Tag Archives: Declaration of Independence

New study finds ordinary Americans have no impact on public policy

Click pic to enlarge!

9-12-2009 march on WashingtonPhoto by Michael A. Beck

Do you remember the Tea Party March on Washington, D.C., of Sept. 12, 2009? At least a million marched, but nothing changed.

A new study confirms our frustration at making ourselves heard. We ordinary Americans have a near-zero impact on public policy, which instead is controlled and determined by monied élites.

Wynton Hall reports for Breitbart, Aug. 12, 2014, that according to the study by Princeton University Professor Martin Gilens and Northwestern University Professor Benjamin Page, titled “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens,” which will be published in an upcoming issue of Perspectives on Politics, corporate interests and mega wealthy individuals control U.S. policy to such a degree that “the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.”

You can read an early draft of their study here.

Noted American University Historian Allan J. Lichtman highlighted the piece in a Tuesday article published in The Hill. Lichtman calls Gilens and Page’s research “shattering” and says their scholarship “should be a loud wake-up call to the vast majority of Americans who are bypassed by their government.”

Gilens and Page’s statistical research looked at public attitudes on nearly 1,800 policy issues and determined that government almost always ignores the opinions of average citizens and adopts the policy preferences of monied business interests when shaping U.S. laws.

The study’s findings align with recent trends, where corporate elites have aggressively pursued pro-amnesty policies despite the fact that, according to the most recent Reuters poll, a bipartisan 70% of Americans believe illegal immigrants threaten the U.S. economy and our traditional beliefs and customs.

Gilens and Page propose that the solution is a reinvigorated and engaged electorate because “If policymaking is dominated by powerful business organizations and a small number of affluent Americans, then America’s claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened.”

Declaration of Independence

238 years ago, the Declaration of Independence was the clarion call of a populist revolution to install “a government by the people, for the people, and of the people.” The Declaration declared that:

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.

So is the Declaration’s promise a chimera? Given the Gilens-Page research findings, what do we do? Do we give up and sink into apathy, thereby ensuring the élite’s grip on power? Or do we harken to Thomas Jefferson’s undying words:

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.

See also “A message for apathetic Christians and Conservatives.

~Eowyn

The first Fourth of July

Today, July 4, 2013, is the 237th anniversary of America’s Declaration of Independence.

Most of us have the day off from work, celebrating the holiday with a barbecue or picnic, unless you’re in one of the states that’s suffocating in the extreme heat or threatened by wildfires like Arizona.

But the best way to celebrate the day is by remembering that first Fourth of July in 1776, when 56 men convened in a hot stuffy room in Philadelphia to deliberate on and sign the Declaration of Independence.

There are 3 parts to this post:

  1. An evocative narrative of that day in 1776.
  2. What happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration.
  3. The Declaration of Independence.

The Americans Who Risked Everything

by Rush H. Limbaugh, Jr. (father of talk radio titan Rush Limbaugh, III)

It was a glorious morning. The sun was shining and the wind was from the southeast. Up especially early, a tall bony, redheaded young Virginian found time to buy a new thermometer, for which he paid three pounds, fifteen shillings. He also bought gloves for Martha, his wife, who was ill at home.

Thomas Jefferson arrived early at the statehouse. The temperature was 72.5 degrees and the horseflies weren’t nearly so bad at that hour. It was a lovely room, very large, with gleaming white walls. The chairs were comfortable. Facing the single door were two brass fireplaces, but they would not be used today.

The moment the door was shut, and it was always kept locked, the room became an oven. The tall windows were shut, so that loud quarreling voices could not be heard by passersby. Small openings atop the windows allowed a slight stir of air, and also a large number of horseflies. Jefferson records that “the horseflies were dexterous in finding necks, and the silk of stockings was nothing to them.” All discussing was punctuated by the slap of hands on necks.

On the wall at the back, facing the president’s desk, was a panoply — consisting of a drum, swords, and banners seized from Fort Ticonderoga the previous year. Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold had captured the place, shouting that they were taking it “in the name of the Great Jehovah and the Continental Congress!”

Now Congress got to work, promptly taking up an emergency measure about which there was discussion but no dissension. “Resolved: That an application be made to the Committee of Safety of Pennsylvania for a supply of flints for the troops at New York.”

Then Congress transformed itself into a committee of the whole. The Declaration of Independence was read aloud once more, and debate resumed. Though Jefferson was the best writer of all of them, he had been somewhat verbose. Congress hacked the excess away. They did a good job, as a side-by-side comparison of the rough draft and the final text shows. They cut the phrase “by a self-assumed power.” “Climb” was replaced by “must read,” then “must” was eliminated, then the whole sentence, and soon the whole paragraph was cut. Jefferson groaned as they continued what he later called “their depredations.” “Inherent and inalienable rights” came out “certain unalienable rights,” and to this day no one knows who suggested the elegant change.

