The Declaration of Independence

The 4th of July is the anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence–a document adopted by the Continental Congress to declare political independence from the British Empire.

I have a murky awareness of the series of events and the group of individuals who began (and finished) the Revolutionary War.

American schools tend to focus on specific events to avoid the murkiness, including the authoring and signing of the Declaration of Independence.

Independence

What was it?

It was a document–signed by a group of like-minded separatists–that asserted that the 13 Colonies would govern themselves without rule from the British Empire’s government which was a monarchy + parliament at the time.

The document reads less like a persuasive essay and more like a list of the separatists’ grievances with the Empire’s government.

Here is the document’s introductory sentences:

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.

Powerful stuff.

On this 4th of July it’s worth reflecting on how durable an independence 242 years has been.