On July 4th, 1776, our country’s Founding Fathers did something truly monumental. They signed an incredible document that declared America’s independence from the most powerful empire on earth. But it wasn’t just a declaration made to Britain, but one made to a whole world — a statement of freedom that would change the course of human history.
Here are five incredible things the document declared:
1. Every human has rights, and those rights are given to us by God: “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.”
2. People should only be governed by other men at their own consent: “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,”
3. The American government has a “reset button” in case it fails: “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.”
4. Mankind has the right to rise up the throw off the bounds of a cruel, totalitarian regime: “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.”
5. Governance from afar does not work. The Declaration lists dozens of grievances that America had with the way the King of Great Britain ruled over them from over 3,000 miles away.
Read the full text of the Declaration below, as provided by USHistory.org, on the NEXT PAGE.