Magazine article Insight on the News

Reinventing Government: 1776 and All That

Magazine article Insight on the News

Reinventing Government: 1776 and All That

Article excerpt

This is not the first time Americans have felt compelled to reinvent their government. In 1976, our Founding Fathers rejected the old model of a central power issuing edicts for all to obey. In its place, they created a government that broadly distributed power. Their vision of democracy, which gave citizens a voice in managing the United States, was untried and untested in 1776. It required a tremendous leap of faith. But it worked.

Invention (1776)

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.

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.

To secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpation, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.... He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass (sic) our people, and eat out their substance.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the Lives of our people.

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.

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. …

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