Diary

Our "Duty" Stated in the Declaration of Independence

As the snow falls today, I think of General George Washington and his men who persevered the most horrid weather conditions to secure this country’s liberty. You see, I live in an area where the battles were fought and fearless, good men died–and even running everyday errands is a reminder of the American Revolution. Sure, each state has its history, especially down in the South, but the reminders I see daily–even in my backyard where a lone white sycamore tree marked the water for our Revolutionary soldiers–affect me in ways I never thought they could.

I began reading the Declaration of Independence–again. But this time, I am looking for direction and guidance from our Founding Fathers. As I read:

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.

For if we the people were to write this document today, it would not look much different, would it?

The Founders have given the American people all of the information they need. To underscore:
“Deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed” — The consent of the governed is the will of the people.

“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.” — IT IS THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE. Our Founders knew liberty would always be under attack, thus they gave us the ultimate authority to abolish a future oppressive government.

Moreover, the most important directive, yes directive, in the Declaration of Independence is:

“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.” — It is not only our right to throw off a single-authority, oppressive government, it is our DUTY. A duty is not optional. As Americans, it is our obligation to secure the means for a life of continued liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Our fearless Founding Fathers, gave the people all of the power and authority. How shall we use it? Shall we listen to our “Fathers” and stand up fearless as they did?

These are not my words, nor directives. They are the Founding Fathers’ directives in spelling out our rightful duties as Americans.