“We hold these truths to be self-evident …”
What is it that we consider self-evident?
That women should have the right to determine the course of their lives? Or that the life of the unborn must be defended?
What about gun rights? How far do they go?
There’s more to that memorable sentence in the Declaration of Independence, signed 237 years ago today: “… 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.”
In all, there were 1,458 words in the declaration that were great in theory, but they weren’t enough.
Consider: 11 years later, the nation’s leaders realized that the loose confederation of states wasn’t working.
They met and penned a 4,543-word constitution that began: “We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union …”
The U.S. Constitution outlined the government, but there were cries that unless specific freedoms were outlined, there would be tyranny.
Two years later, 12 amendments were proposed. Numbers 1 and 2 failed, but 3-12 became the Bill of Rights.
There were more amendments, and historic laws. We became engaged in “a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. (Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg)
And 237 years after that day in Philadelphia in 1776, we continue to debate what is life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Today, the Beacon Journal gives voice to a diverse group of people from the community who epitomize the American experiment in freedom.
They are advocates for truths they hold self-evident.