I do not believe that there is a single lawyer, politician or lobbyist who could write the Declaration of Independence today in 2014. When modern progressives, socialists, and domestic terrorists declare that they believe the founding documents of America are “living documents” they are wrong—because the quality of the minds that could contribute in the ways they propose would only diminish the meaning. It is possible that John Adams, Ben Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson were among the greatest collected minds in human history when they gathered to write the Declaration. They were as proficient philosophically as Socrates, Plato and Aristotle only all existing at the same time and without the murder of one by a society protecting itself from their intellectual advancement. When those three gathered and Jefferson wrote the founding document, a new era of philosophic endeavor had begun in the wake of war. A unique window had opened and the three of them stepped in bringing the rest of the new country with them. The results were the Declaration of Independence that was presented and edited by the Continental Congress in the following days leading up to July 4th 1776.
Congress ordered that the draft “lie on the table“. For two days Congress methodically edited Jefferson’s primary document, shortening it by a fourth, removing unnecessary wording, and improving sentence structure. Congress removed Jefferson’s assertion that Britain had forced slavery on the colonies, in order to moderate the document and appease persons in Britain who supported the Revolution. Although Jefferson wrote that Congress had “mangled” his draft version, the Declaration that was finally produced, according to his biographer John Ferling, was “the majestic document that inspired both contemporaries and posterity.”
On Monday, July 1, having tabled the draft of the declaration, Congress resolved itself into a committee of the whole, with Benjamin Harrison of Virginia presiding, and resumed debate on Lee’s resolution of independence. John Dickinson made one last effort to delay the decision, arguing that Congress should not declare independence without first securing a foreign alliance and finalizing the Articles of Confederation. John Adams gave a speech in reply to Dickinson, restating the case for an immediate declaration.
After a long day of speeches, a vote was taken. As always, each colony cast a single vote; the delegation for each colony—numbering two to seven members—voted amongst themselves to determine the colony’s vote. Pennsylvania and South Carolina voted against declaring independence. The New York delegation, lacking permission to vote for independence, abstained. Delaware cast no vote because the delegation was split between Thomas McKean (who voted yes) and George Read (who voted no). The remaining nine delegations voted in favor of independence, which meant that the resolution had been approved by the committee of the whole. The next step was for the resolution to be voted upon by the Congress itself. Edward Rutledge of South Carolina, who was opposed to Lee’s resolution but desirous of unanimity, moved that the vote be postponed until the following day.
Here is the text as it appeared after those edits:
|Introduction Asserts as a matter of Natural Law the ability of a people to assume political independence; acknowledges that the grounds for such independence must be reasonable, and therefore explicable, and ought to be explained.||In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776. The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States of America,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.|
|Preamble Outlines a general philosophy of government that justifies revolution when government harms natural rights.||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.|
|Indictment A bill of particulars documenting the king’s “repeated injuries and usurpations” of the Americans’ rights and liberties.||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 of 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 invasion from without, and convulsions within.
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 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 benefit of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring 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 states
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, 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.
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 insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured 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.Denunciation This section essentially finished the case for independence. The conditions that justified revolution have been shown.Nor have We been wanting in 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.Conclusion The signers assert that there exist conditions under which people must change their government, that the British have produced such conditions, and by necessity the colonies must throw off political ties with the British Crown and become independent states. The conclusion contains, at its core, the Lee Resolution that had been passed on July 2.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.Signatures The first and most famous signature on the engrossed copy was that of John Hancock, President of the Continental Congress. Two future presidents, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, and a father and great-grandfather of two other presidents, Benjamin Harrison, were among the signatories. Edward Rutledge (age 26), was the youngest signer, and Benjamin Franklin (age 70) was the oldest signer. The fifty-six signers of the Declaration represented the new states as follows (from north to south):
- New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton
- Massachusetts: Samuel Adams, John Adams, John Hancock, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry
- Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery
- Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott
- New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris
- New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark
- Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross
- Delaware: George Read, Caesar Rodney, Thomas McKean
- Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton
- Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton
- North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn
- South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton
- Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton
It is unlikely that there is a single mind in all of Washington D.C. who could write those sentences presently let alone put them into a contextual sentence. Clearly those same minds are not capable of participating in a “living document” which evolves over time to accommodate changing circumstances. This is the actual sad part of our history is that the intention was that each generation would produce men and women like Adams, Franklin, and Jefferson, but this has not been the case. Instead, American society has regressed into the worship of stupidity and patted themselves on the back for passing gas in the form of a “fart.”
It would be my wish that I could associate with people like these Founding Fathers, instead of the weakened people of the modern age—people unable to understand the above document let alone produce another one of equal value. What is to be respected from this period in America is that intelligence was honored and valor was a part of daily existence and it is these traits that carried America to become the greatest country on earth. It was not the “come lately” types who spent years of their academic lives getting drunk, pursuing sex, and passing gas yet expecting to build their minds into understanding the need for the Declaration of Independence. Worse yet, to even entertain the belief that they were equal to men like the authors.
The sad state of our modern times is that intelligence is attacked and stupidity is worshipped, and it is for this reason alone that no modern man should even conceive of changing a single word of the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution—because they simply are not qualified—intellectually. No modern Supreme Court Justice, no lawyer—anywhere, and no current resident of the White House are able to meet the task of intellectual aptitude required to care for the founding documents let alone amend them. They are only capable of winning elections and moving money from one pocket to another—but they are not stewards of America equal to the founders—and authors of The Declaration of Independence.
Rich Hoffman www.OVERMANWARRIOR.com