- When was the last time you read the Declaration?
We’re celebrating Independence Day again and to commemorate the event, I went back and reread the Declaration of Independence.
I first read it when I was in elementary school in Connecticut, along with the U.S. Constitution. However, due to the convoluted political times we now live in, I thought it might be wise to revisit this important American landmark.
A lot of the verbiage in the Declaration always seemed rather prosaic to me: “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 other words, I was always impressed with the choice of words, sentence structure and the overall organization of the document. Simply beautiful.
Even though war had broken out one year earlier, the Declaration is still a bold document in that it was an attempt to publicly rationalize the necessity of independence not only to the people of our fledgling country but the world as well. To draft the document, Congress appointed a “Committee of Five,” consisting of the best minds of the day including John Adams of Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, Robert R. Livingston of New York, and Roger Sherman of Connecticut. Jefferson, of course, is best remembered as the principal author.
To justify independence, the authors built a strong case against the King of England and enumerated the various offenses he allegedly committed against the colonies and why such acts were intolerable. The document is truly “revolutionary” as it totally dismissed the current form of government as provided by the English; that something better was needed than an aristocracy based on a monarchy. The specific charges brought against the King also paints a grim picture and gives an interesting historical perspective of life during this period of time. If you read it carefully, you will doubtless conclude that England left us no other alternative but to revolt against the current system.
After you have read and digested its contents, you come to the realization that the signers of the Declaration were men of true resolve and determination for if independence failed, they most certainly would have lost everything, including their lives. This aspect alone is inspirational to me; to be among such men of character would be priceless.
Interesting, one of the charges brought against the King read:
“He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.”
I couldn’t help but chuckle over this one as I’m sure someone could use it to describe our own government today.
Happy Birthday America; 236 years young!
(Originally Published: July 2, 2010)
Keep the Faith!
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Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Copyright © 2012 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.
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