Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Declaration of Independence for Dummies!

Please don't un-follow me! I promise I don't think you're a dummy. ^_^

However, if you're anything like Riley Poole from National Treasure, you may have read or heard the Declaration of Independence, been awe-inspired by it's beautiful eloquence, then realized: 

"I have NO idea what that just said!"

So here, for my readers, I've created a sort of paraphrase of part of this incredible document. While I know it doesn't convey the full meaning of all the original wording, I think it does bring many of the key concepts into an easily understandable form.  So read it, enjoy, and if you think I could have done better, I'd love to hear/read your version!

"Sometimes, in this world, a group of people or a part of a nation need to branch out on their own, away from the country they are presently associated with.  They have a need to be recognized as their own, distinct body of people, and become independent from and equal to their "parent country." This phenomenon is a part of nature, and was part of God's intent for mankind. Just like a child grows up and becomes an adult and creates his or her own, separate life, this happens with nations and people groups too. But unlike children and parents, in the case of National affairs, the "child" nation is expected to give a reason for the separation.  It is the proper, civilized thing to do.

Here are some up-front assumptions we are making, which we believe are quite obvious and generally agreed upon:
All people are created equal.
Those people have been given certain rights by God--rights which cannot, and should not, be taken away. These rights are: the right to life, the right to live that life without unjust constraints placed upon it, and the right to dream big and pursue those dreams.

The reason we have governments is to protect the rights of the people that we just mentioned, and those people are the ones who give the governments the authority to do its job.

Now, what happens if a government, which was established to PROTECT the rights of the people, actually starts to take away those very rights? Well, since the people established the government to protect the rights, it logically follows that the people have the authority to change, or even get rid of a government that fails to protect their rights.  But they need to change it for the better, or if they abolish it altogether, they need to replace it with something new and improved.  This new government should have a solid foundation on good ideals, and should be organized and balanced in such a way that it is most likely to be effective in protecting the people, their rights, and their general happiness.

Of course, if would be ludicrous to change a government for every and any little gripe that the people have with it.  It's better, in some cases, to have a bad government than no government at all.  There are a lot of evils and problems, and even injustices that people are willing to put up with rather than to overthrow or overhaul their entire government in order to fix those problems.

But when the government's goal becomes to, by a long series of usurping, power-seeking actions, totally strip the people's rights and freedoms from them rather than protect those rights, it becomes a different matter entirely. It actually becomes the people's obligation as citizens to reform, or even totally reject, that government, and to reinstate a new and more effective form of protection for their rights.

The Colonies belonging to Great Britain have patiently endured all the evils and injustices that they could tolerate, but it has come to a point where they are absolutely unable to continue being abused. During his entire reign, the King of Great Britain has repeatedly violated the rights, and it is obvious that his mission is to give his country absolute, tyrannical control over the States.  

The rest of this document is dedicated to listing everything that the King has done to oppress and steal away the freedoms of the people and colonies he governs in America."

I'm going to stop there and let you read the list for yourself, but let me assure you, the list isn't pretty. Among the offenses are, refusing to let the colonies make laws, even those that were absolutely necessary for their function, dissolving legislatures, forcing the people to house soldiers from his army, and forcing them to pay taxes, without giving them any return for their money. They didn't even have a say in the government!

I HIGHLY suggest that you go read the entire Declaration for yourself. (It's really not that long!)  Now that you have my interpretation of some of it, it might make it easier to understand it for yourself!

Oh, and like I said, feel free to submit your own paraphrase in the comments section. Also, if you're interested in having more of it paraphrased, drop me a comment and let me know!

HAPPY 4TH...I mean...
HAPPY 5TH...I mean...

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