The Revolutionary Concept of American Equality and Fairness

The American and French Revolutions can be described in very similar ways: People were tired of being squashed by a king, being told what they could and could not do, how much tax to pay and what special licenses were required to work. They were tired of having one set of rules for the privileged few and another for the majority. While nobles sat in their powdered wigs wielding absolute power and control over them, the people were out working --- and they wanted to be left alone.

RELATED: America’s Last Stop on the Road to Revolution and Transformation

But there was a key difference. The French turned equality and fairness into vengeance and anger. Americans took a different course.

"The troops were going to kill everybody in Congress. They had just defeated one tyrant [and said] let's go defeat the tyrants in Congress who didn't pay us and wronged us," Glenn recounted Thursday on his radio program.

George Washington, though, turned away from vengeance, advising his troops against replacing one dictator with another. America's version of fairness was equal justice for all. Have we lost sight of that?

"I contend that's what's happening to us now, on both sides. People of faith want to be treated fairly. People in the inner cities want to be treated fairly," Glenn said. "Remember the principles of the Bill of Rights. If we could get agreement on seven out of 10, we're an American family again."

Listen to these segments from The Glenn Beck Program:

Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it might contain errors:

GLENN: So the idea of privilege and equality, that's what the French Revolution was all about. What was the American Revolution about, Pat?

If you had to boil it down...

JEFFY: Tea?

PAT: Freedom. Tea (chuckling).

GLENN: Freedom.

PAT: Freedom. I'd say liberty.

JEFFY: Yeah.

PAT: Self-determination. You know, obviously religious freedom was paramount.

GLENN: Uh-huh.

PAT: Taxation without representation.

GLENN: Uh-huh.

GLENN: Words matter. Words really matter. And the subtlety of words really matter.

And it's interesting, I'm taking a course now online about the French Revolution. And it's interesting to me how parallel things ran, but just a few changes in -- of history and a few changes of language, and the whole thing spirals out of control.

Because if you look at these -- and I would describe the American Revolution without -- without the typical buzzwords. I would say that the Americans were tired of being squashed by a king, tired of being told what they had to do, how much tax they had to pay, and having to have special licenses to do things, have somebody have absolute control over them, while they sat in their powdered wigs and the other people were out working. They just wanted to be left alone.

Well, I can describe the French Revolution exactly the same way, but let me tell you the beginning story of the French Revolution a different way.

[break]

GLENN: I told you now for a while that I'm more concerned about the day after the election, no matter who wins, than anything on the buildup of the election. Because we have to come together. And we don't want to come together right now. Nobody wants -- nobody wants to come together.

But we're going to have to come together after this election. And let me show you why. Let me take you back to the French Revolution.

The French Revolution, even Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson were fooled, they said, "This is a fight for liberty, just like our fight for liberty. This is a fight for freedom and equality, just like ours." And let me show you how similar the situation was, not to America then, but to America today.

As I said earlier, the word "privilege" actually means private laws. The reason why we didn't like guilds here and the masons and everything else had a lot to do with, A, religion, but, two, had a lot to do with the guilds of the Old World. You had to be -- to be a bricklayer, you had to be a mason. It was like a union. And that's what happens in places like New York. You have to be a union member, or you cannot change the lightbulb.

In radio, in New York, when I went to New York in 1980s, WNBC, because they made a deal with the musicians union, back in the '50s, when they got rid of live music on the radio and started playing records, the union said, you're going to put out of work too many musicians. And so they made a deal and said, we'll hire the musicians' union to go back and get the record and put it on the turntable. Then we'll hire a -- a technical union to be able to put the needle on the record and push start.

Then a disc jockey, he'll be in his own union. He'll point to the tech producer to push that button. So it took three people to do what I always did by myself in New York. And they did it because everyone was in a guild or a union.

America hated guilds. We got away from that. Every man could chart his own course. And that's because in the Old World and especially in England, there were a couple of things: There were the lords and the ladies, and they ruled with absolute power.

