2006-06-29 / Editorial

We hold these truths

We hold these truths

Two centuries and three decades ago Thomas Jefferson penned the words that comprise our nation's most cherished symbol of liberty.

The Declaration of Independence embodied a political philosophy that was not new to these shores. These ideals of individual liberty had been expressed by the philosophers and politicians of the day. Jefferson summarized these beliefs in eloquent language and set forth a list of grievances to justify the 13 colonies breaking ties with their mother country.

Here, we share with our readers to words that led to the formation of the United States of America:

Continental Congress 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.

"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."

The Declaration of Independence continues at length, detailing how the colonists had found life under the rule of the King of England unbearable.

This Fourth of July, 230 years after the Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence, we should renew our vigilance in safeguarding these ideals of individual liberty. Today, the words of our nation's Founding Fathers are especially important as we strive to protect our homeland against the terrors of the world. We should not sacrifice our liberty to justify security.

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