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     ###

U.S. And Israel Further Divided: Obama Caves To Muslims, Stabs Ally In The Back Over Nukes Benjamin Netanyahu, more American than Obama, at a 4th of July celebration in Israel

U.S. And Israel Further Divided: Obama Caves To Muslims, Stabs Ally In The Back Over Nukes

July 4th, 2010 Posted By Pat Dollard.

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Benjamin Netanyahu, more American than Obama, at a 4th of July celebration in Israel

New York Times:

WASHINGTON — It was only one paragraph buried deep in the most plain-vanilla kind of diplomatic document, 40 pages of dry language committing 189 nations to a world free of nuclear weapons. But it has become the latest source of friction between Israel and the United States in a relationship that has lurched from crisis to crisis over the last few months.

At a meeting to review the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty in May, the United States yielded to demands by Arab nations that the final document urge Israel to sign the treaty — a way of spotlighting its historically undeclared nuclear weapons.

Israel believed it had assurances from the Obama administration that it would reject efforts to include such a reference, an Israeli official said, and it saw this as another sign of unreliability by its most important ally. In a recent visit to Washington, Israel’s defense minister, Ehud Barak, raised the issue in meetings with senior American officials.

With Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu scheduled to meet President Obama on Tuesday at the White House, the flap may introduce a discordant note into a meeting that both sides are eager to portray as a chance for Israel and the United States to turn the page after a rocky period.

Other things have changed notably for the better in American-Israeli relations since Mr. Netanyahu called off his last visit to the White House to rush home to deal with the crisis after Israel’s deadly attack on a humanitarian aid flotilla sailing to Gaza in late May. His agreement to ease the land blockade on Gaza, which came at the request of the United States, has helped thaw the chill between the governments, American and Israeli officials said.

Meanwhile, the raft of new sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program, after the passage of the United Nations resolution, has reassured Israelis, who viewed Mr. Obama’s attempts to engage Iran with unease. Mr. Obama signed the American sanctions into law on Thursday.

“The overall tone is more of a feel-good visit than we’ve seen in the past,” said David Makovsky, director of the Project on the Middle East Peace Process at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “It has been more focused on making sure that the Ides of March have passed.”

He was referring to the dispute during a visit to Israel by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. in March, when Israel approved plans for Jewish housing in East Jerusalem. Mr. Obama was enraged by what he perceived as a slight to Mr. Biden, and when Mr. Netanyahu visited a few weeks later, the While House showed its displeasure by banning cameras from recording the visit.

But despite the better atmospherics, some analysts said the nuclear nonproliferation issue symbolizes why Israel remains insecure about the intentions of the Obama administration. In addition to singling out Israel, the document, which has captured relatively little public attention, calls for a regional conference in 2012 to lay the groundwork for a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East. Israel, whose nuclear arsenal is one of the world’s worst-kept secrets, would be on the hot seat at such a meeting.

At the last review conference, in 2005, the Bush administration refused to go along with any references to Israel, one of several reasons the meeting ended in acrimony, without any statement.

This time, Israel believed the Obama administration would again take up its cause. As a non-signatory to the treaty, Israel did not attend the meeting. But American officials consulted the Israelis on a text in advance, which they found acceptable, a person familiar with those discussions said. That deepened their surprise at the end.

Administration officials said the United States negotiated for months with Egypt, on behalf of the Arab states, to leave out the reference to Israel. While the United States supports the goal of a nuclear-free Middle East, it stipulated that any conference would be only a discussion, not the beginning of a negotiation to compel Israel to sign on to the treaty.

The United States practices a policy of ambiguity with respect to Israel’s nuclear stockpile, neither publicly discussing it nor forcing the Israeli government to acknowledge its existence.

The United States, recognizing that the document would upset the Israelis, sought to distance itself even as it signed it.

In a statement released after the conference ended, the national security adviser, Gen. James L. Jones, said, “The United States deplores the decision to single out Israel in the Middle East section of the NPT document.” He said it was “equally deplorable” that the document did not single out Iran for its nuclear ambitions. Any conference on a nuclear-free Middle East, General Jones said, could only come after Israel and its neighbors had made peace.

The United States, American officials said, faced a hard choice: refusing to compromise with the Arab states on Israel would have sunk the entire review conference. Given the emphasis Mr. Obama has placed on nonproliferation, the United States could not accept such an outcome.

It also would complicate the administration’s attempts to build bridges to the Arab world, an effort that is at the heart of some of the disagreements between the United States and Israel.

Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Obama will have plenty of other things to discuss this week. After several rounds of indirect talks, brokered by the administration’s special envoy, George J. Mitchell, the United States is pushing the Israelis and the Palestinians to begin direct negotiations.

A central question, analysts said, is whether Mr. Netanyahu will extend Israel’s self-imposed moratorium on new residential construction in West Bank settlements, which expires in September. He is unlikely to take such a step unless the Palestinians agree to face-to-face talks, they said.

For Mr. Obama and Mr. Netanyahu, the most basic priority may be establishing trust between them — which is why the flap over the nuclear conference, though small, is potentially troublesome.

“Most American presidents who end up being successful on Israel manage to create, even amid great mistrust and suspicion, a pretty good working relationship,” said Aaron David Miller, a longtime Middle East peace negotiator. “This has been a real crisis of confidence, which cuts to the core of how each leader sees his respective world.”

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.”