The king and the lords and the ladies. The lords had so much power -- now, this is, you know, hundreds of years before the French Revolution, but it left a lasting, indelible mark on the people.

The lords had such a power, that on the day of your wedding, if the Lord chose to, he got your bride on the wedding night. So she lost her virginity to the lord.

He would take her from the altar, to the castle, have sex with her, kick her out, and then you can have her. And he did this because, A, you know, he's a guy, why not?

JEFFY: Why not?

GLENN: I can grab them by the -- and do whatever I want with them, and they're not going to say anything about it.

And he did it also to show power over them. "Your life is mine." Now, that law changed, but it still was part of the psyche of the average person of France.

So you had the lords and the ladies, they were one percent. Then you had the clerics, one percent. And everything had to go through those two. You had to pay a tax to those two.

PAT: I think that ended with the Magna Carta, right?

GLENN: In England. I don't think it happened in France.

PAT: No. Yeah.

GLENN: Yeah. And then in France, then you also had the guilds start up. And if you wanted to be a bricklayer, you had to go through this guild. And they were usually started by one of the aristocrats. So that way, they got a percentage of your labor. So you were paying taxes to the lords and the ladies. You were then paying 10 percent to the church. And then you were paying a percentage to your guild.

But if you belonged in a guild, it was the only way you could get off of the farm. It was the only way you could advance and do a better job than just farming and feeding chickens.

So the person was just trapped. You had to pay your way out of everything. France loved the fact -- and they still do. They think they're the center of the universe. And they're the center of all thought and the center of all art and the center of all whatever.

It was like the fashion world in everything. You know, now, "Oh, well, if you want the latest styles, you've got to see what they're doing in France." Whatever.

(chuckling)

But they prided themselves on that on everything. And France was, if not the richest country in the world, one of the richest countries in the world. And it was generally new money because the ships and commerce were coming in from the New World into France. And you could buy and sell everything there.

Capitalism was starting to take a root in -- in England, which started -- or, in France. Which started to change everything. Because now people were working on the seas. People were working in trade. People were buying and selling. And everything started to become up for grabs with money.

So capitalism started to disrupt this little fiefdom that all the lords and the ladies had. And if you had enough money, you could buy your way in to privilege. That's what the guilds did. Privilege meant private laws.

Those are the laws for the peasants, they don't apply to me. You, as a peasant, can go take somebody on their wedding night and take them to your house and have sex with them and then kick them out and say, "Eh, go to your husband now." You'd be arrested. But because you live a life of privilege, of private laws, you could do that.

So the people said, "We want fairness, and we want equality. The top 2 percent are controlling the 98 percent, and that's not right."

Does any of this sound familiar? What the people wanted was an end to privilege. See if this sounds familiar. They don't want people to be poor. They're not trying to -- the average person does not have a problem with a rich person, with a person in power. They have a problem that the people in power, if you took six pictures on a submarine and sent them to your children, you will go to prison for a year. You destroy 33,000 documents on a private server that you shouldn't have and they're all top secret, nothing happens to you. That's privilege. A life of private laws. Laws for this class are different than laws of that class.

Nobody has a problem with -- with Clinton and what she believes or what she does. It's how she enacts them. It's the things she gets away with that is the real problem with the Clintons. They get away -- I hate to say this because so many people think this is literal. They get away with murder.

In fact, what's the number now, Pat?

PAT: 104.

GLENN: 104. One hundred and four murders. They just get away with murder. Okay?

STU: No. No.

GLENN: No, I've read that the on internet.

PAT: It's the internet.

STU: Okay.

PAT: Stu, if you'd just do a little research for a change...

GLENN: Right. Now, what's the other problem we have with the political class? The other problem we have with the political class is you don't have the same choice.

Do you think that Evan McMullin feels that he has the same chance of winning as the Republican?

PAT: No.

GLENN: Do you think Gary Johnson thinks he has the same chance? Jill Stein, does she have the same chance? Bernie Sanders, who was a Democrat, does he have the same chance? No. Why?

