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Defending the Declaration!

Updated: Dec 25, 2023

By: Cynthia Dunbar


Our Nation Dissolves If It Dissolves

If the Declaration is dead or even irrelevant, then the U.S.A. no longer exists. That’s a factual reality. And yet, most of us do not understand how, if at all, our Declaration of Independence has any impact on our nation today.

I’ll never forget when I was touring Independence Hall in Philadelphia 10 years ago. The federally paid and trained Park Tour Guide explained, “The Constitution of the United States replaced the Declaration of Independence.” I gasped audibly.

With such beliefs being taught and promoted by our own tax dollars, it is no wonder that Americans have lost the meaning and importance of our Declaration of Independence.  We celebrate July 4th but never truly grasp that this is not just a historic remembrance, but it is in fact our nation’s Birthday. Yes, our nation was birthed on July 4, 1776, when we declared to the world that we were casting off our identity as a colony of Great Britain and were instead creating one new nation.

This means a lot of things; for example, the Constitution did not, of course, replace the Declaration of Independence, but rather the Articles of Confederation. It means that the Constitutional Convention was not about creating a nation, but rather preserving our union. That the convention was a call to preserve our union was underscored by John Jay, our first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, as clarified in Federalist 2. Oh, and it also means that George Washington was not our First President, but more on that later.

I like to clarify the relationship between the Declaration and the Constitution through a simple metaphor. If you view the creation of our new country as if we were creating a new entity, like, say, a corporation, then it becomes clear. The Articles of Incorporation are what create the new entity, and the Bylaws are what governs that entity. So, our Declaration created us as a nation, and the Constitution is the rule of law that governs that nation. In short, you cannot do away with the Declaration without dissolving our nation. So, why is that so important? Well, it is hugely important.

This means that just like bylaws cannot conflict with their articles of incorporation, the Constitution simply cannot be interpreted in any way that would conflict with the Declaration...EVER! That the Declaration created us a nation is affirmed by the Constitution itself when acknowledging, “in this our 12th year.”  The founders were counting inclusively from July 1776 to September 1787, meaning they understood our nation to be within its 12th year of existence. Since the Declaration formed us as one nation, it cannot be forgotten, ignored, or even preempted by the Constitution. John Adams confirmed that you cannot rightly interpret the Constitution without the Declaration.

I am driving this point home because it is majorly impactful if we are to understand our Constitutional Republic and its underlying rule of law. The Declaration makes some very bold assertions. It tells us that we created a nation and established its government relying upon the foundation of the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God. According to Sir William Blackstone, the preeminent jurist of the day, that meant we created our nation by pursuing the will of our maker as revealed in the holy scriptures. Wow, right?

But it goes on. It affirms that everyone at their point of creation, aka conception, possesses certain God-given rights that not only can the government not take, but for it to be a legitimate government, its whole goal is to secure those rights. Now, think about that for a minute. So that would mean that things like the unalienable right to life, and liberty, or freedom from slavery, are God-given rights at the point of conception that everyone has, and the role of government is to protect those rights.

So, how could the issue of slavery ever have been an issue for the states, with some states being free and others not? Clearly, that is lunacy and a flagrant denial of human rights. No state could ever deprive its citizens of their unalienable right to freedom.

Now, let’s repeat that same question only with another issue. How could the issue of abortion ever be an issue for the states, with some states allowing people to be deprived of their unalienable right to life, and others protecting those rights? Again, clearly, that is lunacy and a flagrant denial of human rights.

So, what does that mean? It means, that the right to life from the point of conception has always been a Constitutional Right. The Constitution could not be interpreted in any other way without directly conflicting with the Declaration of Independence. And we already explained why this is something that it simply cannot do.

Hopefully, it is clear then that when we celebrated July 4th, we were really celebrating our nation entering its 248th year of existence. We were celebrating God giving us a nation whose rule of law seeks his will. We were celebrating the reality that life, from the point of conception, is an unalienable right that all governments, federal, state, and local, must protect if they are to be legitimate. And I believe we were celebrating the fact that the same way God miraculously and providentially enabled us to become a nation, so too is he moving to preserve our nation!

Oh, I almost forgot, so who was our first President? There were 14 men who led prior to Washington, starting with two men, Peyton Randolph and Henry Middleton, who oversaw the Continental Congress in 1774. But, since it was the Declaration of Independence that first declared us a nation, neither of those men was President of the new nation. That means that the person who was President of the Continental Congress at the time we declared ourselves to be a nation was, in fact, our first President.

That man should be burned into our memories by his willingness to boldly sign the Declaration, an act of treason, knowing full well that he was pledging his life, fortune, and sacred honor. His was the sole signature with affirmation by the Congressional Secretary. As the document was sent around, this new President was hopeful that others would follow suit and add their signatures to his. In short, our first president was the first person to place his John Hancock on the Declaration. This is why his signature is so much more prominent than the others who signed later. Now you know. The first person to serve as President of our new nation was indeed John Hancock.

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