It doesn’t matter that no one knows how and when to assert their rights under the 3rd Amendment to the Constitution. It probably does matter that not a lot of people can name the five rights contained in the 1st Amendment, can you?
Let’s remember that the 4th of July isn’t a constitutional celebration. It does matter that our Declaration of Independence was signed by 56 very brave individuals who stood to lose everything they had, including their lives.
The Constitution is America’s fundamental law but not its first law. The Declaration appears on Page 1 of Volume 1 of the U.S. Statutes and is at the head of the United States Code. Every state’s admission has been conditioned on the adoption on a constitution consistent with the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration. The Declaration of Independence was signed July 4, 1776 and the Constitution of the United States and the first Ten Amendments were eventually ratified on December 15, 1791.
The Declaration of Independence contains ideas that were new and radical at the time. Probably the most radical idea was that governments derive their powers from the consent of the governed. There wasn’t a king or queen in the world that governed by the consent of those governed at the time our Declaration of Independence was signed.
The idea that people have rights such as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness seem obvious today but these ideas were unheard of at the time the Declaration was signed. There was a big dispute over the idea of the pursuit of happiness. Probably the foremost philosophers of the day believed that people would pursue happiness just as water runs downhill. The central idea of those inalienable rights that was left unstated was the right to own property.
Those 56 men who signed the Declaration did so with a firm reliance of protection of divine Providence and mutually pledged to each other their lives, fortunes and sacred Honor.
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