This week's Literary Corner is dedicated to a world-changing document: the Declaration of Independence.
Mostly written by Thomas Jefferson, an English colonist from Virginia, the Declaration was influenced by the ideas of some great Britons: John Locke and Tom Paine (possibly the most dangerous man in the world at the time, think Lenin).
Jefferson and Paine also helped write the French Declaration of the Rights of Man. The two declarations inspired revolutions around the world, from Haiti to Vietnam (in 1945). Not bad for a couple of pieces of parchment.
Here's the preamble to the original Declaration.
The Declaration of Independence
IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
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. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. – Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
Ed. Note:What follows is a long list of grievances against King George III's government. They point out that they DID petition the government, as was the right of any Englishmen since the mid-17th Century, but it had done no good.
The question we'd like to ask is: if you wanted to write your own 'declaration of independence' today, what would you rebel against? And what would be your reasons? Plenty of room at the bottom of the page, as always.