Sunday, July 04, 2010

Once Upon a Time...

...it was the custom for American citizens to read aloud, on this day, the document that started it all: The Declaration of Independence.

I think it's a terrible pity that the custom has long fallen out of fashion.

Whatever your politics, you cannot deny that the United States is in the throes of a painful identity crisis. Argument is rife as to what it means, exactly, to be an American.

This is not a political blog–heaven knows I don't have the brains or stomach for that*–but on this one day, I humbly suggest that as we collectively search for an answer we might begin by reviving the old custom.

Turn off your cell phones, your laptops, your iPads, your iPods, your Blackberries and your television, and read the Declaration out loud to your family, your friends, your cat–whoever's there. You may feel somewhat akin to a cornball for the first few lines (beautiful as they are) but the feeling (I promise you) will pass. (If you knit or crochet, feeling somewhat akin to a cornball is terra cognita, anyhow.)

As we try to reach a common understanding of who Americans are, and what America is, we can't do better than to return to the source. And we are singularly fortunate, as a nation, to have the source still with us.

Do you believe we're all created equal? Do you believe we are all entitled to certain unalienable (go look it up) rights, including Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness?

If so, perhaps we can agree–at least for the length of time it will take to read the Declaration aloud–that being American is less about one's color, or the color of one's state, than it is about buying into these very basic ideas.

Take it away, Mister Jefferson.

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 harass 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 benefit 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.

*I am so averse to political argument in social settings that I almost shut off the comment feature for this entry–until it struck me that this would be outrageously undemocratic. But hear this: keep your comments civil. And I mean on both sides. No cracks about anybody–not Sarah P., not Barack O., not anybody. If anybody starts anything, I'll delete comments with a tyranny so ruthless that it'd make George III clutch his stars and garters.

135 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you. Happy Independence Day!

Stacey said...

Thank you for posting this. It brought back memories of when I was eight and being at a family reunion on the 4th of July. When my older cousin read the Declaration of Independence, my grandfather teared up. He had come over from Germany after Hitler came to power. I will bring a copy to the cook out I am going to today and read it.

Roxie said...

Yayyy Franklin! Yay Jefferson! Yay Washington! Go America!!

Thanks, Franklin.

Betsy said...

my first thought too was Thank you Franklin...

Ellen S. said...

Thank you, Franklin. Our local newspaper publishes the Declaration of Independence every year, and I always read it, even if to myself.

Sarah said...

Hooray! Thanks for posting this; it is certainly still relevant. I will make sure my family members all get copies. Happy 4th of July to you. We need to keep the whole document in mind.

Thank you

amy said...

I love the Declaration of Independence. So bold. Upstart colonies. Love it.

Susan (and SmokeyBlue in spirit) said...

Thank you. It's been a very very long time since I read this or heard it. I agree with your sentiments entirely and will copy the Declaration into my blog for a few others to read as well.

Gina D. said...

Thank you for posting this. We need to be reminded where we came from and why we became our OWN country, instead of staying part of another.

mudmaven said...

I think your analysis is spot on - identity crisis indeed! What a great reminder of what this holiday should be about. Thanks Franklin! Happy 4th. ~chris

Pickyknitter said...

My cats and I thank you!

dora said...

Thank you for this post!

Valerie said...

Thank you. I was going to do this today as well, but you will reach a much wider audience. Maybe I will still do it....couldn't hurt to have many of us speaking as one voice.

Sharon P said...

After my recent visit to Williamsburg I found myself very interested in this period of history - for a corny but fun version of these events watch 1776 for a more serious version watch the John Adams Mini Series from HBO - both have some artistic license (well a lot in 1776) but the base history is correct and helped me learn more about the event leading to this fateful day - here is an interesting history tidbit for you, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on July 4, 1826, exactly 50 years to the day after they'd both signed the Declaration of Independence...

Thank you and Happy Independence Day!

--Deb said...

Amen, Franklin.

(Not, you know, to pull religion into this or anything.)

Jenipurr said...

My family always watches 1776 on Independence Day, so I guess that's our own little way of holding up the tradition of remembering /reading the constitution.

Thanks for this, Franklin.

Syd said...

I too am weary of Political bashing on both sides. Thank you for posting this. It is a wonderful reminder of something precious that we all have let slip from our memories. Truly, reading this aloud at Independence Day gatherings, small or large, is a tradition that we can all bring back with little effort.

Laurie said...

Amen...and thank you for this.

Ciorstaidh said...

