A citizen’s required reading for July 4th: The Declaration of Independence (with music)

 

A citizen’s required reading for July 4th: The Declaration of Independence (with music)
July 4, 2010 | 12:01 am

Independence Hall in the City of Philadelphia where the Declaration of Independence was signed

The United States’ Declaration of Independence may well be the most cited yet least read or understood document in American history.

Some have suggested over the years that each responsible U.S. citizen should take the occasion of the Nation’s birthday to read that precious document every year, something like pausing at Thanksgiving to give thanks or at New Year’s to ponder what’s past and ahead.

Obviously, we can’t require that. But The Ticket can facilitate that. So here it is, in its historic entirety. For those who are curious to see how the historic document evolved, the wording refined and trimmed, through several writings, including those funny s’s that look like f’s, they can view side-by-side versions right here.

And for those who’d like a little musical accompaniment, we have a special treat this July 4th. It’s a video version of the anthem performed by one of our favorite singers, a woman with an amazingly crystaline voice who writes her own songs. We met her here as a Ticket follower on Twitter. Her name is Amiena (her music website is here). 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dWk0dZAyDTA&feature=player_embedded

The final version of the Declaration is right here with paragraphs edited for length for typographical purposes on this modern webpage.

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.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of….

 

…large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

Declaration of IndependenceHe has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence.

They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare,

That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do.

— And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

— John Hancock

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts:
John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Connecticut:
Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York:
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey:
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania:
Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Delaware:
Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Maryland:
Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia:
George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina:
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Georgia:
Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton     ###

Celebrating the Declaration of Independence

July 4th, 2010

Celebrating the Declaration of Independence

Happy Birthday, America

 

Conceived in liberty, born in conflict, the United States of America has stood as a beacon of hope for mankind the world over, ever since that fateful day 234 years ago in Philadelphia, when courageous men signed the Declaration of Independence. They came from all walks of life, but shared one thing in common, a burning desire to be free, and to confer that freedom to all of their descendants, whether by family ties or those bound by the unity of their American citizenship.

 

The road we have walked as American has rarely been smooth or straight. We have been challenged and tested many times in many ways – by wars, natural disasters, disease, economic chaos, political strife, and yet the underlying documents that bind us have prevailed until now.

 

Today, we stand at crossroads as we face a new kind of enemy, more insidious, and in numerous ways, more insidious than any we have ever known. The enemy is among us, having insinuated its way into the highest offices of the land, threatening our liberty and the very foundations that have made us the nation we have become.

 

There have been times past when our patriotism has waxed and waned, when the pedestrian burdens that life imposes have distracted us, when we have become complacent in the assumption that all we enjoy is the normal human condition, but it is not. Our liberty was hard won, and must be fought for to maintain.

 

We are reminded, today, of an immigrant to these shores – Mr. Thomas Paine, a man of modest means who became an anonymous pamphleteer, in a role we well know. Mr. Paine cloaked himself in anonymity to avoid the hangman’s noose. Not all of brave signers of the Declaration of Independence were equally fortunate to survive the Revolution without having to wear the necktie of death. We at  C O M M O N  S E N S E are similarly anonymous, but for reasons that we wish only our ideas to be challenged, and this is best accomplished without the publication of persona.

 

Throughout the year, we normally ask you to examine just facts and events using your intellect. Today, on our Nation’s birthday, we would like to pull at the heartstrings of your emotions.

 

Feel free to read the Declaration of Independence http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/document/  and then take a moment to see and hear the debut of one of our nation’s most stirring anthems. Written in 1917 by Irving Berlin, it was first performed by Kate Smith on Armistice Day, November 11, 1941, just a bare two weeks before the infamous attack on Pearl Harbor. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnQDW-NMaRs As you hear the words, join us in wishing America a grand happy birthday, with many happy returns.

 

God Bless America.  

 ______________________________________________________________________Who the author of this Production is, is wholly unnecessary to the Public, as the Object for Attention is the Doctrine itself, not the Man. Yet it may not be unnecessary to say, That he is unconnected with any Party, and under no sort of Influence public or private, but the influence of reason and principle.

Philadelphia, February 14, 1776.”

 

 

Sarah Palin: Peace Through Strength and American Pride vs. “Enemy-Centric” Policy

Sarah Palin: Peace Through Strength and American Pride vs. “Enemy-Centric” Policy

Peace Through Strength and American Pride vs. “Enemy-Centric” Policy
 Yesterday at 2:56pm
Earlier this week, I spoke at the Freedom Fest in Norfolk, Virginia; and, evidently, the media was asked to leave – not by me, that’s for sure. I want my message out, so despite reporters making up a story about “Palin people kicking us out” (uh, the “Palin people” entourage would consist of one person – my 15-year-old daughter, Willow – and I have no doubt she could take on any reporter, but I know for certain she didn’t “kick ‘em out” of the event). Anyway, here are some of the key issues I spoke about.

DEFENSE SPENDING

It takes a lot of resources to maintain the best fighting force in the world – especially at a time when we face financial uncertainty and a mountain of debt that threatens all of our futures.

