The American Theory of Government
The perpetually useful Instapundit linked today to an interesting post:
REMINDER: What the Declaration of Independence Said and Meant: It officially adopted the American Theory of Government: First Come Rights; Then Comes Government to Secure These Rights.
I almost said “Duh” and moved on, but then I reflected that my background in history and civics is far from a universal norm in these United States in the Year of our Lord 2022 (or as I think of it, year two of the Crazy Years). In light of which, let’s take a moment and review what was conventionally understood forty years ago.
What the Declaration of Independence Said and Meant
It officially adopted the American Theory of Government: First Come Rights; Then Comes Government to Secure These Rights
By Randy E. Barnett, The Volokh Conspiracy, reason
The Declaration of Independence used to be read aloud at public gatherings every Fourth of July. Today, while all Americans have heard of it, all too few have read more than its second sentence. Yet the Declaration shows the natural rights foundation of the American Revolution, and provides important information about what the founders believed makes a constitution or government legitimate. It also raises the question of how these fundamental rights are reconciled with the idea of “the consent of the governed,” another idea for which the Declaration is famous.
In 1776, there was slavery in every one of the 13 states. The adoption of the Declaration, and the public affirmation of its principles, led directly to the abolition of slavery in half of the United States by the time the Constitution was drafted just 11 years later…
Even if, like me, you find the above “self evident”, take a moment and click on through. Once you have done so please join me in the comment section to discuss the issue.