From a Brit: we've had some bad guys, but George III was one of the worst and well done America for standing up to him, 234 years ago. (The one Fourth of July I spent in the US was near Cincinnati and I believe somebody recited the Gettysburg address. I kinda assume they recited the DofI too cos it wouldn't really fit otherwise...)

Happy Independence Day, Franklin and all Americans.

obsessmuch? said...

wonderful! thank you. we read it together here. as someone else said, it reminds me of the john adams mini-series, which brought a lot more weight to this for me

Amy said...

Happy 4th of July!

Isn't the Declaration of Independence a beautifully written document? Still relevant even today.

AsKatKnits said...

And the rich tapestry that makes up these glorious United States boldly says Amen, Bravo, Go US!!

Thank you so much for posting this!

And for those who want to have someone read the Declaration to them, npr.org has done exactly that, and wonderfully so!

Paul said...

Thank you, Franklin! Happy Independence Day!

Paula said...

Thank you for posting this. I'm embarrassed to say that I can't remember ever reading the entire Declaration of Independence. It's amazing.

Abbie said...

If we do not hang together, we shall surely hang separately.

Happy Independence Day, Franklin.

annie said...

Wonderful reading every time. Thank you!

KellyD said...

So ol'George was a cross dresser?* Garters? Sweet....lol
Happy 4th Franklin!!

*i know better

kejia said...

I've heard you as a guest host on Cast On and you have a beautiful voice. Next year, would you read it aloud, and post the mp3?

Kris said...

Happy Independence Day!

(from a friend north of the border)

Virginia said...

Thank you Franklin. I just read it to my 14yo daughter and her friend. They had American History this year in school and also took the trip to Washington, DC. They chimed in on parts that they had memorized. A good start to our day!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for a powerful reminder of our incredible heritage! We are the luckiest folks on the planet, regardless of our many problems, disagreements, etc. You hit the mark perfectly today!
Happy 4th to everyone.
Metta

AgTigress said...

From another Brit: while not defending George III in connection with the American colonies specifically, I really have to defend him from the general accusation of being a bad king and a bad person. He was neither of those things. He made a bit a snafu of the American problem, granted, but hey, it all worked out well in the end for you lot, didn't it? ;-)
And may I just say, Jefferson was a truly towering figure of the Enlightenment.

Crys said...

I love it. Thanks for the reminder of why we are American's and why we celebrate today. Also, why we should embrace our freedoms.

ikisti said...

Thank you Mr Franklin. I don't think I have read that document in whole since I was in school. It is a good reminder as to what this day of (loud) celebration came from.

So enjoy your day, and knit/spin/crochet on.

Leigh Witchel said...

If you REALLY want controversy, put up the Bill of Rights and ask for commentary. :-D

quietdanmn said...

Thanks for this post! Happy Independence Day! May it be filled with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness!

Gail said...

Great post Franklin.

The NY Times reprints the Declaration every year on the Fourth -- and every year I make my kids look at it.

Then they want to watch "1776", the musical. Which we have seen - live -- both semi and professionally... says that mother who has tried to instill a love of musical theater in her children, and succeeded with a Sondheim-loving teenager....

It never ceases to amaze me how brave the men now called "the founders" were, faults and all.

Thanks, and Happy 4th.

susan in dulwich said...

Thanks for this reminder - our forefathers and mothers sertainly were wise people.
Happy Independence Day to all

Panhandle Jane said...

Thank you for posting this. If you choose to look at my blog, you will find a link to Peggy Noonan's recent editorial in the WSJ which tells about a change to Jefferson's original document that I didn't know about that speaks to our relationship with the British people. I found it to be interesting.
http://www.panhandleknitandsew.blogspot.com

emily said...

The thing is.....well, here's the thing. I heard the DoI read aloud on NPR, and it also made me feel like this is a tradition that every American should get back to every year. But I don't read this document and feel all misty and patriotic, I read this and feel conflicted.

Because it's right up there at the beginning: "all men are created equal". As a woman reading this, I can't help but think.... what about me? And you could do the revisionist thing and try to explain that what the framers meant was "all mankind" or "all humans", but they didn't. They flat out did not. These grand ideals upon which our nation was based honestly believed that only men were created equal. If you want to read between the lines and further into history, you have to admit that the framers of our nation really only believed that white, straight men were created equal.

So I don't read the Declaration of Independence and think, "Yay us!"

I read the Declaration of Independence and think, "We can do better."

