Would You Sign It?

From an Advo­cates for Self Gov­ern­ment newsletter:

Dear friends,

I recent­ly came across a neat Web site I’d like to share with you.

It pos­es a dra­mat­ic question:

Would you sign the Dec­la­ra­tion of Independence—knowing, as the Found­ing Fathers did, that doing so would brand you as a trai­tor and put your life at risk?

Would you pledge—in the words of the Declaration—your life, your for­tune, and your sacred hon­or to the cause of liberty?

A web­site main­tained by the Nation­al Archives and Records Admin­is­tra­tion (NARA) gives you a chance to pon­der these questions—and actu­al­ly “sign” a repli­ca of the Declaration.

NARA, a fed­er­al agency, describes itself as “Amer­i­ca’s nation­al record keep­er,” and says its mis­sion is “to ensure ready access to the essen­tial evi­dence that doc­u­ments the rights of Amer­i­can cit­i­zens, the actions of Fed­er­al offi­cials, and the nation­al experience.”

At NARA’s site, you have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to actu­al­ly sign the Dec­la­ra­tion of Independence—using a cyber “quill” pen.

You can then print out a copy of the Declaration—with your quill-pen sig­na­ture along­side the orig­i­nal brave Signers.

I urge you to give this a try.

Sure, it’s fun. But it’s more than that.

I found the expe­ri­ence sur­pris­ing­ly mov­ing. Before you sign, the web­site asks you to real­ly con­sid­er the doc­u­ment you are signing—and to eval­u­ate what risks and com­mit­ments you are will­ing to assume to fight for liberty.

Take the oppor­tu­ni­ty to con­sid­er the word­ing of this his­toric doc­u­ment. Jef­fer­son accom­plished two vital things in the writ­ing of the Declaration.

First, he stat­ed, in glo­ri­ous and immor­tal lan­guage, the ideas that are the essence of libertarianism:

“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…”

Sec­ond, Jef­fer­son pro­vid­ed a list of spe­cif­ic griev­ances against King George, in order to jus­ti­fy the forth­com­ing revolution.

It is sober­ing to reflect on that list, in the light of recent trends and cur­rent events:

“He has erect­ed a mul­ti­tude of New Offices, and sent hith­er swarms of Offi­cers to harass our peo­ple, and eat out their substance…”

“For impos­ing Tax­es on us with­out our Consent…”

“For depriv­ing us in many cas­es, of the ben­e­fits of Tri­al by Jury…”

“For tak­ing away our Char­ters, abol­ish­ing our most valu­able Laws, and alter­ing fun­da­men­tal­ly the Forms of our Governments…”

Read­ing the Dec­la­ra­tion reminds us that we stand on the shoul­ders of giants—and that the strug­gle for lib­er­ty they began con­tin­ues today.

Let’s hope the NARA Web site brings these insights home to mil­lions of people.

You can reach it at: http://www.TheAdvocates.org/declaration.html

Cyn is Rick's wife, Katie's Mom, and Esther & Oliver's Mémé. She's also a professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
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