A total of 86 alterations were made. Almost 500 words were eliminated, leaving 1,337. At last, after three days of wrangling, the document was put to a vote.

Here in this hall Patrick Henry had once thundered: “I am no longer a Virginian, sir, but an American.” But today the loud, sometimes bitter argument stilled, and without fanfare the vote was taken from north to south by colonies, as was the custom. On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was adopted.

+++

The Fate of the Signers

Even before the list was published, the British marked down every member of Congress suspected of having put his name to treason. All of them became the objects of vicious manhunts. Some were taken. Some, like Jefferson, had narrow escapes. All who had property or families near British strongholds suffered.

Of those 56 who signed the Declaration of Independence, nine died of wounds or hardships during the war. Five were captured and imprisoned, in each case with brutal treatment. Several lost wives, sons or entire families. One lost his 13 children. Two wives were brutally treated. All were at one time or another the victims of manhunts and driven from their homes. Twelve signers had their homes completely burned. Seventeen lost everything they owned. Yet not one defected or went back on his pledged word. Their honor, and the nation they sacrificed so much to create is still intact. [from "The Americans Who Risked Everything"]

+++

The Declaration of Independence

The Want, Will and Hopes of the People

IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

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.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

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

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

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

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — 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.

John Hancock

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts:
John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Connecticut:
Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York:
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey:
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania:
Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Delaware:
Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Maryland:
Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia:
George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina:
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Georgia:
Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

Statue of Liberty in tears

On this 237th anniversary of that first Independence Day, I am filled with a profound sadness. How far America has strayed from the vision of the Founders….

May God have mercy on America.

~Eowyn

The Fate of the 56 Signers of the Declaration of Independence

The Fate of the 56 Signers of the Declaration of Independence

July 4, 2007 by Michelle

0px583canbwgo8cawqg78aca28nhk1caqjeb5fcaau7l80ca8x5tiecaj7s4brca39n8rqcamgm61dcanxp7cbcad5dkmaca11xunbca2swlc4ca6t3sx4carbtqrwcacey09rcaxb12a3ca4g0vzw.jpgA friend of mine sends me this e-mail every Fourth of July.  It’s worth remembering.  This is the kind of leadership and citizenship we need if our nation is to survive:

Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence?

Five signers were captured by the British as
traitors, and tortured before they died.

Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.

Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary
Army; another had two sons captured.

Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or
hardships of the Revolutionary War.

They signed and they pledged their lives, their
fortunes, and their sacred honor.

What kind of men were they?

Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists.

Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well educated.

But they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.

Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and
trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the
British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.

Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.

Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of
Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward,
Ruttledge, and Middleton.

At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson JR, noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.  Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed.  The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.

John Hart was driven from his wife’s bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives.  His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished. A few weeks later he died from exhaustion and a broken heart.

Norris and Livingston suffered similar fates.

Such were the stories and sacrifices of the American Revolution.

These were not wild-eyed, rabble-rousing
ruffians.

They were soft-spoken men of means and
education. They had security, but they valued
liberty more. Standing tall, straight, and
unwavering, they pledged: For the support of this declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of the divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.They gave you and me a free and independent America.

The history books never told you a lot about what
happened in the Revolutionary War.

We didn’t fight just the British.

We were British subjects at that time and we fought our own government!

Some of us take these liberties so much for granted, but we shouldn’t. So, take a few minutes while enjoying your 4th of July holiday and silently thank these patriots. It’s not much to ask for the price they paid.

Remember: freedom is never free!

H/T to Michelle St. Pierre and The Reagan Wing

~LTG

You can read a fuller and very moving account of what happened to the 56 signers and their families, here.

~Eowyn

We Need a Businessman in the White House

Too Many Career Politicians and Not Enough Businessmen In Washington.

After seeing the disastrous fiasco that has taken place over the last two and a half years and over the course of other administrations, I’ve become a firm believer that career or professional politicians are absolutely ruining this country. After watching Herman Cain mop the floor with the other GOP candidates at the first Republican debate, I say a successful businessman is the way to go.

Herman Cain has proven, at least to me that he has what it takes and it make no difference to me that he has not held public office before, in fact that is one of his endearing factors. He is someone who brings a fresh perspective to the mix. He is a decision maker, he has been an executive and he has been successful. He has managed people and turned a failing business around, he is in my opinion the best choice for chief executive.