I am proud of this country because I know that we are already doing better, and I have great faith that we will be and do even better in the future.

I guess I just wanted to say that while I do think that reading this document is an important thing to do, what it makes me feel most is a challenge: to keep working to make this nation more worthy of the great love and respect that so many feel.

Beth said...

My thanks as well, Franklin. I'm not sure my cat got much out of it, but it's been years since I read it myself. I believe 8th grade was when we studied this, and since I'm ready for social security, you know it's been a while.

It never hurts to remind ourselves of the genesis of our country. While I consider myself a citizen of the world, I fervently hope that these words will someday apply to all creatures sharing this small planet.

Enjoy your day!

BalletMommy said...

Love you Franklin. You do our world, our country, a great service with this reminder.

chellebelle said...

Thank you.

Knitting Linguist said...

Thank you for posting this. I have not read the entire declaration for years and years. I sit here now, trying to grasp the almost unimaginable courage it must have taken for those men to sign this declaration, to stand on their principles in the face of desperate odds. I'll be reading this to my daughters today.

Tricia said...

Thank you for posting this, Franklin. I woke up to NPR reading the Declaration the other day, and it was a very moving way to start the day. Besides all the ideas expressed, which were a huge evolutionary step forward in terms of our collective conscious, I was struck with how very beautifully and elegantly these ideas were laid out, and what a huge contrast that is with how most ideas are put forth these days. It made me long for elegance and eloquence in our society.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, guy.

a bit of info... said...

Oh, to be able to write like that. The first paragraph just gives you chills, doesn't it?

Wonderful ideas and ideals, and would that more of us lived by them.

Lynn in Tucson said...

Thank you for that. Happy 4th.

Sioux B said...

Thanks, Franklin. It's good to know we can set aside at least some of our political wrangling, and even better to know that we can wrangle in public.

Carol said...

I agree with Emily. We've come a long way and have a long way to go.

Laia said...

I would read this out loud to my cat, but it might prompt him to revolt against me, since his pursuit of happiness involves endless food and sojourns in the great outdoors, both of which I forbid.

Thanks for posting this. Would that more people would just leave people to their own pursuit of happiness (so long as it isn't destructive).

paisleyapron said...

Thank you, Franklin. We read the Declaration every 4th of July and it has become a wonderful beginning of excellent discussions. This singular document was an incredible political catalyst. May it so be again to improve our country even more. If anyone is interested, David McCullough's book, "1776", was an excellent read.

Marcia said...

Several people mentioned that NPR staff read it aloud - here's a link if anybody wants to hear it:
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128242656

Marcia said...

Sorry, here's a better link to the NPR reading without a line break in the middle of the link:
http://tinyurl.com/2eznn7l

Anonymous said...

the bravery of these people is astounding.

thanks for the reminder.

marie in florida

MikeT said...

When I watch political bickering about rights and freedoms -- and there is a lot of it, especially where religion gets thrown into the mix, I cannot help but think that it feeds the darker, lesser side of our natures. And that side of us is insatiable: the more we feed it, the more it wants.

This is why it is good to be reminded of our better natures, that we have it in ourselves to do things because they are the right thing to do and not merely because they are to our benefit. That band of radicals who dared to stand up to King George III: history shows them in a favorable light because in the end they won, and it is easy to admire them for that.

But I think we should admire them more for having the commitment to do what is right, even at great personal risk. When they pledged to each other their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor, they thought that was what it was going to cost them for having the nerve to make that declaration.

And yes, we have a long way to go. But we can certainly *start* by trying to live up to the ideals laid out in the first few paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence -- especially if we understand Jefferson's "man" and "mankind" to mean all people, as he probably would have if he had been born in 1943 instead of 1743.

Roggey said...

Thanks for posting this, I've not read it over in its entirety since my US Government course in college 14 years ago.

Absolutely worth the time invested for re-reading it.

Anonymous said...

1) You want corny? When I read the DofI, I hear the Fifth Dimension singing in my head.

2) You are living proof that all men are not created equal, and thank goodness for that. It's our differences that give life texture. (Funny that there was the unalienable vs. inalienable dispute in "1776" but no one suggested "equivalent.")

Linda said...

Thank you, Franklin, for this powerful post! I'd never heard nor read the DoI before, not in its entirety. The reading brought home the point already made: as a nation we can, and must, do better. Some parts floored me, as I hadn't realized how much things change, yet stay the same.

Lois Evensen said...

