The most powerful words ever written

Published 9:50 am Thursday, June 30, 2016

Our 240th Independence Day is coming Monday, so this is great weekend for celebration.

It is, of course, an historic day for us, but it’s also an historic day for the entire world.

It made possible all the other democracies in the world and has brought freedom and liberty to not just we Americans, but to billions around the world because the Declaration of Independence gave moral justification for rebellion against a tyrannical, oppressive government.

Here are the first few sentences of the Declaration of Independence:

“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.”

Wow! It’s one of the most beautiful documents ever written and it set us free.

We have been celebrating our freedom for 240 years now and we have inspired most of world’s nations to seek their own independence and their own freedoms. They may not look like us – most have parliamentary governments and their own versions of liberty – but they got their ideas and inspirations from the Declaration of Independence.

We’re still working to perfect it, but we’re making progress. Who knew, with such a humble beginning that we’d become the most powerful nation the world has ever seen?

I’d like to see on this Independence Day….all Americans come together to celebrate the freedom, dignity, and liberty we do have rather than petty political bickering that we see too much of, especially in presidential election years.

Sorry, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Thomas Jefferson was the chief author of the Declaration of Independence, with the Second Continental Congress’s revisions before they voted to adopt it.

Enjoy your celebrations.


Keith Hoggard is a Staff Writer at Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact him at or 252-332-7206.