From the Chairman’s Desk: Declaration of Independence

Declaration of Independence

 “Since 1776, Americans have cherished the principles of the Declaration of Independence- and disagreed fiercely about how to apply them,” Jeffrey Rosen wrote in the July 6,2019 edition of the Wall Street Journal. Rosen noted: “Its (The Declaration’s) influence on the way we think about politics and law is second only to the Constitution.” Abraham Lincoln recognized the two documents were closely related. According to Rosen, who is President and CEO of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, from the era of the Founding Fathers until today, conservatives and liberals and everyone else have agreed that “the theoretical basis of the U. S. Constitution-and American political life in general- can be found in Thomas Jefferson’s most famous sentence:”
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 those 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.

These principles “declare an enduring American consensus: that the purpose of government is to secure the rights of popular sovereignty, equality and liberty. But there’s a rub, and it is the source of our enduring disagreements: How are these inspiring ideals to be balanced against one another?” Rosen asked. The division between liberals and conservatives is seen as a current debate about the relationship between the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Liberals believe that the promises of the Declaration of Independence can be “realized” only with a powerful, big government, while conservatives, by contrast, believe that a powerful, big government is a great danger to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness and therefore want a limited,small government which taxes and regulate less and defers to states and localities more. This argument should sound and look familiar, because we are seeing it currently played out with the Democrats in the liberal corner and the Republicans in the conservative corner. If a person were wavering with their decision regarding which corner he or she should occupy, I would urge them to  consider this: A government big and powerful enough to grant you everything you want, is also big and powerful enough to take from you everything you have.