What Many Of Us Don’t Know About Our Declaration of Independence

richard henry leeOn July 2, 1776, The Lee Resolution (also known as “The Resolution for Independence”) was passed by the Second Continental Congress.  It formally declared our independence from Great Britain, King George III and his tyrannical reign over the colonies, and basically established our new country, which came to be known as the United States of America.
Richard Henry Lee, a delegate from Virginia, submitted the resolution on June 7, however, some delegates were committed to follow earlier instructions regarding reconciliation with Britain. Due to this, on June 11, the Lee Resolution was postponed by a vote of seven colonies to five, with New York abstaining.
They did, however, form the “Committee of Five” to prepare an actual declaration of independence in case it should pass when voted upon.  John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Robert R. Livingston and Roger Sherman were appointed to that committee. Congress then recessed for 3 weeks.
Upon the completion of writing the declaration, and the end of the recess, it was brought to the floor of Congress. On July 1, following the weekend recess, the delegates began to discuss and debate its content, eliminating approximately twenty-five percent of the original text. The next day the Lee Resolution declaring the establishment of a new country was adopted by 12 of the 13 colonies, with New York not voting.
Committee_of_Five,_1776On July 4, 1776, Congress approved what was called the Declaration of Independence and then directed the Committee of Five to oversee the printing of the adopted document. The next day copies were distributed to key places and people throughout the Colonies where the text was followed by the words: “Signed by Order and in Behalf of the Congress, John Hancock, President. Attest. Charles Thomson, Secretary.”
On July 9 New York officially approved it, making it unanimous.  Therefore, on July 19 Congress ordered that the Declaration of Independence be “fairly engrossed on parchment, with the title and stile [sic] of ‘The unanimous declaration of the thirteen United States of America,’ and that the same, when engrossed, be signed by every member of Congress.”
Signing was to occur on August 2, 1776, but all were not present on that date.  And two New York delegates did not sign; John Dickinson, who still wanted reconciliation, and Livingston, who felt it premature.
signing-of-declaration-independenceEventually, 56 delegates did sign the document, representing Connecticut (4), Delaware (3), Georgia (3), Maryland (4), Massachusetts Bay (5), New Hampshire (3), New Jersey (5), New York (4), North Carolina (3), Pennsylvania (9), Rhode Island (2), South Carolina (4) and Virginia (7).
It begins: 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.
It goes into great detail justifying the independence by the then-Colonies listing a total of 27 of the most noted grievances against King George III.  The Declaration also asserts certain unalienable natural, and other legal rights, which also includes the right of revolution.
Their resolve was cast in stone, as it ends with this sentence: 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.
In the end: nine signers died of wounds during the Revolutionary War; five were captured or imprisoned; wives, and children were killed, jailed, mistreated, or left penniless; twelve signers’ homes were burned to the ground; and, seventeen lost everything they owned.
Their honor remained intact – not one signer defected, they fought to the end. To victory.  To a new independent and free nation.
Thomas JeffersonAs the person who had written the bulk of the words, Jefferson became known as “the Principal Author of the Declaration of Independence.”  The original draft written by Jefferson is carefully preserved at our United States Library of Congress.  It is his complete original, which includes revisions that were made by Adams and Franklin, along with the author’s own notes of the changes that were made by Congress during debate.
The version that is most identified and regularly referred to as the original of the Declaration is the signed copy on permanent display at our National Archives, in Washington, D.C.
The Declaration of Independence is, indeed, one of the most treasured documents ever written.
Happy Independence Day, America!!!

The Origins and Anniversary of our Bill of Rights

BillOfRightsContrary to what some seem to think or believe today, the Bill of Rights is not a Bill of Needs.

On September 17, 1787 our Founding Fathers created the Constitution of the United States.  It then had to go through a ratification, or approval, process in each state.  Nine states were required to approve the document for it to become official for the country.  In the end, all of them did.

