Celebrating Those Who Signed the Declaration of Independence
Most citizens today are relatively unfamiliar with the details of the Declaration of Independence and its 56 signers. And because schools have largely abandoned the teaching of our governing documents, most today think that America separated from Great Britain primarily over the issue of "taxation without representation."
Yet listed in the Declaration 11 times more often was the abuse of representative powers; and four times as often was the abuse of judicial powers. Taxation without representation was merely grievance number 17 out of the 27; so why aren’t most Americans familiar with the rest?
During the Progressive assault in the 1920s, a new group of penmen began writing history texts in America, including Charles and Mary Beard, W. E. Woodward, Fairfax Downey and others. They attacked and impugned the Founding Fathers and replaced traditional teaching of history with what became known as the "economic >approach to American history." This wrongly reduced every historical motive to money and ignored lofty goals such as the pursuit of liberty, inalienable rights, limited government, and self-governance.
|The four immutable principles of|
American government are:
1. There is a Creator.
2. He gives certain guaranteed
unalienable rights to man (among
which the Founders identified life,
liberty, property, self-defense, right
of conscience, due process, etc.).
3. Government exists primarily to
protect and secure the rights that
God gave man.
4. In social compact, below
God-given rights and moral law,
government is to be operated by
the consent of the governed.
Fortunately for us today, the Founders’ philosophy is so short, simple, and succinct that it is easy to reclaim. Their entire philosophy of government is set forth in just 55 words in the Declaration:
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.
The application of these four principles has produced the most stable, prosperous, and free government in the history of the world. Some describe this accomplishment as “American Exceptionalism” – a term coined in 1831 by Alexis De Tocqueville, a famous French visitor to America who declared:
The position of the Americans is
therefore quite exceptional, and it
may be believed that no democratic
people will ever be placed in a
But the blessings we enjoy today did not materialize by accident; they came at a high cost and with great sacrifice. Therefore, we will focus on those who pledged their “lives, fortunes, and sacred honor” so that we could enjoy the blessings of liberty and self-government.
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