Great post. Happy Fourth.

anne marie in philly said...

thank you, franklin.

spouse always watches "1776" today.

the building in which this historic document was accepted is still standing downtown. and the weather was just as hot then as it is today (96 degrees). ben franklin is buried mere steps from independence hall and the liberty bell. it started here, fellow citizens.

and I am very lucky to be born in this city and in this country.

now, can't we all just get along?

Anonymous said...

In addition to the Declaration of Independence, this is a good time to read the alternative media (blogs, etc.) about how the House has just "deemed as passed" the 2011 budget. This is unprecedented.

From Human Events:
The procedural vote passed 215-210 with no Republicans voting in favor and 38 Democrats crossing the aisle to vote against deeming the faux budget resolution passed. 



Never before -- since the creation of the Congressional budget process -- has the House failed to pass a budget, failed to propose a budget then deemed the non-existent budget as passed as a means to avoid a direct, recorded vote on a budget, but still allow Congress to spend taxpayer money.

And that's not a yarn. Gather your knitting needles, crochet hooks and fiber - we're in for a bumpy ride soon. Happy Dependence Day.

Katie K said...

Dear Franklin, don't be modest. You went to Harvard, so obviously you're smart enough to have a political blog if you wanted to. There must be other reasons.

Nonetheless, you do some great stuff.

cara said...

Thank you for this - I am a Canadian and my 9yr old daughter is American. I think it is a wonderful tradition to help her balance her American/Canadian roots.

nanaknits said...

Huzzah! Can't think of a better tribute to Independence Day.

Joy said...

the following sentence from the DoI hit me so strongly in middle school that it has been a guiding principle in my political action ever since:

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

Noel Lynne Figart said...

I suspect you and I may have different political views in some respects, but I am in wholehearted agreement that it would benefit this country mightily for us to reinstitute the custom of reading the Declaration of Independence every July 4th. I'm glad you came up with the idea and I'm going to pass it on.

Spiminarian said...

Thank you for posting this! I just got off of work, where we are having a massive 4th of July sale (a 5 day sale...) and was feeling very down on the subject. My neighbors have been shooting off fireworks since June, and I generally am not a fan of this holiday. But your post reminded me of the reason why we celebrate it. So, thanks.

knittinginatree said...

The Declaration of Independence was read aloud today in downtown Anchorage, Alaska. Unfortunately, I didn't get to hear it, but I'm glad to have read it here. Thank you.

mbcrui knitting olympics said...

It's beautiful. But it's always struck me as, after the beautiful 1st paragraph, a list of complaints.

We read the OTHER document, today. The one that starts...

We, the People, in order to form a more perfect union...

(Thinking about it, maybe we should read both).

Gayle said...

Thank you for posting this. This would be a great tradition to resurrect. I think America would only become greater and more as it once was if each year and maybe more frequently we took the time to read our founding documents and think about how we got here and how important it is to participate in our government paying attention to what is done in our, the people's, name.

Anonymous said...

One part of the Declaration leaves me cold -- the part about "merciless Indian Savages." It's a reminder that all people were not seen as equal at the time of the Declaration (as if the existence of slavery was not evidence enough).

Kay Verge said...

Canadian's don't have anything similar, but I think that it is a wonderful idea and agree whole-heartedly with what you're saying.

Happy Independence Day!

~ K from Canada.

knit happens said...

At church this morning I noticed that our Protestant-based hymnbook contained both "My Country 'Tis of Thee" and "God Save the King." Although the tune is the same the words are very different. Americans can become so enamored of royalty (or polical "royalty," of just celebrities) that we forget our independent ideals. The Declaration is not a perfect document but it reminds us to think for ourselves and have courage. Thanks for posting it.

Angela said...

I heard NPR's reading of it the other day--a remarkable document.

Marie said...

I read this (or at least the first few paragraphs) to my 9 year old and my 5 year old this morning, as I did last year. I told the kids we were starting a new family tradition. Reading it brought tears to my eyes, as it always does.

Charlotte said...

Thanks for posting this. As I read it through, I realized that the colonists were not new upstarts revolting. They had been putting up with this stuff since 1620 so it was time for them to speak up. If not then, when?

Judith said...

What a great document. I miss America.

woolandchocolate said...

Thank you for the wonderful reminder. We have an illustrated declaration for the kids and it really helped me understand better what it is really all about.

Plum Texan said...

Your tag put this over the top in awesome. Thank you for the reminder.

Lynda the Guppy said...

One of my all time favorite quotes about the Declaration of Independence was from the West Wing episode "Isaac & Ishmael".

