Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
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.
More beautiful words were never written. But if the gentlemen who penned our Declaration of Independence intended that “We” to refer to the nascent America as a whole, rather than to themselves only, then it’s largely fiction.
Why is it so hard to get more than one or two real Supreme Court Justices at a time? Last week, Justice Thomas gave a stirring speech, a model of a classic American. Some excerpts:
“What had given my life meaning and sense of belonging, that this country was my home, was jettisoned as old-fashioned and antiquated. … It was easy and convenient to fill that void with victimhood. … So much of my time focused intently on our racial differences and grievances, much like today.”
“As I matured, I began to see that the theories of my young adulthood were destructive and self-defeating. … I had rejected my country, my birthright as a citizen, and I had nothing to show for it.”
I see a sailboat. It’s a little more than two hundred years old, and once a glorious beauty … now a dimming glow emanating from her sails. She carries on, slightly self-conscious and wavering in her confidence, but still clearing the higher waves. Recovery is now rockier than it once was, the sound of moaning […]
No Independence Day is complete without at least reading the opening words of the document that is the basis of our Holiday. And one more thing from 1852.
Happy Independence Day. We have some celebrating to do. As for my family, we’re headed to George Washington’s Mount Vernon today, July 4th, which has an array of fabulous activities planned.
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. What if you don’t believe in a Creator? Or that He has created us all equal? Or that we have […]
Happy Independence Day. Or, from Britain’s perspective, Happy Treason Day, you ungrateful colonials.
One good habit on this anniversary of our Independence is to read the actual Declaration by the Second Continental Congress, agreed to on July 2nd but announced a couple of days later. It’s not a lengthy document but is the “why” behind the “how” of the Constitution, ratified some 13 years later after our war for Independence, which I’m reminded of every time I pass by the Brandywine River a few miles west of our home.
But I suggest reading two more documents by the American patriot, Thomas Paine, who is perhaps the most interesting of our nation’s founders. British born, he came to America in 1774, and a year later, wrote the document — a pamphlet — “Common Sense” that makes the case for American independence. It’s a bit longer than the Constitution, but worth your time.
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…
Among these. A government that doesn’t secure for its citizens the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is illegitimate. Ol’ Tommy J. was specific about that point when he penned the Declaration. But he implies the existence of others. Heck, he does more than imply it; let me quote from further down the Declaration, in the list of complaints:
“The Declaration of Independence is not only an American document. It follows on Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights as the third great title-deed on which the liberties of the English-speaking people are founded. By it we lost an Empire, but by it we also preserved an Empire. By applying its principles and learning its lesson we have maintained our communion with the powerful Commonwealths our children have established beyond the seas…We therefore join in perfect sincerity and simplicity with our American kith and kin in celebrating the auspicious and glorious anniversary of their nationhood.” – Winston Churchill, July 4, 1918
His words are just as true today as when he said them 101 years and two days ago. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution may now seem as if they are under siege, but the were under siege by those who hate liberty when they were written and have remained under siege ever since.
Just where does an American-based corporation and their rich, male, former jock, brand representative get off imposing history over the narrative of a woman? I had thought we were past powerful privileged men silencing, dismissing, and trivializing herstory. Yet here we are, with another patriarchal pack mansplaining a woman’s original work. The corporate leadership of Nike, following the lead of Colin Kaepernick, have branded Betsy Ross’s original flag design a white supremacist symbol.
Leftist propaganda organs have amplified this slander, claiming white supremacist groups use the original flag design to signify rejecting the post-Civil War constitutional amendments. The left’s real objection, of course, is to the actual history, the Declaration of Independence that they despise, assigning to it the same strained and stained meaning claimed by the black-robed bigot, Chief (In)Justice Taney in the fraudulent Dred Scott decision. Instead of supporting herstory, and taking back a woman’s original creative work from some knuckle-dragging mouth-breathers, the leftist elite privileged this attack on women, thus banishing a woman’s art as shameful.
All people of good will should push back, rejecting such a shameful assault on a woman’s work and her important place in America’s story. Reject Nike’s leftist hate. True history must include her story. Fly the Betsy Ross flag with pride, as President Obama did at both of his inaugural ceremonies, as did his predecessors and successor. See the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. See, also, the New York Times on President Obama’s 2013 inauguration:
Amid the usual dishonest, dissembling, distracting propaganda about President Trump’s plan to address the nation from the Lincoln Memorial on Independence Day, the Washington Post let slip that another president spoke from the National Mall on the same occasion. President Truman, a Democrat, mind you, spoke from the Washington Monument on July 4, 1951! So, […]
Once again I’m looking at the Declaration. In the PowerPoint version of the Declaration, this would be one of the bullet points on the “We hold these truths to be self-evident” slide:
That to secure these rights Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,
The title comes from the Declaration of Independence. Third on the list of grievances, Ol’ Tommy J. has this to say:
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.
On August 2, 1776, 242 years ago today, the parchment manuscript generally thought of as the original “Declaration of Independence” was signed by most of its 56 final signatories. First in line was the President of the Second Continental Congress, one John Hancock, who signed his name larger than anyone else, and, after doing so, is reputed to have proclaimed our quote of the day, something very similar to: “There! King George and his ministry can read that without spectacles! They can double the price on my head now.”
In fact, these men were not signing the original Declaration of Independence. That one, known as the “fair copy,” was assembled by Thomas Jefferson from earlier drafts, and it was signed by John Hancock alone, on July 4, 1776. It was sent off so copies could be printed, and then lost, perhaps in the printing process itself. Subsequently, approximately 200 broadside copies of the Declaration were printed, with Hancock’s name included in printed form only.
In honor of Independence Day, for this week’s Big Ideas with Ben Weingarten podcast I take a deep dive into the Declaration of Independence, discussing:
- Its unique place in human history and the cause of freedom
- The link between natural law and natural rights, faith and freedom
- The Founders’ emphasis on virtue and morality to sustain a free system of limited government
- Parallels between the charges laid out against King George III in the Declaration and modern America from the administrative state to sanctuary cities
- The Founders’ views on slavery, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass and failing to live up to the values and principles of the Declaration
- The imperative to defend liberty against tyranny
- And much more
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.
Something to ponder and share this Independence Day. Preview Open
As Independence Day 2018 approaches, Hal Lindsay quoted conservative commentator and Ricochet contributor Molly Hemingway last week as follows: “Molly Hemingway made an interesting observation yesterday. She noted that two days ago, the Left was in complete outrage that children were being “ripped away from their parents” at the border. Around mid-afternoon yesterday, Justice Anthony […]
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 rights are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just power from the consent of the […]
“Since well before 1787, liberty has been understood as freedom from government action, not entitlement to government benefits.” — Justice Clarence Thomas, dissenting opinion Obergefell v. Hodges 2015
On July 4, 1776, the final language of the formal Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress. The official vote for independence from Great Britain had taken place two days earlier, so it is somewhat confusing that the 4th has become known as Independence Day. To my mind, July 2nd should be Independence Day, but July 4th would be better understood as Liberty Day, a celebration of the most concise and complete explanation of liberty published before or since, anywhere on the globe.
Both the document and the actions produced by the Continental Congress in the summer of ’76 were turning points in the history of mankind that had taken thousands of years to reach. It is a common suggestion at this time of year to sit down and read the Declaration of Independence, individually or as a family, to remember the day beyond the standard family BBQ. But reading without understanding it is to miss the point, and treating the Declaration as something that fell out of the air — or Thomas Jefferson’s head — is to miss the thousands of years of thought, failed experiments, hopes, bloody struggles, and of progress measured in inches and human lives that preceded it.