Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Independence Day!

ca. 1786-1819 --- by John Trumbull


This from a Declaration of Independence website:
Drafted by Thomas Jefferson between June 11 and June 28, 1776, the Declaration of Independence is at once the nation's most cherished symbol of liberty and Jefferson's most enduring monument. Here, in exalted and unforgettable phrases, Jefferson expressed the convictions in the minds and hearts of the American people. The political philosophy of the Declaration was not new; its ideals of individual liberty had already been expressed by John Locke and the Continental philosophers. What Jefferson did was to summarize this philosophy in "self-evident truths" and set forth a list of grievances against the King in order to justify before the world the breaking of ties between the colonies and the mother country.
“Under the law of nature, all men are born free, every one comes into the world with a right to his own person, which includes the liberty of moving and using it at his own will. This is what is called personal liberty, and is given him by the Author” - Thomas Jefferson

There are some more great quotes about Jefferson's thoughts regarding liberty at the Mises website.

Make it a tradition and read the Declaration of Independence to your family today:

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.

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.

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.

— John Hancock

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts:
John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, 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:
Caesar Rodney, George Read, 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

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Here are some facts from ushistory.org

Finally - From last year's post - Would YOU have signed the Declaration of Independence?

Enjoy the day, and dedicate yourself this year to help in efforts aimed at protecting our liberty and freedom which seem to be slipping away. It is just too important for us to allow the Congress, the Courts, and the Executive Branch to usurp our rights. Consider joining efforts like the Campaign For Liberty, or similar movements that support the Constitution and our Constitutional rights.



2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have long been a critic of the state’s co-option of holidays to serve governmental purposes, thus negating the messages these holidays originally served. July 4th – designed to celebrate independence from the state – has been refashioned as a holiday for revelling in the state’s favorite activity, war. Television treats us to a seemingly endless supply of John Wayne films, urging us to embrace the contradictory idea that submitting ourselves to increased state power is the way to promote our liberty! It is such twisted thinking that leads those who refuse to examine the content of their minds to bleat about the soldiers who "fight for our freedom." What nonsense. Shall we next be told that Sunset Boulevard hookers are peddling virtue?

Just how far we have contorted our thinking about "independence day" is reflected in most people’s thinking about fireworks. Like private gun-ownership, our personal use of fireworks represents too much power in the hands of individuals. And so, we confine ourselves to the absurdity of having the state celebrate our liberty and independence for us!

Memorial Day is another holiday corrupted by statism. Originally begun as a day for remembering the dead – particularly those who had died in war – it, too, has been twisted into a day for celebrating – not condemning – warfare. Back to the film files for more John Wayne flicks. Like his neocon successors who never heard a gunshot fired in anger, Wayne remains a hero to the statists for having bravely and selflessly defended the back-lot of Republic Pictures during World War II.

The November 11th Armistice Day holiday of my childhood – which celebrated the end of a war – has metamorphosed into Veterans Day, with thousands of war veterans donning their American Legion caps or U.S.S. Missouri baseball caps to praise the war system, rather than its albeit temporary cessation. More John Wayne celluloid makes it to the television screens. In such fictionalized accounts, young and impressionable minds learn the righteousness not only of obedience to authority, but of throwing oneself upon a live hand grenade.

And for what could we be more thankful on that fourth Thursday in November than living in a nation ruled by an all-powerful state that protects us from the savage hordes menacing us from such lands as Grenada, Afghanistan, Libya, Panama, Iraq, or any other enemy-of-the-month selected by establishment rulers? Nor does New Year’s Day go unused by the state, it being the date on which most of the new regulations on our lives take effect, as well as the beginning of a new tax year.

Even Christmas – the day, not that many decades ago, that was virtually synonymous with "peace" – has given rise to Christmas cards depicting flag-draped Santa Clauses, and homes decorated in red, white, and blue lights. And as children unwrap their "G.I. Joe" toys or their warrior-based computer games, the ballad "Onward Christian Soldiers" may be heard on a local radio station.

Even as modernly practiced, there is one nice thing about national holidays: they provide a day off work for government employees. With this thought in mind, I propose a further expansion of such holidays, to the end that all 365 days of the year be taken up in honoring someone, or some event, or some group of people who should be accorded the same recognition as those now favored. I have a few samples to get our thinking started.

When a holiday for Martin Luther King was first being considered, I suggested other renowned blacks as more suitable honorees, Frederick Douglass being my choice. If there was an insistence upon selecting a more recent candidate, I would have preferred Malcolm X, who – particularly near the end of his life – saw the deeper basis of social conflict than the simplistic "black-versus-white" model upon which most of us have settled, and which is becoming a focal point in this year’s presidential campaign. So, indulge my thinking for the purpose of having additional national holidays for Douglass and Malcolm.

In this age of hyphenated ego-boundary identities, religious, ethnic, and nationality groups could take up the cause for honoring their specific associations. The Christians and Jews already have their holidays (a word which, itself, stems from "holy days") recognized. But what about Muslims, Buddhists, Shintoists, Hindus, and the many other religions that are not recognized with a holiday? At a time when politicians like to talk about diversity, why are the members of these religions left out? And what about atheists? Shouldn’t Madalyn Murray O’Hair’s birthday also be recognized, as a confirmation of the non-establishment clause of the 1st Amendment?

Just imagine what could be done to shrink governmental behavior by recognizing nationality groups for a national holiday? Lithuanian Day, Cinco de Mayo, Norwegian Day, Kenya Day, Thailand Day, . . . on and on to encompass all nationalities as well as sub-nationalities (e.g., not just Iraq Day, but Shiite Day, Sunni Day, etc.). Yugoslavia – which has since decentralized into five separate nations – and Czechoslovakia – which has fragmented into the Czech Republic and Slovakia – could multiply the numbers, just as the collapse of the Soviet Union has breathed new life into a great many independent nations.

And why have we limited America’s presidential nominees to a single President’s Day? How about a day to honor each of them? My favorite – and the only one I would choose to honor – would be William Henry Harrison, a man who caught pneumonia on inauguration day and died a month later! Grover Cleveland would probably be entitled to two such days, his having served two non-consecutive terms.

You get the picture. Occupations, genders, lifestyles, belief systems, etc., etc., could each be recognized. Instead of a generic "Labor Day," what about a day recognizing farmers, who produce the food that sustains us? Furthermore, what about a day to honor those whose work is far more central to our well-being than rock stars and athletes, namely, those who dispose of the entropic wastes of our world (e.g., garbage and trash collectors, undertakers, and plumbers)? Such people – along with farmers – do the work many of us despise and yet, without their efforts, we would be inundated in waste (have you ever lived in New York City during a garbage-collectors’ strike?).

Let us have a paid holiday for everyone, in honor of all these e pluribus unum groups we like to imagine have created America. If all 365 days could be filled up, this would mean that all government employees would continue to get paid: they just wouldn’t show up for work to do anything. The benefit of paying such people to stay out of our way would be a wonderful first step toward a total dismantling of the state. We would still be stuck with paying their salaries but, on the other hand, we would have put an end to their ceaseless meddling. Enough of these people might become so bored with having no work to perform, they might quit their government jobs and go into the marketplace with the rest of us! To paraphrase an old Vietnam War saying, "what if they created a government, but nobody came?"

July 4, 2008

http://www.lewrockwell.com/shaffer/shaffer178.html

Irdial said...

This one is for you Judy:

Don Harrold on the 4th of July

We WILL restore America!