.

    Sorry, took me a while, not being American, to even get what this blog was referring to. All those “He’s” and such threw me off.

  18. Sergeant Zim

    Reading that always gives me a bit of a thrill, especially reading the names of the signers, as one (Stephen Hopkins) is my G’G'G’G'G Grandfather.

  19. PJE

    Happy independence day, America!

    Pete, in Toronto

  20. Phil

    “And by tradition we celebrate it with endless rain two months before and two months after…”

    And now it’s raining even harder because of Wimbledon.

  21. Steve Says: “Your post makes it seem like John Hancock wrote it… didn’t Thomas Jefferson write the bulk of it?”

    John Hancock was the preisdent of the Continental Congress and only he (and the secretary of the Congress) signed it, but that was on July 2. Here’s the story:

    Jefferson’s was considered the most elegant writer in the assembly, so he was commissioned to write it. His original draft was debated and tweaked for months by Congress. The debate was not just over content (the nature and number of greavences against the King were constantly changing), but over the concept of secession itself. This had been a continuous debate for several years previously, and most of the delgates knew it was now or never.

    By the beginning of July, most of the delgates were mostly happy with Jefferson’s draft, as amended. They called for a vote to adopt it (which mean officially “dissolving the political bands”), but four colonies were against it: New York, Deleware, Pennsylvania and South Carolina. The Congress had made it a rule that the vote must be unamimous. John Adams was one of the largest advocates for independence, and made several very forceful speeches to convince the other delegates. Deleware had only two representatives and one of them was for independence, so only the other needed to be convinced. South Carolina did an end-run and recalled the delegate that was against secession. That removed Pennsylvania’s objection as well. Only New York was the hold out, and they claimed that their instructions from the NY colonial government didn’t cover this, and they didn’t know what to do.

    Finally, on July 2nd, New York agreed to abstain from the vote, so that the other 12 colonies would be for secession, and none opposed. That was close enough to unaimous to satisfy the rule. After the vote, John Hancock signed it as the official authorization of secession from England. That’s why his signature is so large. There were some details on the wording of the Declaration to be worked out, and those were debated over the next two days until everyone was happy. The vote was taken on July 4 to adopt the declaration as written. Oddly, though, no one signed it that day. It was so hot and muggy in Philidelphia that Congress went into recess for a month. Most of them signed it when they got back in August, but several delegates didn’t sign for months.

    Adams thought that July 2nd should be declared Independence Day, since that’s when the vote was taken. All they did on the fourth was agree to the paperwork. As he wrote to his wife, Abigail:

    “The second day of July 1776 will be the most memorable epocha in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival…It ought to be soleminized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other from this time foward forever more.”

    - Jack

  22. bkallee

    “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.”

    As much as I love this country, this part has always made me shudder.

  23. Sergeant Zim Says: “Reading that always gives me a bit of a thrill, especially reading the names of the signers, as one (Stephen Hopkins) is my G’G’G’G’G Grandfather.”

    Wow, that’s impressive (seriously). The closest I can say I come to that kind of connection with American history is that I was born in a hospital only a mile or so from the birthplace of John Adams (and John Q. Adams) in Quincy, MA. The actress Reese Witherspoon claims to be related to the Reverend John Witherspoon (one of the signers from New Jersey). She has never provided any genealogical evidence, though.

    - Jack

  24. I went to Thomas Jefferson’s University.

  25. Troy

    I’d rather have George the IIIrd, than George the W!

  26. Space Cadet

    There’s a site out there somewhere, probably several, that tell the fates of the men who wrote their at the bottom on this document. Americans will recognize Jefferson (a vintner and winemaker), Franklin (publisher, diplomat, ladies man), and Samuel Adams (a BREWER!), but many of the men who put their names to this declaration fared far less well. They all pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their honor. Some gave up their lives, several their fortunes, but none their honor.

    I’ve gone on before, here, about how loosley we toss around the word ‘Hero.’

    Vote carefully, where ever you are.

    Ruth: Go away.

  27. David

    There is a world outside of america you know.

  28. DenverAstro

    David, “There is a world outside of america you know”.

    We know that very well, David. We support most of it with our tax dollars, and you’re welcome…

  29. Paul R

    David, it’s the 4th of July (aka Independence Day) today, ergo there’s cause to make a celebratory post. It ain’t rocket science (and how often do you get to say that on this blog?)

  30. There’s a site out there somewhere, probably several, that tell the fates of the men who wrote their at the bottom on this document. Americans will recognize Jefferson (a vintner and winemaker), Franklin (publisher, diplomat, ladies man), and Samuel Adams (a BREWER!), but many of the men who put their names to this declaration fared far less well.
    here for the actual situation(s).

