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What Does the Declaration of Independence Really Mean?
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We celebrate July 4 each year as the anniversary of America’s declaration of independence from Great Britain. But for many Americans, the day has become little more than another holiday, a day off from work, and a time to barbecue with family and friends.

The Declaration of Independence and the day we set aside to commemorate it should make us reflect on the sacrifices of the men who signed it. Representatives from thirteen colonies came together to take a momentous step that they knew might land them on the scaffold or suspended by the hangman’s noose. They were protesting that their traditional rights as Englishmen had been violated, and that those violations had forced them into a supreme act of rebellion.

For many Americans the Declaration of Independence has become a fundamental text that tells the world who we are as a people. It is a distillation of American belief and purpose. Pundits and commentators, left and right, never cease reminding us that America is an exceptional nation, “conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”

Almost as important as a symbol of belief for many contemporary Americans is Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. It is not incorrect to see a purported link between these two documents, as Lincoln intentionally placed his short peroration in the context of a particular reading of the Declaration.

Lincoln bases his concept of the creation of the American nation in philosophical principles he sees enunciated in 1776, and in particular on an emphasis on the idea of “equality.” The problem is that this interpretation, which forms the philosophical base of both dominant “movement conservatism” today—neoconservatism—and the neo- or post-Marxist multicultural Left, is essentially false.

Lincoln’s opens his address, “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation.…” There is a critical problem with this assertion. It was not the Declaration that “created” the new nation; the Declaration was a statement of thirteen colonies, announcing their respective independence from the mother country, binding themselves together in a close military and political alliance, and stating their bill of grievances. It was the Constitution, drafted eleven years later (1787), after the successful conclusion of the War for Independence, that established a new nation: a confederation of states, each ceding certain enumerated powers to a federal executive, while retaining the largest share for themselves. And, as any number of historians and scholars have pointed out, the American Framers never intended to cobble together a nation based on the proposition that “all men are created equal.”

A brief survey of the writings of such distinguished recent historians and researchers as Barry Alan Shain, Forrest McDonald, M. E. Bradford, George W. Carey, and, earlier authorities such as William Rawle (1759-1836), whose A View of the Constitution of the United States (1825) was considered a standard text on constitutional interpretation prior to the War Between the States and was used for many years at West Point, plus a detailed reading of the commentaries and writings of those men who established the nation, give the lie to that claim (See for example, Elliott’s Debates, a compilation of the debates over the new Constitution).

The Framers of the Constitution were horrified by “egalitarianism” and “democracy,” and they made it clear that what they were establishing was a republic in which the respective states continued to possess inherent rights not ceded to a central national authority. Each state maintained its own particular arrangements, including serious restrictions and limitations on voting and participation in government, considered as fundamental. Indeed, several states also had religious tests, and others had established churches, none of which were directly touched by the First Amendment, which was added to ensure that a national ecclesiastical establishment would not be effected. A quick review of The Federalist Papers confirms this thinking; and a survey of the correspondence and the debates over the Constitution add support to this anti-egalitarianism. Professor Bradford’s excellent study, Original Intentions: On the Making and Ratification of the American Constitution (1993) explores this fundamental understanding in detail.

Obviously, then, Lincoln could not found his “new nation” in the U. S. Constitution; it was too aristocratic and decentralized, with non-enumerated powers maintained by the states, including the implicit right to secede. Indeed, slavery was explicitly sanctioned, even if most of the Framers believed that as an institution it would die a natural death, if left on its own. Lincoln thus went back to the Declaration of Independence and invested in it a meaning that supported his statist and wartime intentions. But even then, he verbally abused the language of the Declaration, interpreting the words in a form that its Signers never intended.

Although those authors employed the phrase “all men are created equal,” and certainly that is why Lincoln made direct reference to it, a careful analysis of the Declaration does not confirm the sense that Lincoln invests in those few words. It is true that Enlightenment ideas regarding “natural rights” circulated in the Colonies. But, contextually, the authors at Philadelphia were mainly asserting their historic — and equal — rights as Englishmen before the Crown, which had, they believed, been violated and usurped by the British government, and it was to the king-in-parliament that the Declaration was primarily directed.

The Founders rejected egalitarianism. They understood that no one is, literally, “created equal” to anyone else. Certainly, each and every person is created with no less or no more dignity, measured by his or her own unique potential before God. But this is not what most contemporary writers mean today when they talk of “equality.”

Rather, from a traditionally-Christian viewpoint, each of us is born into this world with different levels of intelligence, in different areas of expertise; physically, some are stronger or heavier, others are slight and smaller; some learn foreign languages and write beautiful prose; others become fantastic athletes or scientists. Social customs and traditions, property holding, and individual initiative — each of these factors further discriminate as we continue in life.

None of this means that we are any less or more valued in the judgment of God, Who judges us based on our own, very unique capabilities. God measures us by ourselves, by our own maximum possibilities and potential, not by those of anyone else — that is, whether we use our own, individual talents to the very fullest (recall the Parable of the Talents in the Gospel of St. Matthew).

The Founders understood this, as their writings and speeches clearly indicate. Lincoln’s “new nation” would have certainly struck them as radical and revolutionary, a veritable “heresy” (see Bradford’s important essay, “The Heresy of Equality,” Modern Age, Fall 1976, pp. 62-77). Even more disturbing for them would be the specter of modern-day neoconservatives — that is, those who dominant the conservative movement and claim to rigorously defend what little remains of our constitutional republic against the abuses of the neo-Marxist multiculturalist left — enshrining Lincoln’s address as a basic symbol and foundation of American political and social order.

They would have understood the radicalism implicit in such a pronouncement; they would have seen Lincoln’s interpretation as a contradiction of the “First Founding” of 1787 and a revolutionary denial of its intentions; and they would have understood in Lincoln’s language the content of a quasi-religious and millenialist heresy, heralding a transformed nation where the Federal government would become the father and mother and absolute master of us all.

