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The Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of Independence has absolutely no force of law as binding authority in court. 

The Declaration has enormous force as persuasive authority in court.

These sentences, while seemingly pitted against one another, are both true.

Why do we have a government?  What are the legitimate purposes of government?  When does government overstep its authority?

All these questions are addressed in the Declaration of Independence.

When our Founding Fathers declared in 1776 that they were throwing off the reins of British authority, they took the time to explain why they were doing so.  That explanation is the Declaration of Independence.

      The most striking thing about the Declaration is its emphasis on Liberty.  The Declaration makes clear that the reason we threw off British rule was to protect our Liberty, and therefore all government action in the United States is—or should be—viewed through a lens that says “The reason we have a government is to protect our Liberty.” 

      Therefore, any government action or law that infringes on our Liberty is inherently suspect.  I daresay such government action or law should be scrutinized in an exacting fashion with a presumption that it is illegitimate.

      The Preamble to the Declaration of Independence is one of the loveliest works of persuasive writing in human history.  It also is one of the most influential pieces of literature in human history.

The Preamble reads,

      “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.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.”

Official Transcription of the Declaration of Independence:


“No representation is made that the quality of legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.”

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