However, there was a slight problem.

The Constitution, as written, laid out the foundations for the federal government fairly well but there were no guarantees, nor even a mention, of state or individual rights, that for which they all fought during the American Revolution.

In contrast, the previous semi-governing document, the Articles of Confederation (the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union), which was ratified on March 1, 1781, at least contained language to preserve the independence and sovereignty of the states.

anti-federalistsLed by people such as Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, Samuel Adams and George Mason, the Anti-Federalists (as they came to be know) believed that the Constitution needed a Bill of Rights; that it created a presidency so powerful it might be turned into a tyrannical monarchy; that the document did not do enough with the courts with the result being an out-of-control judiciary; and, that the federal government would be unresponsive to the needs of the states and the people.

A war of words ensued.

The Federalists, led by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay, wished to leave the Constitution alone.  They did not feel that any type of Bill of Rights was needed.

Madison wrote, “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.”

Federalist-PapersHowever, they were not spelled out nor guaranteed in any way, thus leaving open the possibility for their encroachment.

Written guarantees won out.  On December 15, 1791, the Bill of Rights was ratified.

What exactly was the purpose of these 10 amendments?

The Bill of Rights added specific guarantees of personal freedoms and rights.

It does NOT grant us those rights.

It guarantees them.

If you recall, from the Declaration of Independence, our Founders believed in our unalienable rights, not man- or government-granted, but given to us by our Creator.

“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.”

The Bill of Rights also defined, more clearly, limitations on government power in judicial and other proceedings. And, one other huge point, that all powers not specifically delegated to Congress are reserved for the states or the people.

Today, let us thank our Founding Fathers for the foresight and wisdom they had in providing these documents but also pray that those elected representatives who took an Oath to support and defend the Constitution start doing so.  In all areas and at all times.  Not just when it is convenient for their political agenda.

But, also keep in mind that we have lost some rights.  Some have been, otherwise limited.

JeffersonIt is up to each and every one of us to demand that our elected representatives are reminded of this truth, as written by Thomas Jefferson:
“Our legislators are not sufficiently apprized of the rightful limits of their power; that their true office is to declare and enforce only our natural rights and duties, and to take none of them from us.”

Ensure that you and your family know your rights.  Only then can you protect them.

There are many paths to educate yourself and your family. Learn the basics by watching the award-winning In Search of Liberty Constitution movie, and then, for in-depth study, enroll in a Constitution Boot Camp from Building Blocks for Liberty or join KrisAnne Hall’s Liberty First University.

Staying true to our US Constitution we can safeguard freedom in America for ourselves and our posterity.

We the People - Scott D Welch

 

by Scott D. Welch, Patriot
Direct descendant of 8 Americans who fought in the Revolutionary War
Cousin of Patrick Henry

Click for a printable copy of the Bill of Rights.

Betsy Ross - G Washington - God Bless

 

Happy 240th America – July 4th Tribute

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. — 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.

Independence Hall
South facade of Independence Hall, Philadelphia, PA

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 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 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, 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.

Declaration of Independence & George Washington
Declaration of Independence & George Washington in front of Independence Hall, Philadelphia, PA

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 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 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.

[The document was signed by 56 delegates from the 13 Colonies.]

It would be wise for all Americans to reflect upon the Founding Fathers and what they and so many people, then and since, have fought to bring about and defend. Freedom unlike any nation before has achieved for its citizens but now in danger of losing those very freedoms, slowly but surely, through the arrogant actions of career politicians who answer to their donors and not to the people of the land – those very same public servants who serve themselves, not the public.

Over For Now.

Main Street One

Independence Day 2013 – Happy Birthday America

Happy Birthday America, July 4, 2013.

Independence Hall - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Independence Hall – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson – Principal Author of The Declaration of Independence
George Washington
George Washington and The Declaration of Independence
Liberty bell
The Liberty Bell

Over For Now.

Main Street One