The Last Line in the Declaration of Independence

Much is made of the beginning of the Declaration of Independence. They are stirring 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 and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

We propose some humility is required in interpreting Thomas Jefferson’s powerful words. If all men and women are created equal, then all are entitled to be included in “the People.”  The idea of “the people” cannot be exclusionary.  All Americans are and must be included.

In this light, no one unhappy faction can, by itself, claim the right to revolution. There is indeed a natural right to revolution but it must be a choice put to all of the people to decide upon. 

We ask you also to read the last line in the famous declaration with the understanding that the word “we” include all Americans:

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

We propose it is an American value to consider every citizen in this country to be as worthy of our support and protection as any other, whether they uphold our political views or not. 

Remember too the famous saying “United we stand, divided we fall.”  

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Art credit: John Trumbull, 1817-19

Revised February 4, 2021.

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