By Justin B. Dyer, David L. Boren
The statement of Independence has been the topic of competing interpretations considering its adoption via the Continental Congress at the Fourth of July 1776, and for almost and a part centuries the political rules expressed in its preamble have encouraged reform pursuits either at domestic and in another country. From the early debates at the nature of the yankee Republic to abolitionism, progressivism, the civil rights flow, and modern debates approximately American monetary and international coverage, the assertion is, because it has been, a colourful and dynamic, notwithstanding perennially disputed, resource of yank beliefs.
The current quantity brings jointly a number of speeches and writings concerning the contested which means and legacy of the assertion of Independence, and a few of the records assembled jointly reveal how competing interpretations of the statement have formed, and been formed via, political clash in the US. The assertion could be our "national soul," as Charles Sumner wrote in 1860, yet american citizens have hardly ever spoken of it with one voice. American Soul: The Contested Legacy of the announcement of Independence paints, with wide strokes, an image of the debates that experience formed a nation.
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Extra info for American Soul: The Contested Legacy of the Declaration of Independence
All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. the general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view. the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of god. these are grounds of hope for others. for ourselves, let the annual return of this day forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them. I will ask permission here to express the pleasure with which I should have met my ancient neighbors of the City of Washington and of it’s vicinities, with whom I passed so many years of a pleasing social intercourse; an intercourse which so much relieved the anxieties of the public cares, and left impressions so deeply engraved in my affections, as never to be forgotten.
What is to be the future conduct of the United States, is a subject of most interesting inquiry . . Should the time ever come, when one portion of the union, influenced by a mistaken estimate of local interests, governed by false views and unworthy prejudices, shall entertain sentiments, and adopt measures hostile to the rights and liberties of another, should faction, seizing the high places of government, with the aid of a numerical majority, endeavor to give to usurpation and injustice the forms of law, should the spirit and design of the constitution be openly perverted to lend its sanction to these measures, should all reasonable means of redress prove unavailing, The American and French Revolutions 29 and such a course be systematically persisted in, nothing would remain to the injured party, but to prepare deliberately for the crisis, and to exclaim in the spirit of the declaration of independence, perish the union, perish the constitution, they have ceased to preserve our liberties and our rights.
To these maxims, adduced for this purpose, it would be sufficient to say, that they are repugnant to the British Constitution. But beyond this they are subversive of every actual or imaginable kind of Government. ” What difference these acute 16 A Short Review of the Declaration 17 legislators suppose between the laws of Nature, and of Nature’s God, is more than I can take upon me to determine, or even to guess. If to what they now demand they were entitled by any law of God, they had only to produce that law, and all controversy was at an end.