Sam: Never has a war been so courteously declared. It was on parchment with calligraphy, and "Your Highness, we beseech you on this day in Philadelphia to bite me, if you please."

Thanks for reminding us how beautiful the Declaration is.

Anonymous said...

We took your suggestion and together our famiy read the entire Declaration...the PhD History father, the recently graduated History major & MSW wife, his MBA brother & MFA wife, and the the IT brother as well as assorted friends and family...the ensuing discussion ended at 3 AM. THANK YOU - we had a marvelous time! Jane

Carolyn said...

Thank you for reminding us what it's all about. Happy Independance Day, Franklin!

Julie Schuler said...

I told my kids it was America's Birthday. When they are older I'll read this to them.

Gail said...

I took a friend to the National Archives last month to see the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. They are just such amazing documents; it made us both cry to see them in person.

Claudia said...

This document, this, is one of the many reasons I wish I were an American. The rest of it, not so much, but this optimism, this hopefullness, this striving for a better future, is a curiously American trait that you should all be very, very proud of.

Hoping you had a peaceful, hopeful and happy Independence Day.

Spikey said...

I just love you even more now. Did not think that was possible.

That is all.

Archaic Dome said...

I don't know if anyone posted this or not, but Declare Yourself, as part of a get-out-the-vote campaign a couple years ago, put together a reading of the DoI that is unsurpassed. It's introduced by Morgan Freeman, and read by some big names- Kevin Spacey, Kathy Bates, Michael Douglas, Whoopi, Ed Norton, etc. It's absolutely staggering, and I watch it often. When I was in the Army, I had a tiny copy of the Declaration and our Constitution in my pocket at all times during my deployment.

link to youtube vid of the reading:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYyttEu_NLU

Eileen said...

Thank you.

Jen in Dovah said...

I personally think they stopped reading it aloud because they didn't know how to pronounce consanguinity. :)

Orrine said...

I have put this off for too long_ Franklin, I am a fan. Thank you for being a patriot- a real one.

Orrine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I read it aloud to my husband & son & finally the last bit, to myself. Thanks for posting this.
granjudy

sue said...

You will be happy to know, as am I, that the Declaration of Independence is read aloud at Independence Hall in Philadelphia each year on July 8th at noon. (Very moving, indeed!) This is the anniversary of when it was first read to the people of the US (took it a few days to get it to most of them).

Jo Skabo said...

Bravo, Franklin! And thank you!

Cindy AKA ChessWidow said...

Thank you for this reminder, Franklin. I love this country and am proud to be an American. I think we forget how much our ancestors went through to establish this country.

Seanna Lea said...

Happy 4th. I have an old dictionary that actually includes the full text of the Declaration of Independence. I really love reading it.

Alicia said...

Hear, hear and hooray to you for your post!! Reading the Declaration in today's context does give one pause to think where we are and from where we've come. Thank you.

Sandra said...

What a fabulous post. Thank you so very much.

soxanne said...

((())) Hugs for reminding everyone!

Mary said...

Thank You.

meezermeowmy said...

I'm proud to tell you that my grandchildren have grown up hearing this read (with proper ceremony) every year of their life...even when they were too little to know any of the words. My son-in-law is a peach!

The second part of their tradition is to watch "1776" together. "Sit down, John!"

MLJ1954 said...

Thank you. I haven't read it through since my high school government class, called, rightfully so, "We the People." As a major project for the class, we re-enacted the Constitutional Congress. I think it was the first and last time that the teacher did it. We actually did two ways. He had us do it as if we were in 1776, keeping in mind that slavery was alive and well in the colonies, along with the lack of women's rights and the fact that many of the people who lived and worked were indentured servants. And then, he let us have free-reign and do it again. This was 1972. We were in 12th grade and, for most of us, we were going to be the first group of 18 year olds allowed to vote. We convinced him to get us a field trip and as a group, we went to our board of elections and signed up to vote. Gosh. No wonder I still always vote.

Thanks Franklin. I am going to post the declaration on my blog as well.

Rach said...

I was able to listen to a reading of it on NPR. All their journalists did a section. It was very powerful and brought tears to my eyes. I realized how powerful this document was at the time. It inspired me as I'm sure it did our founding leaders

Niki said...

So often we hear or read just the first two paragraphs. Thank you for reminding us of the power of this document, more than 200 years after it was written. I pray can each live out the final sentence:

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.

Ruby said...

