Documents Of America

America’s Birth Certificate

The United States of America was born on the Fourth of July 1776 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her name was used for the first time on the Declaration of Independence. Signed by 56 Founding Fathers, the Declaration of Independence severed all her political ties with Great Britian and staked her claim as a free and independent nation with power to wage war, negotiate peace, make treaties, establish commerce and do all other acts that independent nations have the right to do.

In the opening paragraphs our Founding Fathers told the British king that the people in the colonies were declaring their independence from Great Britian. The preamble laid out the principles of their new government, then the founding of them. For example: “No taxation without representation.”

In the conclusion of the document our Founding Fathers asserted their “divine providence” to be a free and sovereign nation.

The foundational principles of our nation today were laid out in the preamble of the Declaration. Here are those familiar words: “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…”

All people are born with equal rights given to us by the creator. These unalienable rights include a full independent life with freedom tempered by responsibility. They allow us to pursue happiness as we decide it for ourselves. Because these are not rights given to us by the government, the government cannot take them away. The government was established by the consent of the people to protect these rights. If the government fails to protect our rights, the people have the power to alter it at the ballot box or restructure it. (Note: Today we would restructure the government by amending the U.S. Constitution.)

Ben Franklin put it this way: “Every man … is of common right, and by the laws of God, a freeman, and entitled to the true enjoyment of liberty.”

Written by Lynn McGINNIS

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