Because she was privileged with the superdelegates. Now, he didn't win without the superdelegates, but, still, the privilege -- the private laws for the uber insider gets the advantage.

And so all we're saying -- all Bernie Sanders people are saying is, "Make it fair. Make it fair. No special access for anybody. Make the laws apply to everyone. Give me a chance."

Why does -- why does Donald Trump or George Soros or anybody -- Hillary Clinton, anybody in that class, why do they pay less in taxes than I do?

Well, it's quite simple. Because their income isn't important to them anymore. They make income through their investments and their trust funds which are all protected. You can't do that.

And so when they argue about the rich getting richer, they don't argue about their class. Nobody is talked about the trust funds. What they're talking about is damaging those people who are not in the trust fund area. The 250,000 dollar people. Those aren't the rich people.

The billions of dollars people are the ones who are getting rich. They're gaming the system. And Donald Trump has said, "Those are the laws." And he's right, those are the laws. He's not breaking any laws.

He is doing the law as it is stated. The people are saying, "Let's make the laws fair for everybody." But you can't. Why?

Because what happened at the French Revolution that didn't happen in America, what happened in America was, we didn't want vengeance. We didn't want a king. We wanted everyone to be equal and us to be a nation of laws and not of men.

And there were times the Temple of Honor story with George Washington, where the troops were going to kill everybody in Congress, they had just defeated one tyrant, let's go defeat the tyrants in Congress who didn't pay us and wronged us. And George Washington said, "No." We didn't overthrow one dictator to have -- to replace him with another. That's not who we are. We don't hate anybody. We love the law.

It's why when the Mormons were thrown out of the country and chased out of the country, they didn't hate America. They were literally chased out of the country. Utah was not America. They were chased out of the country. Their men were killed. They were slaughtered. They buried their children. It was the first extermination order of a religion, the only one in American history.

You have the right to kill them. And it wasn't really about religion. It was about slavery and Missouri and Kansas. That's what that was really about. They were chased out. And what was the first thing they did?

When they arrived in the valley, Brigham Young said, "We're having a parade."

Now, imagine being chased out of your home, being killed by Americans. Your husband. You lost your child on the way because Americans tried to kill you because of what you believed in. And Brigham Young said, "Let's have a parade and celebrate." And what did they celebrate?

America. From outside of America, the men -- and I can't remember which carried which, but the men carried the Declaration of Independence and the women carried the Constitution. And the point of the parade was, "It is the principles that will always hold things together." The people may go bad, but we don't hate the people. We understand that they lost sight of these sacred principles.

That's the American way. The French way was to turn equality and to turn fairness into vengeance and anger.

And I contend that's what's happening to us, now on both sides. People of faith want to be treated fairly. People in the inner cities want to be treated fairly. And we each have somebody who wants power whispering or shouting in our ear, get them. They don't understand you. They'll never understand you. They're against you. Forget about them.

Remember the principles and the principles of the Bill of Rights. If we could get agreement on seven out of ten, we're an American family again.

And I don't know how we can't get there. Because those are basic, fundamental rights that every American should be able to understand.

Featured Image: Oil on canvas painting of Washington crossing the Delaware by Bingham, between circa 1856 and circa 1871. Gift of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr., in honor of Walter P. Chrysler, Sr.

From the moment the 33-year-old Thomas Jefferson arrived at the Continental Congress in Philadelphia in 1776, he was on the radical side. That caused John Adams to like him immediately. Then the Congress stuck Jefferson and Adams together on the five-man committee to write a formal statement justifying a break with Great Britain, and their mutual admiration society began.

Jefferson thought Adams should write the Declaration. But Adams protested, saying, “It can't come from me because I'm obnoxious and disliked." Adams reasoned that Jefferson was not obnoxious or disliked, therefore he should write it. Plus, he flattered Jefferson, by telling him he was a great writer. It was a master class in passing the buck.

