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We Hold These Truths to be Self-Evident. . .

This month marks, as it does annually, the observance of the Nation’s founding with a document known popularly as, The Declaration of Independence. The correct title is: The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America.[1]

Thomas Jefferson, consider final author of 'The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America.' With regards to revolution, Jefferson once observed, '. . . the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.

The spelling is as it appears; but, of greater significance, the implications. Thirteen autonomous entities or colonies, which jealously guarded their political make ups, traditions, social structures, economies, coming together for common purpose; that is, to evict what is considered an oppressive overseer, the British crown. Not only are the fifty-six signers proclaiming their divorce from an affiliation with the globe’s ranking imperialist power, but it is also a declaration of war, against that colonial power; in addition, to offering that these thirteen separate entities are states that comprise the United States of America. For those attempting to do the math, that is eleven years before the Constitution and attendant Bill of Rights: The former was the blueprint for limited, elective, Republican government;[2] while the latter outlined the protections against the infringements by government. Indeed, the constant refrain, across the spectrum of the American population, including most elected officials, that this nation has a form of government that appears nowhere in the Constitution, “Democracy.” Go look, you will not find same.[3]

Same disregard exists with The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America. Go to any gathering, outing or family picnic in July and this document and the hallowed precepts contained therein are routinely subsumed by beer, beans and baseball. Yet . . .

. . . what has been relegated to sheer invisibility, is the document which came out the year before Jefferson’s handiwork. A document from which he borrowed heavily for the roster of grievances justifying the colonists’ separation from the crown. The early effort was longer, more militant, which means it was more to the point. It was a document that was grasping the reality of the political situation as it was evolving. It is important for the reader to understand, that the Revolution was preceded by civil war, “Patriotic” colonists versus Tories/Loyalists, a struggle that will continue throughout the Revolution. Unfortunately this aspect of the People’s War in early American history is virtually ignored. Yet the lessons of America’s People’s War could have provided lessons into the American failure in Vietnam.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America. Note John Hancock's signature, penned in large enough fashion so George III could read same.

The document in question appeared July 6, 1775, signed off on by John Hancock, then President of the Continental Congress. Title: The Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms. No nonsense, straight to the point.[4] As stated:

“In our own native land, in defense of the freedom that is our birth-right, and which we enjoyed till the late violation of it for the protection of our property, acquired solely by the honest industry of our forefathers and ourselves, against violence actually offered, we have taken up arms. We shall lay them down when hostilities shall cease on the part of the aggressors, and all danger of their being renewed shall be removed, and not before. . .

“Such terminology displays unequivocally that for the growing ranks of the patriotic colonists, the time for talking, the time for taking to the streets, the time for writing letters to the editor are over. The time has come to grab a rifle and kill your fellow man . . . which, as history has shown, was the correct and proper course to take. Or as Lenin will later observe, “An oppressed class, if not making the effort to learn to wield arms and to obtain them, only deserves to be treated as slaves.”[5] Of course, there is our own Thomas Jefferson, with his peerless ability to wield the English language, “ . . . the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.”[6]

Endnotes

[1] Thomas Jefferson from Virginia is considered the principle author. But he was part of a Committee of Five accorded the task of penning such a document, which included, Ben Franklin from Pennsylvania; John Adams, Massachusetts; Roger Sherman, Connecticut and Robert Livingston, New York.

[2] The Founders proclaimed this Nation as a Republic, opposed as they were to Democracy. Read the Founders’ writings. Indeed, you will find that they are exquisite examples of the proper use of the English language. The writings of the Founders are more than windows into the Nation’s history and politics, they are also an English class. Compare same with some of the emails you receive.

[3] Article IV, Section 4, the United States Constitution: The United States shall guarantee to every state in this union a republican form of government. . .

[4] Considered authors of The Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms, Thomas Jefferson, Virginia and John Dickinson, Pennsylvania.

[5] See page 98, Chapter III, “Our Party Has Successfully Led the Building of the People’s Revolutionary Armed Forces,” People’s War, People’s Army, by Vo Nguyen Giap.

[6] See page 8, “Thomas Jefferson,” Wit and Wisdom of the American Presidents, edited by Joslyn Pine.

Bibliography

Giap, Vo Nguyen, People’s War, People’s Army, Frederick A. Praeger, Inc., New York, NY., 1962.

Pine, Joslyn, editor, Wit and Wisdom of the American Presidents: A Book of Quotations, Dover Publications, In., Mineola, NY., 2001.

Robinson, Kirk Ward and Eaton, Christopher, Founding Character: The Words & Documents That Forged a Nation, Roan Adler Publishers, Nashville, Tenn., 2003.

Vidal, Gore, Inventing a Nation: Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Yale University Press, New Haven, Ct., 2003.