We have a federal government that is spending trillions, and that has nationalized whole sections of our economy: the auto industry, the insurance industry, health care, student loans, the list goes on – all of it at enormous cost to the tax payer. The cost of Obamacare alone is likely to exceed $2.5 trillion dollars.

As a result of all these trillion dollar spending bills, America’s going bust in a hurry. By 2020 we may reach debt levels of $20 trillion – twice the debt that we have today! It reminds me of that joke I read the other day: “Please don’t tell Obama what comes after a trillion!”

Something has to be done urgently to stop the out of control Obama-Reid-Pelosi spending machine, and no government agency should be immune from budget scrutiny. We must make sure, however, that we do nothing to undermine the effectiveness of our military. If we lose wars, if we lose the ability to deter adversaries, if we lose the ability to provide security for ourselves and for our allies, we risk losing all that makes America great! That is a price we cannot afford to pay.

This may be obvious to you and me, but I am not sure the Obama Administration gets it. There isn’t a single progressive pet cause which they haven’t been willing to throw billions at. But when it comes to defense spending, all of a sudden they start preaching a message of “fiscal restraint.” Our Defense Secretary recently stated the “gusher” of defense spending was over and that it was time for the Department of Defense to tighten its belt. There’s a gusher of spending alright, but it’s not on defense. Did you know the US actually only ranks 25th worldwide on defense spending as a percentage of GDP? We spend three times more on entitlements and debt services than we do on defense.

Now don’t get me wrong: there’s nothing wrong with preaching fiscal conservatism. I want the federal government to balance its budget right now! And not the Washington way – which is raising your taxes to pay for their irresponsible spending habits. I want it done the American way: by cutting spending, reducing the size of government, and letting people keep more of their hard-earned cash.

But the Obama administration doesn’t practice what it preaches. This is an administration that won’t produce a budget for fear that we discover how reckless they’ve been as fiscal managers. At the same time, it threatens to veto a defense bill because of an extra jet engine!

This administration may be willing to cut defense spending, but it’s increasing it everywhere else. I think we should do it the other way round: cut spending in other departments – apart from defense. We should not be cutting corners on our national security.

THE U.S. NAVY

Secretary Gates recently spoke about the future of the US Navy. He said we have to “ask whether the nation can really afford a Navy that relies on $3 to $6 billion destroyers, $7 billion submarines, and $11 billion carriers.” He went on to ask, “Do we really need… more strike groups for another 30 years when no other country has more than one?”

Well, my answer is pretty simple: Yes, we can and, yes, we do because we must. Our Navy has global responsibilities. It patrols sea lanes and safeguards the freedoms of our allies – and ourselves. The Navy right now only has 286 ships, and that number may decrease. That will limit our options, extend tours for Navy personnel, lessen our ability to secure our allies and deter our adversaries. The Obama administration seems strangely unconcerned about this prospect.

OBAMA’S FOREIGN POLICY INHERITANCE

When George W. Bush came into office, he inherited a military that had been cut deeply, an al Qaeda that had been unchallenged, and an approach to terrorism that focused on bringing court cases rather than destroying those who sought to destroy us. We saw the result of some of that on 9/11.

When President Obama came into office, he inherited a military that was winning in Iraq. He inherited loyal allies and strong alliances. And thanks to the lamestream media pawing and purring over him, he had the benefit of unparalleled global popularity. What an advantage! So their basic foreign policy outlines should have been clear. Commit to the War on Terror. Commit to winning – not ending, but winning the war in Afghanistan. Commit to the fight against violent Islamic extremism wherever it finds sanctuary. Work with our allies. Be resolute with our adversaries. Promote liberty, not least because it enhances our security. Unfortunately, these basic principles seem to have been discarded by Washington.

THE WAR ON TERROR


His administration has banned the phrase “war on terror,” preferring instead politically correct nonsense like “overseas contingency operations.” His Homeland Security Secretary calls acts of terrorism “man-caused disasters.” His reckless plan to close Guantanamo (because there’s no place to go after it’s closed) faces bipartisan opposition now.

The Attorney General just announced that a decision about where to try terrorists like 9/11 master mind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed would not be announced until after the mid-term elections. Is there something he’s afraid to tell us?

The President’s new National Security Strategy does not even use the word “Islamic” when referring to violent extremism. Does he think the ideology of those who seek to kill Americans is irrelevant? How can we seek to defeat an enemy if we don’t acknowledge what motivates them and what their ultimate goals are? President Obama may think he is being politically correct by dropping the term, but it flies in the face of reality. As Senator Joe Lieberman noted, refusing to use the word Islamic when describing the nature of the threat we face is “Orwellian and counterproductive.”

AFGHANISTAN

In Afghanistan, it is true that President Obama approved deploying additional forces to the conflict – most, but not all the troops requested by commanders on the ground. But it took months of indecision to get to that point, and it came at a very high price – a July 2011 date to begin withdrawal.

This date was arbitrary! It bears no relation to conditions on the ground. It sends all the wrong signals to our friends and to our enemies. We know our commanders on the ground are not comfortable with it.

