Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

This blog is devoted to a variety of topics including politics, current events, legal issues, and we even take the time to have some occasional fun. After all, blogging is about having a little fun, right?

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

"A republic, if you can keep it."

Every year on 4 July, we put up a post that features the initial founding document of the nation. That's the Declaration of Independence. This year we're breaking away from simply posting it up, and leaving it here all day. This year, we'd like to share some thoughts on it ...

On 7 June 1776, Richard Henry Lee rose to speak before the new Congress, and introduced a motion to draft a declaration of causes for independence. Congress agreed upon five people to help draft this declaration. They included John Adams of Massachusetts, Dr. Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Thomas Jefferson of Virgina, Robert Livingston of New York, and Roger Sherman of Connecticut. Together, these five men would draft a most revolutionary document, and the one credited with the founding of the nation known as America. John Adams made a fateful decision which was to have Thomas Jefferson write the document. While Adams was a man of eloquence, he explained his motives for this move:

"1. That [Jefferson] was a Virginian and I am a Massachusettensian. 2. That he was a southern Man and I a northern one. 3. That I had become so obnoxious for my early and constant Zeal in promoting [Independence] that any [draft] of mine would undergo more severe Scrutiny and Criticism in congress than one of his composition. 4thly and lastly that would be reason enough if there were no other, I had a great Opinion of the Elegance of his pen and none at all of my own ... He accordingly took the Minutes and in a day or two produced to me his [draft]. --"America, the Last Best Hope; pg. 83

To say that the founders were unaware of the gravity of their own situation is foolhardy. When completed, and those present were signing, John Hancock demanded unanimous consent. "We must all hang together," he said. Benjamin Franklin, ever the epitome of wit and wisdom agreed, with a wry smile, "Yes, we must all hang together, or most assuredly, we shall all hang separately." Truth be told, none of the signers of the Declaration were ever hung, but during the Revolution itself, five of them were captured and tortured by the British forces. But the signing of the Declaration paved the war for the War for Independence, the end of which brought further stress to the Founding Fathers as they were tasked with amending the Articles of Confederation. That meeting was the Second Continental Congress. At the end of the deliberations -- the framing of the Constitution -- a woman asked Dr. Franklin what sort of government had been created. "A republic, if you can keep it," he replied.

And we have kept it. For 231 years, this nation has stood as a beacon of opportunity for those wishing to come here; for hope of the oppressed worldwide; and as a symbol of freedom for those that are citizens of this nation. No nation is as free as America, but that freedom has come at a high price. The Revolutionary War was only the first of may tests we have had to endure. But each time we have been called on to defend freedom, we have risen to the challenge. But those trials do not just affect those that live here. They affect those that have stood on the frontlines to defend this nation from all enemies, be they foreign or domestic. I am referring to the men and women of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and United States Marice Corps. These people have been asked to bear an awesome burden; that being the defence of this nation, all of it's ideals, and all she stands for. On this august anniversay for the nation, we would be remiss in our duties in not recognizing these people. And we should remember that while there are those that dislike these brave people, it is their lives on the line daily to ensure we have the freedoms enumerated under the Constitution. Were it not for the Declaration, and the success of the continental Army during the Revolutionary War, those freedoms would have disappeared in the mists of time.

Thomas & Marcie

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 shown 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 invasions from without and convulsions within.

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration 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 benefits of trial by jury;

For transporting us beyond seas, to be tried for pretended offenses;

For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring 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, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation, and tyranny already begun with circumstances of cruelty and 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 insurrection among us, and has endeavored 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 our 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 the 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 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.

Indeed, a republic if we can keep it. I do not think we have done such a bad job, thus far. Here is to another 231 years! God Bless the United States of America!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have a Happy 4th Of July!

July 3, 2007 at 7:34 PM  

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