The Meaning of the Declaration of Independence

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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

When I worked in China I was surprised to find Chinese students who could recite our U. S. Declaration of Independence. Apparently they thought it applied to them as their leadership told them China was a democratic republic like America.

Of course, China does not have most of the freedoms we have. But the truth of the matter is that all men everywhere believe very word of this treatise which is why it rings true no matter where you go. It is the declaration of independence, personal and corporate, for humanity worldwide.

We: We means the brotherhood of man. The Bible says all men come from one blood. As hard as some political groups try to separate and pit one cohort of human beings against another, the Creator says we are all the sons of Adam and have Eve as mother some thousands or eons ago.

Hold: This is not the tender pinching of a document in our fingers; this is a full grasp. To grasp something is to take it into your spirit man and let it infuse your life. I told someone recently “I was born free and I intend to stay that way.” I am holding on to the freedom I was born with and I will hold on to it with a death grip for you too.

These truths: People know truth. Children know truth. So much nonsense that is taught must fly in the face of the obvious. Jesus says He is Truth, but He can say that because He was also the Creator. Blind and deaf Helen Keller was told about God and she said to the effect, “Oh, I rather thought that.” Lies must be retold and retold before they can become truth, and then under pressure, they fold up.

To be self-evident: The smallest child has a concept of freedom. Sometimes it’s revealed as selfishness, but more often than not the 3-year stomps her feet and cries, “That is not fair! He hurt my dog; he stole my toy.” The concept of justice is intrinsic in our natures, and evident, that is, obvious to the individual.

Evidence: This means that it explains itself; it needs no corroborating documents or testimony. The lawyer stands before the judge and says, we have all the evidence and we need to put this man away for 15 years. The judge consults the evidence, agrees, and the court has spoken. That is the kind of evidence we enjoy as individuals, the freedom of each person before God. Case closed.

All men: Here we have the concept of Man, the human race, everywhere the image and likeness of God, uniform in their inheritance. What Thomas Jefferson said in 1776 applies to and is understand by all men everywhere. This is why foreigners look at America today and say “If America goes down so will all the rest of us.”

Are created equal: Many political messes come from making assumptions about the word ‘equal.’ Clearly not all men are equal in their talents, looks, background, education, attainments and foolishness. The huge diversity in individual DNA should be proof enough.

Diversity is God’s happy choice for His universe. According to scientists, there many be as many as 25 million as yet undiscovered species on planet earth. Diversity indeed.

But in standing before God in judgment, all men are on equal ground. As nice as Americans are, they don’t get a pass on niceness. As wicked as the sorry leaders of North Korea are, they are not treated any differently than the baker in the Bronx. Before God they have their own record, not someone elses’ on which to make their case. That equality is what is being referenced here in this document.

Eventually of course, women showed up and said, “Look, I have blood just like you, so I am a member of the human race, and these rights are mine too.”

Unalienable not inalienable rights. I have a post of this topic which is very popular. In brief, UN means they can never be altered or removed. IN means they can be altered.

And among these: Among is a word which means there might be a large number of options, from 3 to 300 rights, but only three are named. Jefferson picked the three most important. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

UN v. IN

Life: While according to a most recent SCOTUS ruling the Constitution says nothing about abortion, our Declaration does. Its first promise is life, in other words, a right to life which should equally apply to both mother and child. And father too. The battle on this one word will consume much of the next few years of legislative wrangling across the nation. Make your position known.

Liberty: Liberty comes from the root meaning free from despotic, arbitrary or autocratic control. Autocratic means one person makes the rules; despots can be a group of people so we know many nations have less than liberty. Finally arbitrary means one rule for one person and another rule for another. The best liberty comes from people agreeing on the restraints they will voluntarily place on each other. We are to STOP at a red light. It is not despotic, arbitrary, or autocratic; it is a community decision and standard.

Property: That week in Philadelphia it was extremely hot and the framers of our Constitution were sweating it out in a public hall. They needed an opening statement and it fell to Thomas Jefferson who was a very man with a new wife and he wanted to be done with this task and hurry home. He was chosen because he had obvious literary talents and most of the rest were older.

The breach with England was based primarily on property. Old England had confining property rules; the new America did not. If you could manage the acreage you bought it. There were no restrictions on blacks or Canadians or Germans or anyone. But as he pondered the document, he decided against the word property in spite of being essential to the rebels’ cause.

Here was his reasoning. He knew that slaves were called property and only a few Southerners wanted slavery protected in the US Constitution. So he left it out. People who wish to take pot shots at Jefferson and our founding fathers should remember this. He, and the rest of the reformers did not like slavery and it took nearly 100 years to get it outlawed. But the premise of the equality of man was intrinsic to their purposes for America and in due time, it came to fruition.

If you find any one of these paragraphs to your dislike, or you are unable to ascribe to them, it is your duty to leave and find a nation which reflects your wishes and values.


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