Constitute With The Old Ways

My mom got a pocket-sized Declaration of Independence and Constitution of the United States (what other Constitution would she get?).  As we read the Declaration of Independence together, I thought of some really great ideas to write about…and then I went to sleep and forgot them all.  This blog post is my attempt to remember them, and to learn how to spell…

When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another […] a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

You know how in school, English class in particular, your teacher always told you to write the first paragraph of an essay as the topic paragraph, the one that explains what you’re going to write?  Well, right here, this is basically what the Declaration is all about.  When it becomes necessary for one people to break the political bands that have connected them with each other, they are required to explain what drives/forces/urges them to do so.

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[…]

With the election coming up soon, I thought it would be a good idea to talk politics.  No, I can’t stand politics, nor can I stand history.  BUT, I think if history is taught right, it can be very interesting and very intriguing.  So I thought I should go old school politics, since this is the only way I’ll ever be interested in it.

(By the way, this post has nothing to do with politics, really…Although I do talk about the government…)

Anyway, let’s continue.  It says that we have three written rights:

  1. Life
  2. Liberty
  3. Pursuit of happiness

Life, of course, is living.  We have a right to live.  Liberty being the state of being free.  We have a right to be free.  And the pursuit of happiness.  Pursuit meaning the action of following or chasing, and happiness meaning contentment (I’m sure we all know what this means, and have our own opinion of it).  So really, we have the right to:

  1. Live
  2. Be free
  3. Follow or chase contentment

That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men[…]

Government, meaning regulating a nation, organization, or people.  So, a group of people who are in charge of regulating other people.  And these people are also in charge of securing our rights.

What is happiness?  And does the government protect our right to chase it?  That sounds like a totally different blog post to me, but a really good question to ask now.

What rights, other than the above three, do we have?  That’s what the Bill of Rights and the Constitution are here for.  I know that this is all pretty elementary, but I’d like to make it kind of educational.  We’re all out of high school (maybe?), so I’m sure we’ve all heard this before, but did we really pay attention?  I know I didn’t.  But I think writing this out help me, if not anyone else, better understand it.  So, let us continue.

[…]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[…], as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

There’s another right:

  1. Alter or abolish a destructive government and to institute a new one

How many times have you heard, from other people or have said it yourself, that the government sucks?  Did you know you have a right to abolish it?  I’m not talking about waiting around every four years to vote in a new president.  I’m talking about just getting rid of everyone!  (Or whoever we all don’t think protect our safety and happiness).

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 provide new guards for their future security.

Or, rather:

But when a long train of abuses and takings of power by force, pursuing always/in every case the same object, reveals the presence of/indicate a design to reduce them (which is us, if you didn’t know) under absolute power (in a cruel and oppressive way), it is their (our) right, it is their (our) duty, to throw off such government, and provide new guards for their future security.

So there you have it!  If our government ever gets to stage where we want to get rid of it and instate a new one, we can!

The Declaration goes on to talk about the King of Great Britain, and how he ruled his country:

[…] All having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states.

And that’s that.  I thought it was pretty interesting.  Say, I think I’ll continue this next week when I talk about the Bill of Rights.  That sounds like a swell idea, yes?

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2 thoughts on “Constitute With The Old Ways

  1. To this I can add a quote from another author:

    “The third ‘right’?- the ‘pursuit of happiness? It is indeed unalienable but it is not a right, it is simply a universal condition which tyrants cannot take away nor patriots restore.”

    Robert A Heinlen

    When the founding fathers were writing the bill of rights they dropped the ‘pursuit of happiness’ for property rights. I guess they figured that you can find happiness in any situation. I hear a lot about people quote the “pursuit of happiness’ as a reason for getting laws passed but to their error the Declaration of Independence is not a law document.

    Yes we can replace our government, it has been done before. Today though I would be apprehensive of what constitution we would write.

    Like

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