Friday, July 04, 2008

The Declaration of Independence - July 4 

The Declaration of Independence - the wonderful document written by Thomas Jefferson and signed by so many leaders of the American colonies while under British rule - the document that began a chain of events that lead to more freedom for more people than possibly any other document - the document that provided the guidelines for our Constitution was signed on July 4th, 1776.

What made this Declaration so special? The documented concept that "All men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" was a breakthrough in thought for humanity. All men created equal? Yes, and that phrase, while unusual at the time eventually made its way around the world. The phrase does not say we are equal in talent, gifts, health, wealth, but created equal - given a chance to succeed.

"Endowed by their Creator" is the phrase our Founders used to recognize and accept that there is a power behind the universe. The Founders did not push, force or regulate a any belief system but rather established the guidelines to allow people to worship as they chose.

"With certain unalienable rights, among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" these ideals were rights of all mankind. It did not mean one group could impose its perception of rights on others but rather these words supported the right to life without fear of unwarranted persecution; the freedom to think, say, work, get educated, make a difference without infringing on the rights of others to do the same; the pursuit of happiness - not a guarantee of happiness, but the pursuit of it.

Each year on the Fourth of July, we celebrate. Our freedoms are not an entitlement - freedoms can be lost. The Founders expected us to be vigilant in our free lives, take the responsibility to make sure that we remember that tyranny can arise. Their fear was that we would forget.

Unfortunately, life is not always fair nor is life risk-free. Our Founders believed in the dignity of man and desired to put in place a system that would allow man to freely pursue his/her individual ideas. They succeeded in their goal. It's our responsibility to keep the dream alive for our children, our posterity; to remain that beacon of hope for the rest of the planet.

To read our Declaration of Independence from England, go here, take a few minutes and treasure the ideal of centuries.

KB Adds: Mrs. S reflects on the Declaration here in this morning's St. Cloud Times, putting it in context of the Magna Carta.

Labels: ,