Over 2 centuries have passed since the Declaration of Independence was published and it still serves as a model for advancing freedom and liberty and for defining the natural order of authority.
The Declaration of Independence defines the authority on which men proceed in their task of reforming government that has become ineffective or oppressive. The authors taught us that there are 4 main points that need to be addressed when proceeding with the task of reform. They are as follows:
Point 1: Men Have Rights
The Declaration of Independence established the foundation of freedom and liberty by declaring that all men have been granted certain inalienable rights. These rights are undeniable and cannot be taken away by those who govern because they have been endowed by our creator.
“All men have been granted the rights that establish the natural lines of authority.”
Point 2: Exercise Prudence
Jefferson taught that all men should exercise their rights with prudence and dignity. He was clear in pointing out that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes. It was only after a history of injustices had taken place that they chose to exercise their rights and move forward with their plan to throw off the grip of tyranny.
“Be responsible when exercising your rights.”
Point 3: Declare the Causes
The Declaration proclaimed to the world that it was every man’s right and duty to separate themselves from government that has become abusive to their freedom and liberty. It was out of respect for the opinions of mankind that the Declaration was published for all to witness. They declared to the world the causes that impelled them to separate from the tyranny imposed by the hand of a despotic ruler.
“Declare the causes on which we stand.”
Point 4: Present the Evidence
A charge of the highest order was brought against the King – the establishment of an absolute tyranny. The body of the Declaration of Independence presented a list of offenses that undeniably confirmed the presence of tyranny. The criterion for reform had been established.
“The authority to proceed with the revolution has been established.”
“The lines of authority have been drawn.”
“When knowledge is shared, the community grows in wealth and in spirit.”