The Declaration of Independence

Discussion in 'Second Amendment and Legal' started by Litehiker, Jan 3, 2017.

  1. Litehiker

    Litehiker Active Member

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    Gents, Ladies,

    I'm a new member to this forum but an old Ruger owner, in both senses of the term. And though a "Progressive" I'm an NRA member and own several firearms including six Rugers.

    Here's my take on a document that is often overlooked, the Declaration of Independence.

    Historians often call the Declaration of Independence a "historical document" but not a legal document as the Constitution is.

    Well the declaration may not carry the legal authority of the Constitution in that the U.S. Supreme Court is not bound by it but it IS the moral authority upon which our Constitution is founded.

    Written mostly by Jefferson and "edited" by Franklin it is an official declaration of the U.S. Congress. It states that we have "...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."

    This last sentence says that ALL governmental powers come through and from "the consent of the governed." That's all U.S. citizens, and by moral extension, all citizens in any nation.

    And also of great importance the Declaration states:
    "That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its principles and organizing its powers in such form as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness."

    Our Declaration of Independence is our guide to establishing a government that will "...effect (our) safety and happiness."
    Notice the word "safety". Owning firearms and using them in a responsible manner will, in part, "effect our safety" as a free people.

    We therefore need to "institute new government" that will insure this "...safety and happiness."
    Perhaps this 2016 presidential election did just that. Time will tell.

    Eric B.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2017
  2. VThillman

    VThillman Active Member

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    The Declaration of Independence formalizes and attempts to justify the Colonies' (eventually successful) intention to free themselves from British rule. It is an inspired and inspiring document, but not particularly factual. The sentence you have bolded describes governments that did not exist on Earth in 1776.
     

  3. allenr

    allenr Member

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    When I retired from the Marine Corps I enrolled in college to get the degree that my parents could not afford. I majored in political science. I was particularly interested in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution so my recall of those topics is still good.

    The paragraph that the OP cited in bold was intended to set the principle that the governed have the right to overthrow their government regardless of the form of Government. It was justification of declaring independence.

    There was one government that was was governed by a parliament. It was England. It's lower House of Commons was elected. It's upper house the House of Lords was not. That was the model for our bicameral congress. At its inception only the House of Representatives was elected. Senators were appointed by governors.

    That principle was the root of the French overthrowing the Monarchy starting in 1789.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2017
  4. VThillman

    VThillman Active Member

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    ^ ^ Allen, did your studies also include Tom Paine's Common Sense? That document has a closer analysis of the British system of government.
     
  5. allenr

    allenr Member

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    We did not study it, but it was required reading. It really needs little study because it is so understandable without dissection. It is a fascinating and illuminating read. It is still in print today, which makes the longest in print document in US history.

    It brings clarity to the consideration and decision making of the Framers. It is how I learned why after debate the Framers ruled out a king and parliament and instead chose to design a similar to England system with an elected president rather than a king. Paine made a convincing argument that monarchies are or easily become evil at worst and inefficient to people's needs at best.
     
  6. VThillman

    VThillman Active Member

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    You're right of course, Common Sense is readable without strain.

    Some of The Framers had read or were reading, Thomas Hobbes Leviathan, to assist them in creating a 'new form of government'. I wonder if it was an easier read in 1770 than it is today. Even with the spellings 'modernized', I am struggling with it.
     
  7. allenr

    allenr Member

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    I never read Leviathon. I might consider doing that.
     
  8. uscg721

    uscg721 New Member

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    Political Science not being something I major in for sure. I just finished reading Tom Paine's Common Sense and it truly is an easy and enjoyable read - very insightful.