Thus, as we commemorate the declaring of American independence 246 years ago, we should lament the mythology about it created in 1863, and recall an older generation of 1787, a generation of noble men who comprehended fully well that a country based on egalitarianism is a nation where true liberties are imperiled and soon extinguished.

(Republished from My Corner by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: History • Tags: 4th of July, American Revolution 
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  1. From independence from Britain to subservience to Jews and their idols homos and blacks.

    Juneteeth is less about blacks celebrating their independence from slavery as their spiritual and sexual mastery over whites who are now enslaved and cucked.

  2. The Framers of the Constitution were horrified by “egalitarianism” and “democracy”

    There you have the reason why constitutional “originalism” is worthless, a smooth con job that is based in the utterly bizarre fairy tale that the founders (and their would-be imitators today) were the only rich men in history who were more concerned with other people’s freedom than accumulating more wealth. They were furious that their financial success could not buy their way to acceptance as equals by the home country’s hereditary aristocracy, who dismissed them as mere provincial parvenus. Lincoln’s revolution continued the work begun by Andrew Jackson, to infuse the founders’ elitist republic with genuine popular democracy, which the barons of the south and the merchant princes of the north had hated and feared from the start.

    There is one complaint in the Declaration that sums up a lot, that the King “sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.” These were agents of the English Board of Trade empowered with the necessary authority to put an end the widespread colonial practice of illegal smuggling. This is much of what it was about, the American elite feeling themselves victims of unspeakable tyranny when compelled to obey the laws that applied to all other Britons. And after a seventy year tax exemption, complaining about “taxation without representation” levied in order to pay the costs of their own defense was an absurdity – very few ordinary Englishmen indeed had their interests spoken for in Parliament in the eighteenth century. Yet they were the freest people on earth, blessed to be ruled by a limited constitutional monarch with their civil liberties spelled out in the Magna Carta and the 1689 Bill of Rights. In fact the catalog of King George’s alleged crimes in the 1776 Declaration reads rather like a parody of the list of offenses of King James cited in the 1689 document as reasons for his removal from royal power.

  3. As someone who no longer gets psyched about the fourth of July and considers the revolution itself unnecessary, that Declaration is founding documents describing who we desire to be. And unlike the silliness purported by many about

    “created equal”

    not really meaning equal, I think they mean what they said. That as to national identity and the laws, and even natural rights — men before them are in fact equal — that was the goal. It did not mean equal in income, abilities, but that each man subject to said standard would thus be so. That is essentially one of the main points for the war and the whine about the violation of rights and rights obliged in one state or community would not be so as applied among the colonies, i.e. jury trial, although the point of complaint was based on what might happen as opposed to some actual occurrences.

    when they said equal they meant equal, even if what that meant proved to be too inconvenient even for them.

    —————————-

    The hurdle which we have never really comprehended, is that instead of the case for equality, what the civil rights regarding the black population actually attempted to address is the inequality pressed against the black population uniquely or native americans uniquely. Of course the youth of the day think that it governments job to make things equal as a mandate in all things —-

    enforced slavery was an inequality pressed on them despite their being as human as the freed whites.

  4. Dr. Doom says:

    When in the course of human events, free men encounter tyranny from their would be government, they have the inalienable right to overthrow such malfeasance. The Second Amendment is the fact that the original founders foresaw a day when tyrants would again raise their ugly heads amongst the populace and such free men should have the means to overthrow these tyrants.

    The Zion Pigs are far worse than mad king George. Their suicidal breeding of savages and giving them license to kill and loot is a sign of their Satanic origins. Satan hates mankind and these meat puppets are merely putting through a plan for mass extinction.

    Globullism is a Suicide Pact. Its plan is for the destruction of the able and fit to breed an underclass of savage cannibalistic idiots to devastate and destroy everyone, including themselves. The Zion Pigs are already dead. Whether they destroy Western Civilization before they have their misshapen skulls bashed in by the would be brown slaves is the question.

    Which way, White Man? To the stars with White families. Moon bases, space stations and Mars colonies. Or mass extinction? This planet will be as dead and lifeless as Pluto if the Zion Pigs are not stopped and stamped out.

    Your first act should be getting behind a Real Pro-White Leader. Not some Zionist Buffoon like El Dumpo Trumpo or DeSantis the Hasbara loving imbecile. A Real White Man, with Real White Policies. Western Civilization First, Last and Always, without reservations. Someone the Lugenpresse calls “anti-semite”, “misogynist”, phobia this and phobia that.

    Secondly, cut off the parasites from your largesse. Shop local, boycott big business. Barter and trade with White people. Lower your “taxable-income”. Sabotage, subvert and smile. Do not assist, RESIST. Undermine the Zion Pigs and their debt slavery. Bankrupt them by not playing their games.

  5. anonymous[520] • Disclaimer says:

    Abraham Lincoln was a liar, a devious lawyer working for corporations, building an empire on treason and oppression of secessionists … however much human slavery was a crime, a mistake, an outrage

    But what is missing from the above is that the 1789 Constitution was already a partial sell-out of 1776 and 1783, and many warned about this at the time … even seeing in the weak arrangements a future judicial tyranny, with the Supreme Court morphing into an oppressive agent of oligarchy, under a cult of law, lawyers and legalism, a cult which Israel Shamir on this site has described as a very Judaic creation

    Those early USA Americans …. they were for sure raycisss, making a country for wypipo

  6. Brion McClanahan dicussing the phase “all men are created equal”:

    [68]

    I take it to be a repudiation of aristocratic privilege and the divine right of kings. In other words, a slap in the face for George III.

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