Michael Hamar

A Belated Independence Day Message from the Founders

Filed By Michael Hamar | July 05, 2010 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: anti-gay bigotry, anti-immigrant, Christianists, Declaration of Independence, Fourth of July, U.S. Constitution, white supremacy

Locally here in Virginia both the Virginian Pilot and the Daily Press - and I suspect many, many other newspapers across the nation - carried the text of the Declaration of Independence as their main editorials. The Daily Press also is carrying a number of letters and statements from individuals reverently considered among the Founding Fathers. The irony is that many of the concepts espoused in these writings are rejected daily by the far right GOP base and the Christianists who would rewrite history.

The most obvious part of the Declaration of Independence rejected by these self-anointed "patriots" is the following:

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.

These false patriots who claim to revere the founding principles of this nation would have everyone believe that all are created equal so long as they are white, heterosexual, non-Hispanic, non-immigrant, and preferably conservative Christian. Hopefully, those whom these individuals would exclude from equality will be inspired today to redouble their efforts to oppose those who would destroy the founding principles of this nation. While not available online, the Daily Press provides interesting insights with letters written by the Founders. Here is a sampling of highlights:

Benjamin Franklin in a speech to the Constitutional Convention on September 17, 1787: "most sects in Religion, think themselves in possession of all truth, and that wherever others differ from them, it is so far error. Steele, a Protestant, in a dedication tells the Pope that the only difference between our Churches in their opinion of the certainty of their doctrine is, the Church in Rome is infallible and the Church of England is never wrong. . . . I cannot help expressing a wish that every member of the Convention who still may have objections to it [the proposed Constitution], would with me, on this occasion, doubt a little of his own infallibility, and make manifest our unanimity, put his hand to this instrument."

Thomas Jefferson on funding public education and teaching science on January 6, 1816 in a letter to Charles Yancey: "If the legislature would . . . forever maintain a system of primary or ward schools, and a university where might be taught, in its highest degree, every branch of science . . . . If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be."

George Washington to the United Baptist Churches in Virginia on May 10, 1789: "For you, doubtlessly, remember that I have often expressed my sentiment that every man, conducting himself as a good citizen, and being accountable to God alone for his religious pinions, ought to be protected in worshipping the Deity according to the dictates of his own conscience."

Abigail Adams in a letter to John Adams on March 31, 1776: "And, by the way, in the new code of laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make, I desire that you would remember the ladies and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not out such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands. Remember, all men would be tyrants if they could. . . . . Men of sense in all ages abhor those customs which treat us [women] as the (servants) of your sex; . . ."

It takes little analysis to realize that those who oppose equality for LGBT Americans, look down on blacks and Hispanics with contempt, and who would force all citizens to live in accordance with one set of religious beliefs are the enemies of these founding principles of this nation. We owe a duty to the Founders to never let the likes of the Christianists, the white supremacists and others like them prevail in their effort to subvert the Constitution. Hence why I will always continue to tell the truth about such people and anti-democratic religious denominations even as they continue to lie about us and the true intent of the Founders.


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Brilliant piece to celebrate a belated Independence Day Michael. Take the Declaration of Independence as it is written and meant to be followed and every word is true. The problem is that isn't what the Christianists and the white supremacists ever do. They, as we've seen time and time again, come along, pull it apart and rearrange it into a whole new order where it makes the (incorrect)sense they want it to. And it's that reason we will all never agree. We're never working from the same text.

Michael don't get too carried away with superimposing 2010 perspectives on the eighteenth century. That constitution Franklin was advocating strongly for contained thhe following language in Article 1 section 2 ..."Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons."

It also required any slaves who escaped to states where slavery was illegal to be returned into slavery. That is in Article IV section 2 ...."No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, but shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due."

Oh, and Congress was forbidden from passing any laws restricting the importation of slaves until 1808.

Equality is best understood within its own time and culture.

Dan Massey | July 6, 2010 12:29 AM

You are quoting the Constitution. The founding document of our Republic is the Declaration of Independence, a cosmic-level declaration of the yearnings of humanity for the coming of a new age of liberty, freedom, justice, and equality. The Constitution is the mechanism by which it was eventually agreed to govern the affairs of the states. Note that our nation was governed under Articles of Confederation for many years before the Federal form of government was adopted and Washington elected President.

The Constitution is far from the best possible plan of social organization for implementing the vision of the Declaration. These major shortcomings were addressed through the Bill of Rights, which assured, more or less, that the ideals of the Declaration would be carried forward into the implementation and offset the basically oppressive character of the Republican Federation itself. Unfortunately, while the mechanistic aspects of the new Republic were fixed in the Constitution, this was relatively unimportant detail compared to the ideals of the Declaration, repackaged into the Bill of Rights, but set forward with no agreed arrangement for implementation.

