On July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress issued its unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States of America. This document is a revolutionary manifesto declaring the causes impelling the colonists—our forefathers and foremothers—to wage a bloody revolution against England on American soil.
This was the birth of American democracy. It is as relevant today as a statement of America's core values as it was in 1776.
The colonists wanted to show the world they believed that all were created Equal and that everybody had rights to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. The Second Continental Congress declared that the function of Government was to secure these rights to the People. The role of government, the Congress said, is to secure those rights: equality, the right to live, to enjoy liberty and to pursue happiness.
The Declaration of Independence complains the King of England impinged upon these rights - rights with which we are each “endowed by our Creator,” - by the King’s various oppressions of the colonists.
The King harassed the People, maintained Standing Armies and made them superior to civilian authority, protected these governmental agents with rigged and phony juries, imposed taxes without consent or elections of representatives, deprived citizens of jury trials, and abolished local governmental power within the thirteen colonies.
In the blood of this controversy America was born and nourished. This revolution was a noble but nasty business—men and women were slaughtered fighting for the ideas expressed within the Declaration. Soldiers bayoneted men, women and children. Colonist were burned alive in their dwellings.
This is a huge and complicated story central to the development of Western Civilization. Within a decade the French Revolution followed toppling monarchy in France. This democratic flame engulfed most of Western and much of Eastern Europe throughout the 18th and 19th Centuries.
The American Revolution—officially beginning by Act of Congress dated July 4, 1776—in my opinion is the single most significant event in world history and the Declaration of Independence is the single most important document because it defines what American patriotism is.
On this holiday I hope you will take the time to think about Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness as it means to you. Speculate as to what it meant to the men and woman who politicized these concepts in 1776. These are monumental notions that deserve a national holiday. We should use part of that holiday to think about Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness and the Government's role in securing these rights to the People. We should take the time to read the Declaration of Independence and think about what it continues to mean to America and the world.
At Schwartz & Powell we have cases involving notions of liberty. The Declaration of Independence is at the center of what we do in our constitutional defense of criminal cases and prosecution and defense of civil cases. We will provide a spirited defense of any criminal matter or aggressive civil litigation for you or your loved ones. Call Schwartz & Powell, one of the best legal defense teams in Ventura County. Remember, Experience Matters.