    J/P=?

  31. Sergeant Zim

    I just watched the fireworks display broadcast from D.C. I was somewhat amused with the music they chose, especially the final two pieces:

    The 1812 Overture

    Ride of the Valkyries

    I wonder how many Americans realize that the 1812 Overture was written by a Russian, in celebration of the defeat of the French army, or that Wagner was a (probable) rabid racist and anti-semite? (Bugs Bunny notwithstanding(“Kill the Wabbitt”))

  32. Thanks very much to Jack for that fine bit of history. I’d heard somewhere that Hancock wrote his name so big on purpose, saying he wanted King George to be able to read it without his spectacles. But I haven’t been able to find an exact quote.

    It’s funny how that painting of the Signing of the Declaration of Independence leads people to believe that it was all done on the Fourth.

    NPR’s radio personnel take turns reading lines from the Declaration of Independence each year on the 4th. It’s extremely moving to hear.

    Reading the document (or hearing it read) reminds me that we were once the subjects of a tyrannical king. (And yes, I definitely see the similarities between that George and the one we have now.) Back then, we took a stand for our freedom and rights.

    Happy Fourth, everyone.

  33. It’s amazing how many of those objections could apply to our government today…

    I was at a July 4th Festival (why do they always say “July 4th” instead of “Independence Day”?) today, and the announcer kept coming on and saying things like, “Don’t forget the reason we’re here, the reason we celebrate today,” and goes on to mention our troops in Iraq and elsewhere.

    Not ONCE did he mention the Declaration of Independence or what our Founding Fathers did.

    That’s very, very sad.

  34. “There is a world outside of america you know.”.

    Yup. And if I were not an American, and were not posting from America, then maybe I would acknowledge some other nation’s holiday.

    But there you go.

  35. jalbietz

    That document makes me proud.

  36. Back again. If anyone wants to hear the NPR reading for this year, you can find it at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=11703583

    Also, thanks to Chip for the Olbermann link.

  37. TheBlackCat

    I saw this in person a few years ago. Some guy bought a picture at an auction. When he took it out he found a scrap of paper behind it. It turns out that the paper was an original copy of the Declaration, one of which was sent to each of the colonies for consideration. It was touring the country and came to me university. It was really cool to see. I read the whole thing several times.

    I read that they did not allow Benjamin Franklin to write the Declaration, despite being probably the most respected American on both side of the Atlantic, because they were afraid he would hide a joke it in it.

    Our choice of music was also a bit odd. 1812 overture of course, plus the French national anthem and the theme from E.T.

  38. autumn

    I live in a little town in north Florida, and I sincerely wish our Independance Day music was as good as what some of you are complaining about. I got to hear every hick with a recording contract warble their opinion of 9/11/01 as a backdrop to the fireworks.
    Favorite bit of ironic stupidity in these types of jingoistic songs is the one that says America will prevail because the author “talked to God”.

  39. Who owns the copyright on the declaration?

    Is it right to reproduce it in full without written permission from the owners of the copyright?

    Just a thought given the strict copyright rules we have to obey on the forum.

  40. Anything written before (I think) 1926 is Public Domain. At any rate, anything in the Congressional Record is Public Domain anyway, and that includes the DoI, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, etc.

  41. Kimpatsu

    Pay your taxes to King George, rebel scum! I’m here to collect: 200 years back taxes plus interest.
    My Cayman Island account details are below…

  42. Kevin UK

    You rebel scum!

  43. Strangely enoughthis little piece comes to mind. Maybe we need to make a few obvious updates. ;)

  44. Ruth

    Troll? No, regular reader who is perfectly capable of finding American historic documents on the internet without seeing them posted here. BA could just have said Happy 4th of July and maybe stuck in a URL for anyone who cares. That copy/paste was a waste of bandwidth.