So, over the next 17 days, Jefferson holed up in his room, applying his lawyer skills to the ideas of the Enlightenment. He borrowed freely from existing documents like the Virginia Declaration of Rights. He later wrote that “he was not striving for originality of principle or sentiment." Instead, he hoped his words served as “an expression of the American mind."

It's safe to say he achieved his goal.

The five-man committee changed about 25 percent of Jefferson's first draft of the Declaration before submitting it to Congress. Then, Congress altered about one-fifth of that draft. But most of the final Declaration's words are Jefferson's, including the most famous passage — the Preamble — which Congress left intact. The result is nothing less than America's mission statement, the words that ultimately bind the nation together. And words that we desperately need to rediscover because of our boiling partisan rage.

The Declaration is brilliant in structure and purpose. It was designed for multiple audiences: the King of Great Britain, the colonists, and the world. And it was designed for multiple purposes: rallying the troops, gaining foreign allies, and announcing the creation of a new country.

The Declaration is structured in five sections: the Introduction, Preamble, the Body composed of two parts, and the Conclusion. It's basically the most genius breakup letter ever written.

In the Introduction, step 1 is the notificationI think we need to break up. And to be fair, I feel I owe you an explanation...

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another…

The Continental Congress felt they were entitled by “the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God" to “dissolve the political bands," but they needed to prove the legitimacy of their cause. They were defying the world's most powerful nation and needed to motivate foreign allies to join the effort. So, they set their struggle within the entire “Course of human events." They're saying, this is no petty political spat — this is a major event in world history.

Step 2 is declaring what you believe in, your standardsHere's what I'm looking for in a healthy relationship...

This is the most famous part of the Declaration; the part school children recite — the Preamble:

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's as much as many Americans know of the Declaration. But the Preamble is the DNA of our nation, and it really needs to be taken as a whole:

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.

The Preamble takes us through a logical progression: All men are created equal; God gives all humans certain inherent rights that cannot be denied; these include the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; to protect those rights, we have governments set up; but when a government fails to protect our inherent rights, people have the right to change or replace it.

Government is only there to protect the rights of mankind. They don't have any power unless we give it to them. That was an extraordinarily radical concept then and we're drifting away from it now.

The Preamble is the justification for revolution. But note how they don't mention Great Britain yet. And again, note how they frame it within a universal context. These are fundamental principles, not just squabbling between neighbors. These are the principles that make the Declaration just as relevant today. It's not just a dusty parchment that applied in 1776.

Step 3 is laying out your caseHere's why things didn't work out between us. It's not me, it's you...

This is Part 1 of the Body of the Declaration. It's the section where Jefferson gets to flex his lawyer muscles by listing 27 grievances against the British crown. This is the specific proof of their right to rebellion:

He has obstructed the administration of justice...

For imposing taxes on us without our consent...

For suspending our own legislatures...

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us...

Again, Congress presented these “causes which impel them to separation" in universal terms to appeal to an international audience. It's like they were saying, by joining our fight you'll be joining mankind's overall fight against tyranny.

Step 4 is demonstrating the actions you took I really tried to make this relationship work, and here's how...

This is Part 2 of the Body. It explains how the colonists attempted to plead their case directly to the British people, only to have the door slammed in their face:

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...

They too have been deaf to the voice of justice... We must, therefore... hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

This basically wrapped up America's argument for independence — we haven't been treated justly, we tried to talk to you about it, but since you refuse to listen and things are only getting worse, we're done here.

Step 5 is stating your intent — So, I think it's best if we go our separate ways. And my decision is final...

This is the powerful Conclusion. If people know any part of the Declaration besides the Preamble, this is it:

...that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved...

They left no room for doubt. The relationship was over, and America was going to reboot, on its own, with all the rights of an independent nation.

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.

The message was clear — this was no pitchfork mob. These were serious men who had carefully thought through the issues before taking action. They were putting everything on the line for this cause.