Let’s face it, the founding father’s were all businessmen of one type or another and they penned the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. They took an idea, a dream and turned it into an independent nation, the most powerful nation on earth.

Herman Cain is a relative unknown now but in the months to follow I hope his name will be on everybody’s lips, we need a man like him to turn things around and with the exit of Trump and Huckabee and with Gingrich, Romney and Paul imploding things are looking better for this true Conservative.

~Tom in NC

Obama Forgot The Creator, Again

He just can’t help it.

Try as he might, Obama just can’t help forgetting and leaving out our Almighty God.

Back in 2009 and again in 2010, Obama left out the phrase “endowed by their Creator” from the Declaration of Independence. After much negative publicity in the blogosphere, Obama made an effort to get it right during the last couple of months in 2010.

Alas, the recovery was brief. The other night, April 21, 2011, he did it again while speaking at a mega fundraiser to supporters in San Francisco:

The America we know is great not because of our skyscrapers or the size of our GDP. It’s because we’ve been able to keep two ideas together at the same time. The first idea is that we are all individuals endowed with certain inalienable rights and liberties; that we are self-reliant; we are entrepreneurs. We don’t expect others to do for us what we can do for ourselves, and we don’t really like people telling us what to do.” (Laughter.)

Blogger Consigliere5 found another example of Obama’s Omission this month on the White House website. Obama was speaking at yet another fundraiser in Navy Pier, Chicago, on April 14, 2011: .

“It’s not the size of our skyscrapers. It’s not the size of our GDP. It’s the fact that we’re able to keep two ideas together at the same time: One, that we’re all individuals with — endowed with certain inalienable rights and liberties….”

Umm, Obama, endowed by whom? I sure hope you’re not so grandiose you think it’s you?

H/t new fellow Consigliere  :D

~Eowyn

Obama Left Out Creator, Again

The first time, it’s an accident. The second time, it’s intentional.

~Eowyn

Obama Again Omits ‘Creator’ When Speaking of ‘Inalienable Rights’ Cited in Declaration of Independence

By Terence P. Jeffrey – CNSNews – Sept 27, 2010

Just seven days after he sparked controversy by omitting the word “Creator” when he closely paraphrased the passage from the Declaration of Independence that says all men “are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights,” President Barack Obama again omitted the Creator when speaking about the “inalienable rights” that “everybody is endowed with.”
This time the president was speaking at a Sept. 22 fundraiser for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City, and his reference to “inalienable rights” was not as close a paraphrasing of the Declaration as it had been the week before.

“And what was sustaining us was that sense that, that North Star, that sense that, you know what, if we stay true to our values, if we believe that all people are created equal and everybody is endowed with certain inalienable rights and we’re going to make those words live, and we’re going to give everybody opportunity, everybody a ladder into the middle class, every child able to go as far as their dreams will take them–if we stay true to that, then we’re going to be able to maintain the energy and the focus, the fight, the gumption to get stuff done,” Obama said at the DCCC/DSCC event, according to the transcript posted by the White House.

Speaking at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s Annual Awards Gala on Sept. 15, Obama had left out the word “Creator” when otherwise virtually quoting from the Declaration of Independence. “We hold these truths to be self-evident,” Obama said at that event, “that all men are created equal, endowed with certain inalienable rights: life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That’s what makes us unique.”

[...] On Fox News on Sept. 20, Bret Baier reported that the White House said the president had made a mistake when he omitted the Creator from his citation of the Declaration of Independence at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute dinner. The “White House,” Baier reported, “said that President Obama went off script and adlibbed when he made that mistake.”

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute dinner, however, was not the first time President Obama has omitted mention of the Creator when speaking of the “inalienable rights” cited in the Declaration of Independence. He has also published official presidential proclamations that take this approach.

On Sept. 17, 2009, for example, Obama issued a “Constitution Day and Citizenship Day” proclamation that mentioned man’s “certain unalienable rights” but not the Creator who endows man with them. This proclamation was issued in both Spanish and English—with neither versions mentioning the Creator.

[...] On Feb. 2, 2009, Obama issued a presidential proclamation for “National African American History Month” that mentioned “certain unalienable rights” Obama said “we all are endowed with” but did not mention the Creator, who, according to the Declaration of Independence, is the grantor of those rights. “The ideals of the Founders became more real and more true for every citizen as African Americans pressed us to realize our full potential as a Nation and to uphold those ideals for all who enter into our borders and embrace the notion that we are all endowed with certain unalienable rights,” Obama proclaimed.