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.I wonder, today, how many in this country still hold these truths to be self-evident? How many understand government to be created to secure certain unalienable rights? I do hold these truths as self-evident, and I too understand this to be the primary (perhaps only) purpose of government.
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 amoung 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 . . . . .
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We, therefore, the Representives 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 the 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.
Some 56 political leaders signed this Declaration of Independence and pledged "to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor." How many of our political leaders today would be able to make such a pledge with respect to the words in this Declaration? How many in the Legislative Branch of government? How many in the Executive Branch of government? How many in the Judicial Branch of government? I'm afraid I think relatively few would, today, pledge their lives and their honor (not to mention sacred honor) to the principles of government that form the foundation of this Declaration of Independence.
I'm not suggesting that many, perhaps most, would not pledge themselves to our system of government today. Certainly many would, and many have because they have served as members of our Armed Forces. Instead, I am suggesting that a great many of our leaders have a far different view of the purposes of government than did those 56 leaders who signed the Declaration of Independence.