And we've been fighting to get them to live up to their promises ever since we signed onto their system of oppression (I mean "government"). Why do we put up with it? I suppose because it has seemed to work well in many areas of life. Well, what do we do when something doesn't work where it needs to? We fix it.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | July 6, 2010 1:41 AM

And if we can't fix it we replace it like the generation of 1775 - 1783 did.

Dan Massey | July 6, 2010 12:34 AM

You are quoting the Constitution. The founding document of our Republic is the Declaration of Independence, a cosmic-level declaration of the yearnings of humanity for the coming of a new age of liberty, freedom, justice, and equality. The Constitution is the mechanism by which it was eventually agreed to govern the affairs of the states. Note that our nation was governed under Articles of Confederation for many years before the Federal form of government was adopted and Washington elected President.

The Constitution is far from the best possible plan of social organization for implementing the vision of the Declaration. These major shortcomings were addressed through the Bill of Rights, which assured, more or less, that the ideals of the Declaration would be carried forward into the implementation and offset the basically oppressive character of the Republican Federation itself. Unfortunately, while the mechanistic aspects of the new Republic were fixed in the Constitution, this was relatively unimportant detail compared to the ideals of the Declaration, repackaged into the Bill of Rights, but set forward with no agreed arrangement for implementation.

And we've been fighting to get them to live up to their promises ever since we signed onto their system of oppression (I mean "government"). Why do we put up with it? I suppose because it has seemed to work well in many areas of life. Well, what do we do when something doesn't work where it needs to? We fix it.

Also.... "Though elected by the United States House of Representatives, John Quincy Adams was the first president ever to be voted for by the common citizenry, as the 1824 United States Presidential election was the first in which all free white male citizens without property could vote (with the exception of 6 states)."

Note that common citizenry did not include women or slaves. I'm not sure about the voting rights of the GLBT community in 1824. I guess that would depend on which closet you looked into.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | July 5, 2010 6:50 PM

many of the concepts espoused in these writings are rejected daily by the far right GOP base and the Christianists who would rewrite history

The question is do the people in the far right GOP base and their marriage hating cousins in the Democrat religious base operate in a vacuum.

Or are they motivated and emboldened by bigots and bigot panderers like Bill Clinton, who signed and gloated about DOMA, and Biden, who voted for DOMA, and Bush who pushed for 40 state DOMAs and Obama who galvanized the bigot vote for Prop 8 and defeated same sex marriage in California.

None of these superstition driven late Republic, early Empire Presidents have an clue about what the origins of this country.


Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli states: signed by John Adams, second US President.

John Adams to Thomas Jefferson : From a letter to Thomas Jefferson: "I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved -- the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced!"

John Adams " "The Doctrine of the divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity."

From From Thomas Jefferson's Bible: "The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as his father, in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter."

"During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution." James Madison

Thomas Paine From The Age of Reason "I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of....Each of those churches accuse the other of unbelief; and of my own part, I disbelieve them all."

Excellent research Bill. What does it have to do with the establishment of the country where the only equal rights at the time were for free men who owned property?

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | July 5, 2010 7:51 PM

That should be obvious, Geena.

It goes to illustrate the differences between mean spirited, superstitious louts like Clinton, Bush and Obama and most of the leading lights of the first American Revolution, who for their day were quite radical.

But also very divided.

People like Tom Paine and many of the New England radicals fought for the interests of city dwellers, farmers and 'mechanics' - working people and for their elected democratic legislatures and courts. They objected to the anti-democratic acts of Parliament, unfair taxation and the quartering of troops in private homes.

Others fought to preserve the entrenched power of slave owners, northern 'entrepreneurs' - pirates, smugglers, tax evaders - and to continue Westward expansion at the expense of native nations, a policy the British forbade.

One of the key causes of the Revolution was the royal Proclamation of 1863. Already nervous about the rise of democratic institutions and the disobedient attitudes in the colonies, the English wanted to wall off the colonies and expand their own influence South and West from Canada at the expense of native nations.

"The proclamation, in effect, closed off the frontier to colonial expansion. The King and his council presented the proclamation as a measure to calm the fears of the Indians, who felt that the colonists would drive them from their lands as they expanded westward. Many in the colonies felt that the object was to pen them in along the Atlantic seaboard where they would be easier to regulate. No doubt there was a large measure of truth in both of these positions..."
http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/related/proc63.htm

Basically the Revolution was a fight between an emergent imperial power and a developed but vulnerable imperial power. Now of course the Brits are an American dependency.

Bill since you like history and politics here is a good read for you.

http://www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?storyId=126613316