  45. bobtheskepticalchristian

    well, to offer a contrary opinion to ruth, ba, i feel that the declaration of independence is never a waste of bandwidth…thanks for posting it.

    although i would say to everyone who is all gung-ho to paint president george as being as bad or worse than king george, do not forget that as bad as bush might be, he is an elected official with a limited term in office. less than two years from now, we will have a different president – perhaps a better one, perhaps a worse one, but a different one. this was not an option for the colonists. george did not have a limited term as king, and even if he did, the colonists would not have had a vote (they did not have parliamentary representation either).

    not to mention the lack of a bill of rights under king george.

    mind you, i’m not trying to suggest that bush isn’t doing some of the things that we listed in the declaration as grievances against the king (as have many presidents before him), or that he is in any way a good president. but it’s far too easy to try to compare current struggles with those of the past.

    anyway, i do think it is incredible, and instructive, to remember that the movers and shakers of the american revolution, including the signers of the declaration of independence, were men with wide ranging beliefs (for instance, you had an avowed atheist in thomas paine, a deist who edited his own version of the bible in thomas jefferson, and a devout christian in john adams), who came together to support the cause of freedom.

    well, that, and not having to pay so much in taxes. :)

  46. Luke

    Hear, hear, Bob!

    I’ve always believed that even the worst president is better than the best monarch.

    Not MUCH better, in the case of our current offering, but still better.

    Here’s looking forward to 2008.

  47. DennyMo

    Ruth Says:
    That copy/paste was a waste of bandwidth.

    And yet you came to this waste of bandwidth at least twice to post comments about it…

    Having lived overseas, observed the living and legal conditions in many other countries, and seen what TRULY oppressive governments can do to kill the spirit of their people, in my opinion – and in spite of its warts – the US is still the best political experiment going.

  48. Al_manac

    Posting the Declarartion was good! As a Canadian, reading that document makes me proud to be your friend. Those guys had guts! Rather than sniping at Americans, the rest of us should be supportive of those people/groups within the U.S. to uphold those original values and voice their concerns about the leadership that strays away from those founding principles. “Vote! Vote wisely” applies to everyone, not just Americans!

    Maybe I’ve just missed reading the blog about it, but shouldn’t there be more outrage regarding the fusing of Church and State? i.e we don’t hear much “by bringing religion into the classrooms our leaders are rejecting the wisdom of our Founding Fathers. Are we sure that’s a good idea?!”

    I”ve always been perplexed about the “unquestioning loyalty” Americans apparently have for their President. It would seem to me that the Founding Fathers would disapprove of the concept that voicing a different opinion from the President means “you’re against us.”

    And as for you Brits… you have an “independence day”, right? At some point, you no longer took orders from the Crown. And that was a good day. Maybe you celebrate it, maybe you don’t.

    I think we all need to reflect more about the substance of Independence, rather than the focus on “it’s a day to party”. It’s all too easy to take pot shots and claim the high road – a real ally stays with you “for better and for worse”.

  49. TheBlackCat

    Oh yeah, they also played “Not Ready to Make Nice” by the Dixie Chicks. I was a bit surprised by that one (not upset, just surprised).

  50. Thank you, Phil, for posting this. I don’t remember when I last read that all the way through. Thanks also to Jack for the historical context.

    My favorite line: “He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.”

    I wish our Congress would more frequently oppose president George with manly firmness.

  51. Gary Ansorge

    As Anikin Skywalker said to Obi WAn in Star Wars three,
    “If you aren’t for me, you’re my enemy,,,”
    ,,,and of course, Obi Wans response,”,,,only a Sith thinks in terms of absolutes,,,”

    Remind me again, when did George Lucas write these lines? How perceptive of him,,,

    U.S. Declaration of Independence, one of the top ten documents ever written,,,

    Thanks for reminding us, Phil.

    Gary 7

  52. Daniel

    Imagine the courage the Founding Fathers had. They lived under an oppressive government which had the power to have them executed for far less an offense than this, yet they wrote a powerful document calling for outright treason and revolution, then publicly signed their names in big bold letters and pledged their Lives, Fortunes and sacred Honor into upholding it. Amazing courage.

    If only our present politicians had half the honor these men had.

  53. Irishman

    I was going to say, “Damn you Phil and your political posts!” Comments in the thread have added their own commentary, making that joke less humorous.

    Ruth, I don’t understand your problem. I thought this was a brilliant way to remember the point of the Declaration and the celebration of Independence Day. I thought it was a great post, and enjoyed it very much. I thought it was excellent that Phil didn’t editorialize, or make pointed remarks about current political situations, or make trite comments about the Founding Fathers, the signers, and their troubles, etc. I thought it wonderful that Phil chose to let the words of the men themselves stand on its own. I enjoyed the opportunity to read through the document anew, and reflect upon what it was saying, and what it means to us as a country. That you think of it as copy/paste of some boring old history shows that you missed the point entirely. One wonders if you think the Constitution is just some old waste of paper sitting in an archive.

    And if you truly think this post was a waste of bandwidth, why the heck are you wasting more bandwidth complaining about it? Twice?

