Tuesday, July 8, 2008

4th Of July Reflections

Over this past weekend and since I used to teach US History I could not help but wonder what this country has turned into over the past 15 years. Regardless of ones political affiliation it is vital, no wait, it should be mandatory that ALL Americans at least be familiar with the Constitution and the Declaration Of Independence. There are so many important lessons to learn, things to ponder, and items that people just flat out don't know about these two documents. Why is it required of immigrants that want to become citizens to know the basic foundations of our government, yet year after year high school seniors cannot even rattle of the Bill Of Rights. In my humble opinion important foundational elements of our Constitution and the Declaration Of Independence should be on every single high school exit exam. And if one really wanted to be "revolutionary" all students would be required to take a separate exam on the aforementioned and passing would not be an option. This would at least create a generation of voters that are more informed about the government in which they will or already pay taxes and will be influencing by way of their vote, HOPEFULLY!! Therefore, in honor of the "D of I," I have added the following with a little firework badge for patriotic emphasis.

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 shewn 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

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that
purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to
pass others to encourage their migrations 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 affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the
Civil Power.

For protecting them (British Troops), 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 benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

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, burnt our towns, and
destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to
compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with
circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most
barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

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.

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 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 to 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.

˜ John Hancock

New York:
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison,
Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George
Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean (1777)

Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

New Jersey:
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham

North Carolina:
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

P.S. There was NO 4th of July Party after signing the D. of I.
All the above Signers were British "Traitors" with huge prices on their
heads, Dead or Alive. British Troops raced to arrest Signers at their
homes, but instead arrested Wives and families. They were bound off to
London for mock Trials and long imprisonments by King George III.

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