“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.”
—-The Declaration of Independence, authored by Thomas Jefferson, edited, ratified and signed by him, Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton, William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn, Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton, John Hancock, Samuel Chase William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll, George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Benjamin Harrison Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton, Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross, Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean, William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris, Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark, Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry, Stephen Hopkin, William Ellery, Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott
Ethics Heroes all.
Thank you, guys.
(You can read the entire document that changed the world…undeniably for the better…here.)
11 thoughts on “Ethics Quote of the Era: Thomas Jefferson and the Continental Congress of 1776”
“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.”
This gives me hope. Change is needed. Revolution Truth. http://revolutiontruth.org/about-us
Bravo! Let’s have the real text represented for a change. (And Fatty Moon, you’re clearly fomenting another revolution, am I right? If so, get your manifesto out there. Don’t just make inane and insurrectionist comments without explanation. This is the refuge of the moron…)
I was surprised (I admit my ignorance) by the sheer number of men (those were the times) who literally put their British citizenship, livelihoods, lives and families on the line to sign the Declaration. (In a proportional population today, how many “leaders” would do the same?)
Extolling this document may or may not have all the Founders (and John Quincy Adams was NOT one) rolling over in their graves, for a couple of reasons (among many others): (1) They had no idea that this simple statement of belief would give rise to the greatest nation in history; (2) They had no idea it would lead to seven years of war and bloodshed against the British to achieve its stated goals; and (3) they could never have conceived that these concepts, memorialized in the U.S. Constitution, would enable the US, Britain, and a host of other countries (176 years later) help put down two of the most evil empires in history.
This then is our history. World power? Yes indeed. Looking backward, isn’t it our responsibility to continue what the Founders (JQA NOT one) espoused?
Thanks, Jack, for making me reflect on this today.
Elizabeth, I readily cop to being a moron… this is why I dropped The Revolution Truth link… because it explains my revolutionary leanings well and succinctly, whereas I cannot. And, although I am indeed quite lacking in my thinking skills, I do remember being taught in third grade the difference between fact and opinion… “the greatest nation in history”… thanks for your opinion. I’m sure millions of others would agree with you. However, your statement remains an opinion. The fact is, there are other millions who would readily disagree with you.
I watch two movies every July 4th, Yankee Doodle Dandy, and 1776. Neither are historically accurate (and boy, does 1776 do a number on John Dickinson) but they sure capture the spirit of the day.
I love them both.
“1776” is also unfair to Richard Henry Lee, who was far from being a yahoo, and Judge Wilson, who was a substantive and distinguished patriot, and no nebbish.
Oh gosh, I forgot about Judge Wilson. When I was little I would watch 1776 with my mother, who would often prepare a quiz on the Revolutionary War for me to complete afterwards. She always hammered home how Judge Wilson got particularly screwed over, so I feel terrible that I forgot him just now.
“Sit down, John. Sit down, John. For God’s sakes, John, sit down!” Love that…
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Jefferson’s words- taken in full context and with a knowledge of the spirit of the times- is a testament for the ages. It’s why our Revolution worked, as so few have. But, like all movements in history, it’s only as good as the willingness of a free citizenry to appreciate it and, if necessary, defend it with their lives.
“I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretext of taking care of them”- Thomas Jefferson
Thanks for everything, Tom. Good work.