The Declaration of Independence is a landmark in the history of democracy because it was the first formal statement of a people announcing their right to choose their own government. That seems so obvious to us now, but in 1776 it was radical and unprecedented.

In 1825, Jefferson wrote that the purpose of the Declaration was “not to find out new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of… but to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm… to justify ourselves in the independent stand we are compelled to take."

You're not going to do better than the Declaration of Independence. Sure, it worked as a means of breaking away from Great Britain, but its genius is that its principles of equality, inherent rights, and self-government work for all time — as long as we actually know and pursue those principles.

On June 7, 1776, the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania State House, better known today as Independence Hall. Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee introduced a motion calling for the colonies' independence. The “Lee Resolution" was short and sweet:

Resolved, 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.

Intense debate followed, and the Congress voted 7 to 5 (with New York abstaining) to postpone a vote on Lee's Resolution. They called a recess for three weeks. In the meantime, the delegates felt they needed to explain what they were doing in writing. So, before the recess, they appointed a five-man committee to come up with a formal statement justifying a break with Great Britain. They appointed two men from New England — Roger Sherman and John Adams; two from the middle colonies — Robert Livingston and Benjamin Franklin; and one Southerner — Thomas Jefferson. The responsibility for writing what would become the Declaration of Independence fell to Jefferson.

In the rotunda of the National Archives building in Washington, D.C., there are three original documents on permanent display: the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence. These are the three pillars of the United States, yet America barely seems to know them anymore. We need to get reacquainted — quickly.

In a letter to his friend John Adams in 1816, Jefferson wrote: “I like the dreams of the future, better than the history of the past."

America used to be a forward-looking nation of dreamers. We still are in spots, but the national attitude that we hear broadcast loudest across media is not looking toward the future with optimism and hope. In late 2017, a national poll found 59% of Americans think we are currently at the “lowest point in our nation's history that they can remember."

America spends far too much time looking to the past for blame and excuse. And let's be honest, even the Right is often more concerned with “owning the left" than helping point anyone toward the practical principles of the Declaration of Independence. America has clearly lost touch with who we are as a nation. We have a national identity crisis.

The Declaration of Independence is America's thesis statement, and without it America doesn't exist.

It is urgent that we get reacquainted with the Declaration of Independence because postmodernism would have us believe that we've evolved beyond the America of our founding documents, and thus they're irrelevant to the present and the future. But the Declaration of Independence is America's thesis statement, and without it America doesn't exist.

Today, much of the nation is so addicted to partisan indignation that "day-to-day" indignation isn't enough to feed the addiction. So, we're reaching into America's past to help us get our fix. In 2016, Democrats in the Louisiana state legislature tabled a bill that would have required fourth through sixth graders to recite the opening lines of the Declaration. They didn't table it because they thought it would be too difficult or too patriotic. They tabled it because the requirement would include the phrase “all men are created equal" and the progressives in the Louisiana legislature didn't want the children to have to recite a lie. Representative Barbara Norton said, “One thing that I do know is, all men are not created equal. When I think back in 1776, July the fourth, African Americans were slaves. And for you to bring a bill to request that our children will recite the Declaration, I think it's a little bit unfair to us. To ask our children to recite something that's not the truth. And for you to ask those children to repeat the Declaration stating that all men's are free. I think that's unfair."

Remarkable — an elected representative saying it wouldn't be fair for students to have to recite the Declaration because “all men are not created equal." Another Louisiana Democrat explained that the government born out of the Declaration “was used against races of people." I guess they missed that part in school where they might have learned that the same government later made slavery illegal and amended the Constitution to guarantee all men equal protection under the law. The 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments were an admission of guilt by the nation regarding slavery, and an effort to right the wrongs.

Yet, the progressive logic goes something like this: many of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence, including Thomas Jefferson who wrote it, owned slaves; slavery is evil; therefore, the Declaration of Independence is not valid because it was created by evil slave owners.

