Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th of July - #4017 - Why the Enduring Legacy of the Declaration of Independence Still Matters 236 Years Later - Heritage Foundation

While the Declaration of Independence formally declared our independence from Great Britain, it accomplished so much more. Its unique combination of general principles and government theory has resulted in an enduring nation. With Independence Day just around the corner, it is important to be reminded of our Founding Fathers’ foresight and why the Declaration’s principles matter 236 years later. The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,” drafted by Thomas Jefferson, was unanimously approved on July 4, 1776 by the Continental Congress. In the second paragraph, the Declaration spells out the fundamental principles of American government:.....The term “self-evident” is used to describe the previously mentioned rights because they represent acknowledged and affirmed liberties inherent in human nature. Understanding the meaning of equality is essential, as it is the premise upon which the “self-evident” truths are understood. This notion of equality does not ensure equality of ability, nor does it demand a communistic equality of results or condition. Despite our differences, there exists a fundamental human truth: no one is born to rule or be ruled. This understanding equality requires legitimate government to be based on “the consent of the governed.” Government exists to defend our rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Our right to life ensures that no one can lawfully threaten the life of another. Our right to liberty guarantees freedom from political coercion. Happiness, explains The Heritage Foundation’s analysis of the Declaration, ”is not about self-satisfaction or stupefied pleasure but rather a life lived to its full potential—human flourishing.  Read more........

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