    Regarding the fates of the signers, I think it is important to note the historical truth of what they faced and why. They were largely not targeted by the British for signing the document, though they could have been. They did face hardships, losses, destruction, and death, but mostly the same conditions faced by anyone else caught up in the Revolution. And acts of resistance had been occurring, and talk of revolution had been ongoing for some time. But I think it is fair to note they did make a bold statement with this declaration, they did put themselves on the line, and they did face dire consequences for the action taken that day. The signing was a symbol for the commitment to the path they were choosing to take and the acceptance of the hardships to come. In that sense, it is fair to contemplate the results of those actions.

    As for music choices, I’m always amused when patriotic groups bring out Springstein’s Born In The USA. It’s like nobody listens to lyrics but the refrain.

  54. Leon

    Good post, Phil, and an appropriate one. Gotta love the Declaration. So many lovely ideals, and so well-written. Personally though, I prefer the Constitution; I’m disappointed that Constitution Day gets so little press, but that’s partly a reflection of the shallow culture we live in.

    Maybe I’ve just missed reading the blog about it, but shouldn’t there be more outrage regarding the fusing of Church and State? i.e we don’t hear much “by bringing religion into the classrooms our leaders are rejecting the wisdom of our Founding Fathers. Are we sure that’s a good idea?!”

    I”ve always been perplexed about the “unquestioning loyalty” Americans apparently have for their President. It would seem to me that the Founding Fathers would disapprove of the concept that voicing a different opinion from the President means “you’re against us.”

    You’re absolutely right, Al_manac. Americans should be completely up in arms about such things, but the thing is, most people here don’t understand politics or government. Most don’t really care about separation of church and state, and a growing number actually thinks it’s a bad thing.

    We also should be upset that so much of what’s going on would be abhorrent to our Founding Fathers. Unfortunately, we treat them the way most peoples treat their heroes: at the same time we idolize them and make them bigger than life, we also assign them actions and beliefs we would want them to have, rather than looking to see how they actually were.

    We have some strong civil rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. Would you believe an awful lot of people here who oppose their actions, and actually accuse them of being everything from communist, to fascist, to un-American (whatever that means).

  55. Stuart

    Maria> It’s funny how that painting of the Signing of the Declaration of Independence leads people to believe that it was all done on the Fourth.

    According to wikipedia, the painting isn’t of The Signing either. (Unless you mean some other painting, which is. :-)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Declaration_of_Independence#Myths

  56. Leon

    Also, all you British folks listening into this blog, for what it’s worth, we didn’t secede because you oppressed or overtaxed us. You basically left us alone until the Seven Years’ War (French and Indian War). But after that war you left troops in the Colonies and started demanding we pay some of our share of the taxes that everyone else in the Empire paid. We got irritated about having troops quartered in people’s homes, and having to actually pay some taxes (even though we paid less than the people in England), and in true American fashion we took matters into our own hands.

    It wasn’t really that we hated England; it’s just that we grew apart over the years, and when you decided to move back in we found we really didn’t get along–and certainly didn’t get along as housemates.

    Anyone interested in an excellent documentary about the American Revolution should check out PBS’s Rebels & Redcoats (http://www.pbs.org/previews/rebels_redcoats/).

  57. Michael H

    Ruth:
    “That copy/paste was a waste of bandwidth.”

    Just for comparison…
    The Declaration is 18289 characters = bytes of text (including blanks).
    The “Stop Sylvia Browne” graphic on the side bar is 10554 Bytes.

  58. captain swoop

    treason! I say, Sedition and Mutiny in the Colonies. France will be at the root of it!

  59. Leon

    Don’t worry–they got theirs with Haiti in 1792. ;-)

  60. The_German

    I am a little late here,

    I hope all of you had a good celebration on 4th of July. Congratulations to your 231st anniversary.
    Sometimes it is realy good to go back and see what is written there. My favourite since I read it first in 10th grade 25 years back still is:

    “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.”

    Really wise guys, weren’t they? Especially because it says “men” including more than only the inhabitants of a special country.

  61. Kimpatsu

    I’m still waiting for you colonials to pay up…

  62. Kimpatsu

    I’m STILL waiting for you colonials to pay up.
    Don’t make come round there, Phil…

  63. DennyMo

    Gary Ansorge Says:
    “Remind me again, when did George Lucas write these lines? How perceptive of him,,,”

    He claims to have written them in the 70′s, in response to the whole Viet Nam issue.

NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+

Login to your Account

X
E-mail address:
Password:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it e-mailed to you.

Not Registered Yet?

Register now for FREE. Registration only takes a few minutes to complete. Register now »