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.
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, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness…
When was the last time you really read the Declaration of Independence? I’m not talking about skimming over it superficially, or searching for a part of it to quote. I’m asking you: when was the last time you read the Declaration of Independence in the context of the momentous statement of rebellion, resolve, hope and defiance of those brave souls committing treason, punishable by torture and death, against their King?
You probably haven’t. I haven’t.
I invite you to do so now. Stop after every sentence. Consider the personal destruction guaranteed in every syllable if they failed.
Each and every man signing this Declaration was not only risking his own life by authoring and signing it. He was singling out his wife and daughters for possible rape and murder, his sons for torture and death. His relations would become pariahs, shunned by those who swore allegiance to the crown. By signing this document each and every man was all but promising the end of his bloodline, the destruction of his home, ostracism from his friends, and taking up the mantle of a traitor and terrorist.
Seriously. Read it.
Then think solemnly on this over the weekend, and what you are willing to sacrifice so that your children will have freedom.
I know I will.