From the Final Draft of The Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776
“We hold these truths to be [sacred and undeniable] self-evident, that all men are created equal and independent; that from that equal creation they derive in rights inherent and inalienable, among which are the preservation of life, and liberty and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these ends, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government shall become 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 it’s powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.”
“We hold these truths to be [sacred and undeniable] self-evident”
‘Sacred and Undeniable’ was taken out of Jefferson’s draft and self-evident replaced them. However, this foundation of our republic; stated that this is “truth”, that it is evident on its own merit, undeniable. These Truths are not only sacred due to who this “truth” is granted or derived from, the creator. But, these truths are self-evident, a natural law, an obvious truth.
“that all men are created equal and independent; from that equal creation, they derive rights both inherent and inalienable”
ALL men are created equal and independent. All men, (of course women did not have certain rights at this time and slavery existed in the colonies.) Yet these facts do not nullify the TRUTH. Only that it was not being fully recognized and attributed to all whom were entitled, as the results and consequences of this TRUTH, that is “SELF-EVIDENT”, (Sacred and Undeniable also?).
Yet we understand it to mean today that ALL PERSONS ARE CREATED EQUAL AND INDEPENDENT. And, due to this “equal creation”, (this being the applied standard), they derive rights that are inherent (from this equal creation) and inalienable. (synonyms for inalienable for clarity are; unchallengeable, absolute, immutable, unassailable, incontrovertible.)
What are these rights ALL PEOPLE are entitled to? – “among which are the preservation of life, and liberty and the pursuit of happiness”.
Are ALL PEOPLE: only Americans? Are ALL PEOPLE: only the middle class and upper middle class Americans? Are these only those who have these inherent and inalienable; unchallengeable, absolute, immutable, unassailable, incontrovertible RIGHTS? Of course, not, it would defy all logic and possible understanding of what they were saying. Of course, this document was in the context of an explanation and justification of the Americas independence from England and the King of England.
Thus, just as the writer’s blindside was women’s rights and slavery, today we who hold these documents to remain “inalienable” our blindside is the exclusivity of only the American people and only the more affluent of these. In both cases the past and present interpretation and motivation, was the cultural norm. First in America, and today in the world community of nations.
Our nation was founded on these principles, they were great, bold, and cutting edge thought of the day, because men believed they could make it a reality. This was foreign to the common world view at the time, that all people have undeniable rights. Yes, it was expressed by many ancient philosophers, but one man or group of men do not transform a world by words alone. This was revolutionary thought of the day and did produce one revolution after another.
It is time for Americans to look beyond the prevailing winds of culture, our own and the worlds, and again be a “City on a Hill”, shining for all peoples. To understand that persons in the ghettos of Los Angeles and the alleys of Libya all are entitled to; “the preservation of life, and liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” And let it be our guiding belief, our policy, engaged by our national leadership in changing the world once more.
Is this “pie in the sky” and as John Lennon said; “some believe we are dreamers”? Yes and no. The changes that brought about America’s Independence, the emancipation of slaves, women’s rights and civil rights in America did not start with war, terrorism, assassination, or a million-vagina’s marching. It began with individuals, with dialog, spreading to leaders, and eventually action, and change. This is what is needed in the USA by all patriots and by the USA, once the beacon on a hill. All the great and marvelous begin as a seed, a thought, an inspiration or maybe a song, a sunrise, or fiction.
Plant, be inspired, believe and Peace is Possible.
James Kirk-Wiggins, (c) 2017