The American Heritage Project Update:
July 4th. Happy birthday, America! Two hundred and thirty-five consecutive birthdays celebrating freedom from tyranny. Today we celebrate the first reading of the document which birthed our country, the Declaration of Independence. The first pitched battles of the revolution were already been fought! The country’s mood was somber and the Colonists were worried. The Continental Congress adopted John Dickinson’s Olive Branch Petition in 1775 and sent this document to King George by Richard Penn. The King refused to see Penn and accept the Petition. This was about a year before the Declaration. In between the two was Thomas Paine’s Common Sense. The most important difference between the two documents is that the Olive Branch Petition refers to the Colonists as subjects of the King and citizens of England. Common Sense repudiated both. Common Sense is the document that fired up the Colonists and help them to realize that King George was no longer their benefactor but their enemy, no longer a father but a dictator. Common Sense is the philosophical and philological transition between the Olive Branch Petition and the Declaration. The Olive Branch Petition appealed to King George to cease hostilities against the British citizens of the Colonies. Common Sense describe King George as a tyrant and the Colonists as non-English citizens. The Declaration of Independence declares a complete national break with England. The Declaration of Independence is the founding document of America, our birth certificate as it were, declaring our complete and utter separation from tyranny as a baby is separated from the mother by cutting the umbilical cord. In actually, there is no greater document than the Declaration of Independence for without it there would be no Constitution. So, let me take a few minutes of your time to share with you some important information about the Declaration of Independence.
The Declaration is a timeless document which can never become impotent. Tyranny is an all pervasive threat. A few among us remember the experience of World War Two while the rest must rely on historical accounts. Der Fuhrer was a brilliant, maniacal dictator bent upon imposing Aryan philosophy on the world through force. He almost succeeded thanks to fools like Chamberlain and his idiotic phrase about peace in our time. The peoples of the free world rallied together and with tremendous sacrifice overwhelming defeated the Axis! But the death of Fascism merely left a void that was filled, as all voids are, by another wannbe dictator, Joseph Stalin. Stalin took advantage of the wary, war-weary Allies, a powerful military force and a defeated foe to gobble up more than one quarter of the world. But, again, the free peoples of the world banded together and with great sacrifice withstood the United Soviet Socialists Republics until her collapse in 1991. That void today is, as you read this message, being filled by the fascism of Islam. King George was the Hitler or Stalin of the 1700s. It has been speculated that King George suffered from some neurological issues nevertheless, the Parliament, which did not, certainly took advantage of the situation. They declared the Colonists were no longer English citizens, could not use English courts for their grievances and were in fact, slaves of the Empire. Two-thirds of the Declaration of Independence lists, as religious and civic law then demanded, the evidence that King George was tyrannical because he was attempting to strip the Colonists of their unalienable rights. What the Declaration documents is the sine non qua of every tyrant, no matter the tyrant, from Caesar to Hitler to Stalin to Obama! Each tyrant wants to strip away the peoples’ unalienable rights and place in their stead human rights as defined by the tyrant. Since this is the sine non qua of every tyrant and there is always an tyrant on the horizon, just wanting to fill some void, then the principles of the Declaration will live forever.
The Declaration of Independence is one of two documents that make up the law of the land. The Declaration is a political document for it declares all political ties between the Colonies and England to be cut. The Declaration is a legal document for it lays out in legal terminology as demanded in that day the legal basis for unalienable rights, changing the governmental structure and King George’s tyranny. Interesting, most of the scholars who research the Declaration fail to connect the dots between the philosophical basis of the Declaration’s language and the Christian law tradition exemplified by Judge Blackstone, John Locke, Cooke, Hooker, Calvin and others. In fact, they seem to go to great extremes to obscure these dots imposing their own dots trying to connect the Declaration’s language to that of the Romans and Greeks. The Declaration, so they declare, is a secular document. Not! In addition, the Declaration is a human document for it lays out the basis of all human freedom. The Declaration’s basis of human rights is not human rights as constructed by groups like the U.N. but rather the unalienable rights bestowed upon us by our Creator. This Creator is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. I was told once by a Skeptic that the term Creator could refer to any deity. Foolishness. The only possible way to make the term Creator mean anything other than the God of the Bible is rip the Declaration from its historical moorings. By either creation or fiat God has endowed us with certain rights which we cannot give away, because they are not our’s, nor can they be taken because they are God’s. The only possible way that any human can limit these unalienable rights to take away our “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.” But is the Declaration the law of the land? Absolutely. Most if not all Skeptics claim otherwise but I have yet to read a single objection to this view that provides any substantial evidence. Instead these writings are filled with verbose claiming, hoping, that the Declaration does not legal standing and has no real connection to the Constitution. The Declaration has been declared a Constitutional document in one of the Slaughter-House Cases (1884) and Gray v. Sanders (1963). Justice Thomas argues that the only way to understand the Constitution originally is to understand the Declaration of Independence. (http://www.ashbrook.org/publicat/onprin/v6n6/sikkenga.html) This is a great read. In other words, Thomas believes that to correctly interpret the Constitution and to understand it’s original intent we must understand “the laws of nature and of nature’s God.” Fascinating. I am sure you can hear the Progressives’ howls of laughter, taunts and the unspeakable adjectives hurled at this brilliant Jurist. The Declaration provides the only real lens by which to correctly interpret the Constitution. This means that the document of Original Intent has it roots in the natural law of Judeo-Christian principles. The connection makes the Declaration a Constitutional document and therefore, part of the law of the land. Here, then, are some ways to think about the Declaration.
