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Independence Day Is About An Idea, Not A Country

On the Fourth of July, we celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence. But, what is this Declaration of Independence and why should we celebrate it?

Let’s begin with what the Declaration is not. The Declaration is not a Constitution. It does not establish a Confederation or a Federal Government (“the United States of America”).

If you read the Declaration, you will notice that the title reads “‘The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America’”. Notice that the word “united” is not capitalized. This is significant because the Declaration merely stated that the thirteen British colonies were now thirteen individual and independent states, each with its own jurisdiction. In other words, it established thirteen separate states that were united in purpose. It did not, however, establish a new Confederation or Federal Government (a country) called the “United States of America”.

The Articles of Confederation established (in practice: November 1777; by law: March 1781) a Confederation called the “United States of America”. Under the Articles, the loose collection of individual states agreed to participate in and be bound by the Confederation Government, which mostly existed for waging war, concluding peace, engaging in diplomatic relations, regulating international trade, and allocating additional lands (western expansion). However, it was always understood that the Confederation was a loose and voluntary affiliation of independent states.

Our current Federal Government (also known as the “United States of America”) was not established until the Constitution was signed (September 1787) and ratified (March 1789). That was nearly thirteen years after the Declaration was signed.

So, if the Declaration did not establish the “United States of America” (because it is not a charter or constitution that established a national-level Confederation or Federal Government), what did it do? We have already noted that it asserted the independence of the thirteen British colonies. However, that is relatively insignificant because any other collection of colonies could have served a similar purpose. No, the real value of the Declaration is not that it established the political independence of some colonies. Colonies do that all the time. That is no big deal.

The real value of the Declaration of Independence is that it articulated natural law truth.

The central theme is simply: “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, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it…”

In one paragraph, the Declaration asserts that Natural Law is superior to man-made law. The idea that a King can rule arbitrarily by Divine Right was destroyed. The signers of the Declaration stated that there is a Natural, Universal, or Divine Law. According to this law, every person has unalienable rights. Government is established to protect those rights. If the government fails to protect those rights (or worse, violates those rights); then the people have a natural law right to abolish that government.

Imagine if we applied that standard to our own Federal Government. How do our modern Presidents stack up against King George III?

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people.
[They have appointed czars and sent hither swarms of bureaucrats to harass us]

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
[They have waged unconstitutional wars of aggression across the globe to justify the existence and expansion of the largest military-industrial complex the world has ever seen; they have abolished Posse Comitatus so that the military can be used against domestic US citizens]

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation.
[The League of Nations, The United Nations, Agenda 21, the IMF, the Federal Reserve, the North American Union, World Bank, NATO, WTO, I could go on]

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world.
[Protectionist embargoes, subsidies, regulations, tariffs, and “free-trade” agreements that restrict trade, monopolize industries, and bankrupt countries]

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent.
[the Obamacare “tax”, the Inflation tax (see Federal Reserve), the Income tax]

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury.
[The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and the PATRIOT ACT]

I’m sure we could go on. The point is that the United States of America (the Federal Government) has violated our natural rights. What does the Declaration of Independence say we citizens should do in such a case? Or do we make excuses and say that the Declaration was great in its time, but it no longer applies? Has natural (divine or universal) law changed? Do we no longer have those same unalienable rights? Have the remedies changed? What is so different?

Some poor fool will mark the occasion of the Fourth of July (the celebration of the Declaration of Independence, the assertion of innate natural law rights) by waving around the flag of the United States of America (a Federal Government which daily violates our natural law rights in much the same way King George III violated the rights of the colonists). Quite ironic: celebrate individual liberty by waving the flag of a tyrannical government.

So, here are the take away points:

(1) On the Fourth of July, we celebrate the Declaration of Independence, a document which asserts our innate natural law rights against the previously accepted Divine Right of Kings theory; but which does not establish a national-level government called the “United States of America”. In other words, the document establishes an idea, not a country.

(2) Our natural law unalienable rights include but are not limited to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (widely accepted to mean the fruits of your labor or “property”)

(3) Governments are established to protect those unalienable rights.

(4) If the government fails to protect those rights, then the people may abolish that government.

This Fourth of July, will you be celebrating the COUNTRY called “America” (which has become a rights-violating tyrannical monstrosity) OR will you be celebrating the IDEA of “America” (established in the Declaration of Independence; namely the existence of natural law rights, the articulation of the only legitimate purpose of government, and the proper remedy for despotic government overreach)?

The choice is yours alone.


Stanley W. Henry Jr. is a liberty blogger and author. His recent essay, “How A Revolution Of Ideas Removes The Viruses Downloaded Into The Mind Of Society By Establishment Propagandists”, exposes the easy-to-follow, nuts and bolts process of waging a revolution of ideas. It is available at the Amazon Kindle Store. HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!!!

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