Two hundred and thirty-three years ago, the men of the Second Continental Congress made a bold gesture as they sought to uncleave themselves from their ties with Great Britain. A gesture intended to convey that they were serious about the war that was already raging on the American Continent. A gesture intended to tell the world, and perhaps garner the support of other countries, that the American Colonies could not and would not continue to live under the yolk of a tyrannical King and Parliament.
A gesture that could cost them all, and indeed did cost some, their lives and their properties.
The Declaration of Independence was written primarily to formalize the decision to separate the colonies from British rule. It also sought to communicate the importance of concepts of liberty that were lacking in the current arrangement with the Britsh Monarchy. Subjected to Britain's control though they were, equal to other British Subjects living in the homeland they were not. Even in attempts to seek the kind of autonomy eventually considered standard within the British Empire were at that time brushed aside... self-government was not in the best interest of Britain at that time.
Many know that the original Jeffersonian draft of the Declaration included a statement that could not be agreed upon by the 13 "free and independent states"... that is, regarding slavery. Incredible that the words "...all men are created equal..." would remain in a document that could not hold the words:
"He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivatng [sic] and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. This piratical warfare, the opprobrium of INFIDEL powers, is the warfare of the CHRISTIAN king of Great Britain. Determined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought and sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce." (Washington State University Web Site: Original Draft of The Declaration of Independence)
But these and more words were removed by a Congress that was unwilling to do the right thing, as it would have an impact on the economy of some southern states.
So our beginnings were not perfect. We moved forward tolerating [...]