The Declaration is the declaration of our new sovereignty while the Constitution is the structure of this new sovereignty.
The Declaration is the Charter while the Constitution is the by-laws.
The Declaration is the moral lens of interpretation while the Constitution is the document which is to be interpreted.
The Declaration of Independence’s principles stem from Judeo-Christian principles, alone. The committee who designed the Declaration, designed within the Charter that America, therefore, the Constitution, is founded upon a particular form of epistemology. So many people have wasted hundreds of gallons of ink as well as millions of man-hours proving that the Founders’ epistemology is Deistic and secular. It can’t be done! Why?
The phrase “laws of nature and nature’s God” historically stretches back hundreds of years from Jefferson’s pen to the writings of Locke, Blackstone, Coke, Aquinas and the Apostle Paul. The phrase “laws of nature” refers to the natural law (Law of the heart) which God placed into mankind. The “laws of…nature’s God” refers to the Scripture. The two are different sides of the same coin. These two phrases cannot be traced back to the Romans or the Greeks! The Declaration committee made sure that the Bible would legally be a part of the American system. This explains the the Secularist’s unyielding, undying, inexhaustible obsession to rewrite history, invent meanings that did not at the time exist and put words, ideas and thoughts into the Founders’ mouths impossible for them to have at the time.
The term “self-evident” is a term which believers have used since about the Eight Century and became prominent around the Twelfth century in theological discussions. In actually, the term is found in Romans 2 of the Bible. Self-evident refers to knowledge (first principles) which are self-evidently known because God has placed this information in our hearts to guide us. Natural Law. The term is never used by the Greeks, Romans, Epicureans or Stoics. The term for law the Stoics used when they did mention this phrase was not the term they used normally for self-evident.
The Declaration mentions Creator and Supreme Judge throughout. The Declaration’s Creator is the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob who is the Father of our Lord Jesus! The Greeks and Romans did not have a deity who actually created for the pagan world from Jefferson past the Romans back to the Classical Greeks believed in a childish form of evolution. The founders did not!
The Declaration of Independence is our nation’s document of freedom, not the Constitution. In the first National Treasure Nicolas Cage who is playing Benjamin Franklin Gates is in the process of deciding whether he will or will not steal the Declaration to keep it out the hands of the actor Sean Bean who is his archenemy. Cage and Justin Bartha (Riley Poole) are looking at the Declaration when Cage quotes, “Of all the ideas that became the United States there is a line here that is at the heart of all the others, 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.” This phrase is one of the reasons Progressives do not want We The People to realize that the Declaration is part of the law of the land. Combine the Declaration and the second amendment and you have both the legal precedent and ability to protect yourself from a rogue government. There is one difference between the Declaration and Constitution, which I have mentioned already, that we often do not think about. The Declaration declares all men are free from tyranny. The Constitution does not free people instead it chains people as Thomas Jefferson so eloquently stated. The Declaration references all peoples. The Constitution is directed against a minority. The Declaration is concerned with humanity. The Constitution is concerned with elected officials (yes, they are human). The Declaration covers every human. The Constitution is concerned with only a few. It is possible that someone might argue that if the Constitution restricts the government the restriction provides for us freedom. Maybe. But think of it this way. The people were already free prior to the Constitution under the Articles of Confederation. The Declaration of Independence was and has not been replaced while the Constitution replaced the impotent Articles. The people who penned the Constitution were already free and the Constitution was created to limit the power of the few elected officials who were to represent the States and populace. The Constitution therefore, does not provide freedom rather it is to provide limitations. What happens if the elected officials become tyrants by definition? The declaration gives the American people the legal right as free peoples to change the government by force if necessary. There are a lot of Patriots who do not want to accept, refuse even, the original meaning of the Declaration and the Second and Fourteenth amendments. Of course, the Declaration clearly states that governments are not to be changed in this sense for light and transient reasons. Agreed. Nevertheless, it is the legal right, the legal duty of every free American to be willing to stand side-by-side and oppose a tyrant or tyrannical government. This is what free expects! Demands!
The Declaration of Independence and Constitution are not documents of equal importance. The Declaration is of greater importance because (1) it is the founding document of our nation, (2) it provides the moral basis of this nation and (3) it is the mother of the Constitution. This is not to degrade the importance and power of the Constitution but merely, to put the two into the right perspective.
Happy birthday! Here’s to many more! For God, Freedom and Country.