As that great Navy war hero, Senator John McCain recently put it: “The decision to begin withdrawing our forces from Afghanistan arbitrarily in July 2011 seems to be having exactly the effect that many of us predicted it would: It is convincing the key actors inside and outside of Afghanistan that the United States is more interested in leaving than succeeding in this conflict.”

Does the President really believe the Taliban and al Qaeda won’t be empowered by his naming of a starting date for withdrawal? They now believe they can beat him simply by outlasting us. What sort of effect does he think this will have on the morale of our troops – and of our allies?

ALIENATING OUR ALLIES

It’s not the only area where the Obama administration has failed our allies. They escalated a minor zoning issue in Jerusalem into a major dispute with our most important ally in the Middle East, Israel. They treated the Israeli Prime Minister shabbily in Washington. When a Turkish sponsored flotilla threatened to violate a legal Israeli blockade of Hamas-run Gaza, the Obama Administration was silent. When Israeli commandos were assaulted as they sought to prevent unmonitored cargoes from being delivered to Hamas terrorists, the Obama Administration sent signals it might allow a UN investigation into the matter – an investigation that would be sure to condemn our ally Israel and bemoan the plight of Hamas. Loyal NATO allies in central Europe were undermined by the cancellation of a missile defense program with virtually no warning. At the same time, Russia and China are given preferential treatment, while remaining silent on their human rights violations.

CODDLING ADVERSARIES

Meanwhile, the Obama Administration reaches out to some of the world’s worst regimes. They shake hands with dictators like Hugo Chavez, send letters to the Iranian mullahs and envoys to North Korea, ease sanctions on Cuba and talk about doing the same with Burma. That’s when they’re not on one of their worldwide apology tours.

Do we get anything in return for all this bowing and apologizing? No, we don’t. Yes, Russia voted for a weak sanctions resolution on Iran, but it immediately stated it could sell advanced anti-aircraft missile to Iran anyway, and would not end its nuclear cooperation. In response to North Korea’s unprovoked sinking of a South Korean Navy ship, China warned us not to take part in military exercises with our ally.

And while President Obama lets America get pushed around by the likes of Russia and China, our allies are left to wonder about the value of an alliance with the U.S. They have to be wondering if it’s worth it.

AN “ENEMY-CENTRIC” FOREIGN POLICY

It has led one prominent Czech official to call Obama’s foreign policy “enemy-centric.” And this “enemy-centric” approach has real consequences. It not only baffles our allies, it worries them. When coupled with less defense spending, it signals to the world that maybe we can no longer be counted on, and that we have other priorities than being the world leader that keeps the peace and provides security in Europe, in Asia and throughout the world.

Together with this enemy-centric foreign policy, we see a lessening of the long, bipartisan tradition of speaking out for human rights and democracy. The Secretary of State said she would not raise human rights with China because “we pretty much know what they are going to say.” Democracy promotion programs have been cut. Support for the brave Iranians protesting their government was not forthcoming because President Obama would rather try to cut a deal with their oppressors.

When the world’s dictators see the United States unconcerned with human rights and political freedom, they breathe a sigh of relief, because they know they have a free hand to repress their own people.

This goes against the very ideals on which our republic was founded. There is a long bipartisan tradition of speaking out in favor of freedom – from FDR to Ronald Reagan. America loses something very important when its President consigns human rights and freedom to the back burner of its international priorities.

A DIFFERENT VIEW OF AMERICA

We have a President, perhaps for the very first time since the founding of our republic, who doesn’t appear to believe that America is the greatest earthly force for good the world has ever known.

When asked whether he believed in American exceptionalism, President Obama answered, “I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.” Amazing. Amazing.

I think this statement speaks volumes about his world view. He sees nothing unique in the American experience? Really? Our founding, and our founding mothers and fathers? Really? And our history over the past two and half centuries?

Really? He sees nothing unique in an America that fought and won two world wars and in victory sought not one inch of territory or one dollar of plunder? He sees nothing unique in an America that, though exhausted by conflict, still laid the foundation for security in Europe and Asia after World War II? He sees nothing unique in an America that prevailed against an evil ideology in the Cold War? Does he just see a country that has to be apologized for around the world, especially to dictators?

President Obama actually seems reluctant to even embrace American power. Earlier this year when he was asked about his faltering Middle East peace process, he said “whether we like it or not, we remain a dominant military superpower.” Whether we like it or not?! Really? Mr. President, this may come as news to you, but most Americans actually do like it. And so do our allies. They know it was our military might that liberated countless millions from tyranny, slavery, and oppression over the last 234 years. Yes, we do like it. As a dominant superpower, the United States has won wars hot and cold; our military has advanced the cause of freedom and kept authoritarian powers in check.

It is in America’s and the world’s best interests for our country to remain the dominant military superpower, but under President Obama’s leadership that dominance may be slipping away. It’s the result of an agenda that reeks of complacency and defeatism.

(I went on from there to talk about our need to end the negative, defeatist attitudes of those in leadership. I spoke further on American exceptionalism, and Willow and I ended a great evening with some great patriots. Sorry the media chose to report anything other than what actually happened at the event.)

- Sarah Palin

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