This page needs to be proofread. Category : Not proofread. Views Read Edit View history. In other languages Add links. This page was last edited on 13 April , at That would be democratic, but it would tyrannical. The result of such changes, however, is not to be anarchy. There is no point in exchanging a system in which rights are denied through unjust power for one in which there is no just power. But the People are to establish the sort of government that they see as most likely to possess just power.
All of this is again obvious once the preceding is granted; if governments are instituted for a certain reason, then new ones can be instituted by the same process. We will later see this in the Constitution, where the framework of the government is only laid out after the Preamble tells us what the rest will be based on.
They can start from scratch, with the only rules being that the new government will be obligated to protect the rights of the people, and that it derive its powers from the consent of the governed. But it is the People who will decide the form of the new government; it is not to be imposed. But of course, when they realize the imperfections in the system they have set up, they still have the authority to alter or abolish it. 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.
They wish to show the world that they deserve to be treated seriously, as equal partners. 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.
This does two things. First, it restates what has been said before about the right of people to alter or abolish an unjust government. However, it does so in a far more emphatic way. It is no longer simply the right of the People to alter or abolish it ; it is their duty. And not only is the British government being destructive of the protection of rights, it is actively working against them, leading to absolute Despotism. Secondly, it signals a shift from the general to the particular. Before we have been talking about governmental theory, and we can do that in a restrained manner.
But now we are about to get personal; now we are about to show that the particular government under which the colonists have suffered is indeed the sort of government that has been condemned already in the Declaration. The next section of the Declaration will give evidence that such a design exists. 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. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid World.
Two things are going on here. First, there is a statement that the situation is an aberration. Secondly, it is the king who is being wrong. The next section is often skipped over when the Declaration is read. To the Founders, though, it was far from tedious. These were all things that offended them greatly, enough to make a treasonous document.
They were also things that they assumed would offend others, both Americans and British, as well as those from other countries. These offenses of the king were ones that the Founders believed put him beyond the rules of any civilized society. They can be seen as a negative speculum principi.
It is also a list of things that no true democracy will do, and is thus a guide to the sort of government the Founders will later set up. If it seems irrelevant to today, ask yourself, as you read it over, whether any of the things on the list have been done by the current administration.
Ask yourself what you would put on a list today.
See what the Founders considered to be acts which define a tyrant. What acts would you put on a list? 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.
These three can be summed up by saying that the king has taken the government upon himself. It is not in the hands of the People. 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 refused for a long Time, after such Dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of the 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 the Convulsions within.
By what authority does it do anything? Because it represents the People. 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.
This will be corrected under the Constitution by making the appointment of judges a joint venture between the executive and the legislative branches. In addition, judges will be appointed for life, so as to give them independence from the pressures of either of the other branches. This one always makes me giggle.
Standing Armies Until World War II the American army was a small one during peacetime, only augmented during war by calling up militias, asking for volunteers, and, when necessary, by the draft. It is unfortunate that since the end of that war we have had to have a large standing army of our own, due to our international commitments and the nature of modern weapons.
HE has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power. That this is not the case is one of the strengths of our system of government.
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Members of the military are required to swear an oath to support and defend the Constitution. One of the things I am proudest of is that I got to swear that oath. I consider myself still bound by it.
The civilian control of the military has been tested throughout American history. The most famous happened during the Korean War, when General MacArthur, commander of the allied forces in Korea, wanted to invade China.
The Declaration of Independence | Cato Institute
Truman did the only thing he could — he removed MacArthur from command. This was a very gutsy move; MacArthur was one of the most popular men in the country, both for his successes in Korea and for his victory over the Japanese in WWII. They say the same thing in different words, according to their different schools and opinions.
That is what theoreticians say. Most historians of religions agree that political despotism stems from religious despotism. Others say that, if one does not stem from the other, the two are at least brothers, having abuse of power as their father and supremacy as their mother, or, rather, twins, being united by the need to collaborate in order to subjugate men. The likeness between them consists in the fact that both exercise a form of power, one in the kingdom of bodies and the other in the world of souls.
However, Brahmins, priests, clergymen and other such figures watch over those gates and they do not allow people to enter paradise if they do not first both exalt those figures by humiliating themselves before them and enrich them with votive gifts and offerings in order to obtain forgiveness. In some religions, these guardians even claim to be able to prevent souls from meeting their Lord if they have not first collected from them the taxes that allow them to leave their tombs or be freed from purgatory.
They threaten them with calamities and punishments that could come down on them in order then to make them believe that the sole salvation and the only remedy consists in having recourse to the inhabitants of tombs,  who would have the familiarity, indeed the power, to protect people from divine chastisement! These same free thinkers claim that politicians build despotism on similar foundations. Indeed politicians, too, seek to terrorize people with their rank and their superior appearance and they forcibly humiliate them, extorting money from them until they obtain complete submission.
They enjoy them, then, as if they were flocks from which to draw milk to drink and meat to eat, animals to be used as beasts of burden and boasted about to others. These thinkers further maintain that the similarity between the two forces drags the common herd which constitutes the vast majority of the population to the point of losing any sense of the difference between God, who is legitimately adored, and a tyrant who is forcibly obeyed.
As a consequence, ordinary people think that they have no right to monitor the despot, because of the abyss that separates his loftiness from their lowliness. In other words, the common herd finds that the God it adores and the tyrant have many elements in common, in terms of names and attributes. Thus, they become one and the same thing, in its eyes. In short, all political scientists maintain that politics and religion march together and that reform of religion is the simplest, most effective and fastest route to political reform.
The ancient Greek sages were perhaps the first to take this road, i. They had the shrewdness to make their tyrants accept political participation, by teaching them the doctrine of participation in divinity , which they had taken from the Assyrians and then embellished with their own myths.
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The earth was to be administered like the heavens. And the kings were forced to give way, against their will. This was the most powerful means by which the Greeks finally succeeded in creating the republics of Athens and Sparta.