Thanks Franklin for providing us with the words of this document so that we can read it and ponder those great thoughts and words of our ancestors. It is amazing that the words of those days are still so appropriate to the days we now live in.

Cathy said...

Thanks Franklin
Spot on as usual!

Elysbeth said...

Lovely, As always a classic.

Patricia Meyer said...

Rather than read the Declaration aloud, I choose to watch 1776. This year our local semi-professional theater produced the play, so we saw the play, rather than the movie. If you have never seen 1776, slign on the Netflicks or goto your local Blockbuster and get it. While there is certain dramatic license in it, as in any similar drama, the basis of the musical is reasonably accurate history.

Christine said...

Happy belated 4th of July guys! I'm not saying I understand everything about what it takes to be an American (marshmallow that comes in a jar, being a case in point), but still, happy freedom from the English day!!!

Can you tell I'm Scottish? :o)

Karen said...

Franklin you made me cry.

I will confess to being a devout liberal BUT (and it's a big but) I am more devoted to a country where everyone's viewpoints can be heard and respected.

And thank you for keeping the comments turned on. A good fight is always more desirable than bad silence.

poodletail said...

Thank you, Franklin!

mrkite said...

Nice. I think maybe Canada needs a Declaration of Independence. We need something.

poodleaccountant said...

I have been reading a history of the English Civil War. It is interesting how closely the Declaration of Independence parallels the charges against Charles I.

Margaret said...

Thanks for a great post. And thanks for making me look up unalienable. I always wondered what that meant.

Katie D. said...

Thank you! Thank you! Franklin for President!

Hester from Atlanta said...

WOW! thanks for doing this. I haven't read the DOI in over 45 years - and then it was under duress. As Americans, I don't think we always realize how lucky we are to live here and the freedoms we have. Best - Hester

Bonnie (Knitsiam) said...

Long time reader (I've gone back to day one); first time commenter.

Powerful. Thank you.

Diane said...

If you read up on the signers of the Declaration of Independence, many of them suffered tremendously for the cause they believed in. It's good for us to be reminded of that.

Also, let's remember that when this country was born, slavery was perfectly legal and the idea of suffrage for women was considered absurd. We're a work in progress, slow though that progress might be.

Teresa said...

Franklin, I've read several Independence Day blog posts, but yours by far is the BEST! You took the time and energy to educate us fellow Americans and remind us what the colonists fought and died for. Bravo, Franklin. You rock!

texasdawn said...

Thank you, Franklin. This was truly a watershed in human history to assert rights from our Creator that no other human can take from us. As inadequate as some might find this Declaration, this notion was frankly a Revolution in human thought.

Maureen said...

I have never read this in it's entirety, so thank you for posting it - (I'm Australian).

Flavaknits said...

"...mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor." How beautiful a thought is that! How much better in action! Mx

KarenJ said...

This is when I miss being in the U.S. the most. (Not just that but it's also my birthday and I don't get fireworks overseas. How's that for a whine?) Thank you,
Franklin!

Julia G said...

Happy 4th of July! A great reminder to appreciate our freedom and opportunity, and to remember the hardships the colonists endured. Thanks!

Epenthetical said...

I hadn't read this in a while, and had forgotten just how much of it was influenced by John Locke. Also, I'd forgotten the list of grievances against the king. No wonder the revolution happened.

kathy said...

Thank you, dear Franklin, for posting this miraculous document. It was inspiring to read. And I find it happily ironic that your name (well at least your first name) is also that of one of our brightest founders.

Liz said...

Thanks for posting that; some of the Tyrannies are still frighteningly relevant.

Anonymous said...

I'd rather be here than any other place I have or haven't been. Thanks for the reminder.

Liza the Blogless

jlr said...

I grew up hearing this read aloud by the folks at NPR. It just isn't a Independence Day without it.

I'd much rather folks do a reading of this very document, or perhaps the Bill of Rights, than simply wave flags. It's much more meaningful.

Thanks for posting this.

Beth said...

*LOVE*

Thank you for this post, Franklin! This is one of the few I see regarding INDEPENDENCE DAY, rather than 4th of July. I made a similar post in 2008: http://crossedpurposes.blogspot.com/2008/07/july-4-2008.html

~Beth

Amberlee said...

So when are you knitting the shawl that has this woven into it??????
Huggs

diane_s said...

I am an ex-pat , living in Australia for many years . These words still give me goose bumps . The courage and foresight of these men was amazing . I think kids should be taught , as we were , to read them aloud .

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