The Declaration of Independence (July 4, 1776)
In 1776, the thirteen British colonies came together to initiate what was to become a new country, the United States of America (USA). Five people were chosen to write a document that would become the Declaration of Independence. These people were:
- John Adams, from the Massachusetts Bay Colony
- Benjamin Franklin, from the Province of Pennsylvania
- Thomas Jefferson, from the Virginia Colony
- Robert R. Livingston, from the Province of New York
- Roger Sherman, from the Connecticut Colony
The Declaration of Independence is a very inspiring piece of writing and document –
these key excerpts are taken from Wikipedia – Declaration of Independence
The preamble of the declaration is the best-known part.
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 and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
Simple English translation
We think these truths are obvious:
- That all men are created equally
- That their Creator gives them rights that cannot be taken away
- That these rights include the rights to life, freedom (liberty), and to follow your dreams
- That governments are created to protect these rights
- That governments have power only if the people they are governing agree that they do
- That whenever a government no longer protects these rights, the people it governs have a right to change or eradicate that government. They also have a right to create a new government that is more likely to protect their safety and freedom
- That governments which have existed for a long time should not be changed for small reasons. However, if a government abuses the people which they govern over and over again, the people have the right to get rid of that government, if they so choose.
Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Dedication Address – (November 19,1863)
Following the Battle of Gettysburg on July 1–3, 1863, reburial of Union soldiers from the Gettysburg Battlefield graves began on October 17. David Wills, of the committee for the November 19 Consecration of the National Cemetery at Gettysburg, invited President Lincoln: “… (to) formally set apart these grounds to their sacred use by a few appropriate remarks”.
Lincoln’s address that day, is thought by many today to be the most eloquent articulation of the democratic vision ever written:
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
The Gettysburg Address contains two simple truths – we must fight for them (by Martin Pengelly)
- The first is that “all men are created equal”.
- The second lies in Abraham Lincoln’s determination that
“… government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
This article published at Linked In provides some valuable insights based on Lincoln’s speeches to improve anyone’s speaking abilities. (by Chase Boni )
An Inspiring Writing List … Speeches, Documents … memorable and inspiring:
Rather than presenting these with full text in this site, use the list provided and follow links to be inspired …
|Dr. Martin Luther King –
“I Have a Dream” Speech
(August 28, 1963) Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
| Read it at the Yale Law School – Avalon Project