It's a sad reality that the left has a very hard time appreciating the universal merits of the Declaration of Independence because they're so hung up on the long-dead issue of slavery. And just to be clear — because people love to take things out of context — of course slavery was horrible. Yes, it is a total stain on our history. But defending the Declaration of Independence is not an effort to excuse any aspect of slavery.

Okay then, people might say, how could the Founders approve the phrase “All men are created equal," when many of them owned slaves? How did they miss that?

They didn't miss it. In fact, Thomas Jefferson included an anti-slavery passage in his first draft of the Declaration. The paragraph blasted King George for condoning slavery and preventing the American Colonies from passing legislation to ban slavery:

He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights to life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere... Determined to keep open a market where men should be bought and sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce.

We don't say “execrable" that much anymore. It means, utterly detestable, abominable, abhorrent — basically very bad.

Jefferson was upset when Georgia and North Carolina threw up the biggest resistance to that paragraph. Ultimately, those two states twisted Congress' arm to delete the paragraph.

Still, how could a man calling the slave trade “execrable" be a slaveowner himself? No doubt about it, Jefferson was a flawed human being. He even had slaves from his estate in Virginia attending him while he was in Philadelphia, in the very apartment where he was writing the Declaration.

Many of the Southern Founders deeply believed in the principles of the Declaration yet couldn't bring themselves to upend the basis of their livelihood. By 1806, Virginia law made it more difficult for slave owners to free their slaves, especially if the owner had significant debts as Jefferson did.

At the same time, the Founders were not idiots. They understood the ramifications of signing on to the principles described so eloquently in the Declaration. They understood that logically, slavery would eventually have to be abolished in America because it was unjust, and the words they were committing to paper said as much. Remember, John Adams was on the committee of five that worked on the Declaration and he later said that the Revolution would never be complete until the slaves were free.

Also, the same generation that signed the Declaration started the process of abolition by banning the importation of slaves in 1807. Jefferson was President at the time and he urged Congress to pass the law.

America has an obvious road map that, as a nation, we're not consulting often enough.

The Declaration took a major step toward crippling the institution of slavery. It made the argument for the first time about the fundamental rights of all humans which completely undermined slavery. Planting the seeds to end slavery is not nearly commendable enough for leftist critics, but you can't discount the fact that the seeds were planted. It's like they started an expiration clock for slavery by approving the Declaration. Everything that happened almost a century later to end slavery, and then a century after that with the Civil Rights movement, flowed from the principles voiced in the Declaration.

Ironically for a movement that calls itself progressive, it is obsessed with retrying and judging the past over and over. Progressives consider this a better use of time than actually putting past abuses in the rearview and striving not to be defined by ancestral failures.

It can be very constructive to look to the past, but not when it's used to flog each other in the present. Examining history is useful in providing a road map for the future. And America has an obvious road map that, as a nation, we're not consulting often enough. But it's right there, the original, under glass. The ink is fading, but the words won't die — as long as we continue to discuss them.

'Good Morning Texas' gives exclusive preview of Mercury One museum

Screen shot from Good Morning Texas

Mercury One is holding a special exhibition over the 4th of July weekend, using hundreds of artifacts, documents and augmented reality experiences to showcase the history of slavery — including slavery today — and a path forward. Good Morning Texas reporter Paige McCoy Smith went through the exhibit for an exclusive preview with Mercury One's chief operating officer Michael Little on Tuesday.

Watch the video below to see the full preview.

Click here to purchase tickets to the museum (running from July 4 - 7).

Over the weekend, journalist Andy Ngo and several other apparent right-leaning people were brutally beaten by masked-gangs of Antifa protesters in Portland, Oregon. Short for "antifascist," Antifa claims to be fighting for social justice and tolerance — by forcibly and violently silencing anyone with opposing opinions. Ngo, who was kicked, punched, and sprayed with an unknown substance, is currently still in the hospital with a "brain bleed" as a result of the savage attack. Watch the video to get the details from Glenn.