Lacey Smith

Freedom Fridays: The Declaration of Independence, a key to our freedom

In Uncategorized on May 27, 2011 at 3:43 pm

America’s freedoms were purchased through the time, treasure and blood of early Americans. These were people who believed in what they were fighting for, both on the battlefield and in the Congresses and Conventions that followed.

Although many of those who signed the Declaration of Independence were not immediately involved in the Constitutional Convention, many of them were influential in ratifying the Constitution.

Knowing the Declaration of Independence is key to understanding the rights laid out and guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States.

This document is as much a currently applicable statement of the purpose of government, the limits that government and the reasonable expectation that government will fulfill these obligations or be dissolved as it is a list of injuries committed by a king over 300 years ago.

The Declaration of Independence states the following about rights and government (emphasis added):

“…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…”

To me, that is the clearest of all statements of the ideology of the American founders.

While it is true that only a few of those who signed the Declaration of Independence also signed the Constitution, the most peripheral understanding of early American history allows us to recognize that signing the documents was only a single step in a process that involved many of the same players throughout.

For example, George Washington did not sign the Declaration of Independence. However, is there any doubt he believed in it? He was leading the Continental Army at the time the Declaration was put together. He is not alone.

Some will tell you that the Declaration is nice but not American law. These people want to dilute the value of this document as part of the American government.

Many of the early state constitutions included the ideas of the Declaration. The U.S. Code references the Declaration. And many Supreme Court case opinions also directly mention the Declaration of Independence.

It is completely illogical to believe that those who first fought for America based on the ideas of the Declaration of Independence and then served in the government set forth by the Constitution discarded the Declaration because there was something new.

These two documents are absolutely connected. When we read the Constitution through the filter of the Declaration of Independence we understand our rights better.

Our government was instituted to protect our rights. If the government does not protect our rights, among these life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, it is our right to alter or abolish it. We “…are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent…” people.

That is the ideology that the Constitution was based on. This is the foundation of our freedom.

Read the text of the Declaration of Independence on my page here:

And here are two links I used in studying this topic:
DoI Part of American Law
DoI: A Constitutional Document


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