The Mission Statement

American Flag waving

American Flag waving (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

236 years ago a mission statement was issued. They didn’t use that fad term of course but, that’s exactly what it was. it was a mission statement for a revolution, indeed it was a mission statement for a whole series of revolutions extending down to the present day. Here it is.

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.

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. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

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.
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 dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of 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 convulsions within.
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.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

What did it all mean on that long ago 4th of July? Nothing, not a damned thing, it was just a revolt of part of the middle class in an unimportant colony.

But, through heartbreaking efforts and sacrifices they made their high-flown words good, against the greatest empire of the age, plus its hired mercenaries.

Thus was formed the United States of America and even more, the Free World itself.

Because from this mission statement came not only the American Revolution but, the French Revolution, the Russian Revolution, and the very quiet revolution in Great Britain itself as the common man took on the roles and responsibility that had belonged to the knights and squires of the country.

Thus was lit the fire of the torch of liberty, never extinguished since.

I’m sure that my readers in the Anglosphere will note that our grievances all were about the traditional rights of English freemen. That is the reason that the revolt was cast against King George III, who was more German than English, rather than the Parliament.

Nor is it to say that even in that day that the colonists were bereft of friends in England, William Pitt the Elder, and Adam Smith (whose Wealth of Nations was published that year also) come to mind.

Thus was fired the torch of Liberty that has lighted the path for us, the descendants of Rebels, and Rebels still, from that day to this, nor will we willingly see it change in the future, for if the torch is extinguished there will only be the darkness of tyranny.

I have not the words to describe my love of America but, luckily others do. Here is an excerpt from Cassandra of  Villainous Company,  who phrases it better than I could dream of doing.

We were the First. We are the guardians of the flame. Not perfect beings, but in all the world the only ones, it seems, still naive enough, still brave enough, still daring enough to put our money where our mouths are. We are the only ones who are still willing to defend the dream with our lives, our fortunes, our sacred honor.

Not all the time. Not in every single instance, because that is impossible. And honest liberals will admit that: in a universe with limited resources, choices must be made. But where we can, where it aligns with our interests and with the interests of the rest of the world: yes.

Our own Revolution was not without blemish. Innocent men were tarred and feathered. Families torn asunder. People bled, and suffered and starved. There was even [shudder] terrorism. But it lit a flame that has burned brightly for over 200 years. There are signs that this is happening in the MiddleEast: Arabs are looking at election day in Iraq and Afghanistan and demanding democratic reforms in Egypt and Lebanon and Kuwait. The fire in men’s (and women’s) hearts is spreading.

We would like certainty. We would like painless progress. We would like closure. We will not get any of those things.

On July 4th we must ask ourselves, what do we believe? Our military – brand new immigrants who enlist before the ink is dry on their visas – believe in those words so strongly that they will lay down their lives to spread the fire of democracy. They also believe (as I do) that their purpose is to serve American foreign policy aims, no matter how abstract and long-term they may seem. No matter how difficult to explain to the American people. No matter how frustrating in the short term.

What kind of world will we bequeath to our grandchildren? It may be that long before we know. But our actions today will have an incalculable effect on that far-off tomorrow. And if our policy is not firmly grounded in the spread of those long-ago words:

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…

…then I wonder if we shall not be the first Americans who fail to pass the blessings of liberty on to the next generation?

“The only thing necessary for evil to triumph. is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke.

Happy Birthday, America. May you always be great. May you remain a nation of thinkers, of dreamers, of believers, of doers; striving always towards our ideals without despising the imperfect means we use to achieve them.

But most importantly, may you never give in to cynicism and despair. In life as in sports, ninety nine percent of success lies in simply showing up.

I beseech and adjure you to read her entire article here.

Hey listen, the band is playing our song

The world knows that where that flag flies, there is liberty.

Happy Birthday, America, Press on, Continue the mission!

And we are proud to welcome our free brothers and sisters who have joined as well, to the mission, and the dream.

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24 Responses to The Mission Statement

  1. Excellent post, Nebraska. This July 4th, moreso than any in recent memory, is a “thinking” day, not just a fireworks, fun and “thanking” day. We are getting closer and closer to the abused state of our founder’s America.

    • Indeed we are, Freedom. If fact some say that by comparison, George III was relatively benign.

      A day to celebrate, and pray, and consider our duty.

  2. boudicabpi says:

    Reblogged this on Boudica BPI Weblog and commented:
    If we have an Obama 2nd term we will wish that King George III was back. Obama is destroying everything this nation was founded on.

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  5. JessicaHof says:

    ‘whenever government becomes destructive of these ends’ – a resounding warning. I have been reading a biography (ppj’s bookshelves are well-stocked) of Robert Taft, someone I had never heard of, and he was complaining in the late 40s and early 50s that the state was getting too big for its britches, and that the power of the presidency was growing over strong. The ideals of the Republic are bigger than any party or any government, and I hope and pray on this 4 July that your great nation re-emphasises its commitment to government of the people, by the people and for the people – not by the elite and for the wealthy.

    • Particularly since it is not only our right BUT our duty.

      Bob Taft is an interesting guy, one of the last of the conservatives before Goldwater, unfortunately being an ‘America Firster” killed his career, unless you’re referring to his Dad. the Chief Justice and President who negotiated the Washington Naval Treaties after the Great War.

      • JessicaHof says:

        No, it the Bob Taft you mention. I knew nothing about him, but ppj said it would be a good education for me on 4 July to read about an American who resisted the corruptions of power. I can see that in the early Cold War his views were not going to win out, but there seemed some prophetic things in it about the way that beefing up the power of the C in C might end up making an Imperial Presidency. Ppj says I am a Republican at heart – which is true :)

        • He’s not wrong but, about 15 degrees off. My read is that you’re more of what we call a conservative, ready to go back to the foundations of the Republic. Too much of the Republican Party (this includes Lincoln BTW) came out of the Whigs, which were never about small government.

        • JessicaHof says:

          I’ll put that to him when I take him his glass of wine in about an hour. He’s in the study now, writing. I wish I had his powers of concentration. It is too nice an afternoon. I am in the garden with my laptop and a bottle of ginger beer – bliss :)

        • It’s something that we’ve not yet really sorted out ourselves, Priorities, you know.

          We’re starting to talk a lot about the Ruling Class~Country class dichotomy, it applies mostly in the Republican Party, you see strong echoes of it on Rebecca’s Public Catholic as well.

        • JessicaHof says:

          Yes, I see that. I do admire Rebecca. I wish we had some politicians like her :)

      • Yes, I admire her greatly, as well. We have some, and are starting to generate more.

        I don’t know enough to comment intelligently about Britain but, suspect you do too but, if my understanding of their party discipline is correct, they have even less chance there. parties are very dangerous to freedom, as our Founder’s warned.

        I will have to admit to admiring Daniel Hannan quite a lot though.

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