Wednesday, July 04, 2007

A Hanging Offense

Samizdata reminds modern readers what an act of treason against the Crown the Declaration of Independence was and how much its signers had at stake.

We therefore the representatives of the United States of America in General Congress assembled do, in the name & by authority of the good people of these states, reject and renounce all allegiance & subjection to the kings of Great Britain & all others who may hereafter claim by, through, or under them; we utterly dissolve & break off all political connection which may have heretofore subsisted between us & the people or parliament of Great Britain; and finally we do assert and declare these colonies to be free and independant states, and that as free & independant states they shall hereafter have power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, & to do all other acts and things which independant states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, & our sacred honour.

Reading these words today, one is struck by their sheer audacity. The plotters, as they might well have been called, staked everything on the outcome of the enterprise. A noose awaited the losers. This is in stark contrast to the equivocating, weasely behavior of modern leaders who would, if it were possible, have their cake and eat it too.

Nothing follows.


Blogger PierreLegrand said...

It was their inspiration that led me to post with my own name. My gosh if they were willing to stake it all behind their names than how can I do less? We must stand up and stand behind our ideas. Now more than ever we are fighting an ideological war....honor counts.

7/04/2007 06:38:00 PM  
Blogger 3Case said...

We still livin' way fat.
Pols n' Diplos (n' their bureaucrat minions) living fattest of all.
Pols n' Diplos don't want to risk their fat, so are willing to allow incidental killing of us.
Welcome to the Monkey House.

7/04/2007 06:57:00 PM  
Blogger RDS said...

John Adams made the following prescient prediction on July 3 1776 after the Continental Congres first agreed to independence on July 2, which he thought would be the day of remembrance (instead we celebrate the 4th, when Jefferson's more complete declaration was adopted):

The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epocha in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations, from one end of the continent to the other, from this time forward, forevermore.

Many quotes of the above passage leave out the sentence about "solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty", replacing it with a humble "..."

More on the declaration, and the interesting history of the Battle Hymn of the Republic, are here.

7/04/2007 07:12:00 PM  
Blogger herb said...

The Claremont Institute has a "users guide to the Declaration"


National Archives has a very interesting discussion here as political prose:

7/05/2007 06:55:00 AM  
Blogger dchamil said...

Let's recall that the Signers were not no-hopers taking a last, desperate gamble. These were men of substance with a lot to lose. They had money, social position, and good jobs. This is true as well of George Washington, who was not a Signer.

7/05/2007 09:00:00 AM  

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