When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another. . .
Warm and respectful greetings on the occasion of the 21st anniversary of your Restoration of Independence from the former Soviet Union. As someone who has over the years come to have great affection and esteem for the Estonian people and their culture, courage and unconquerable sense of national identity, it seems only right that I find some sort of present to share with my Estonian colleagues and friends on this important occasion.
It took me some time to come up with what I now am happy to share with you. As I browsed my library this afternoon a bit desperate for inspiration I ran across a very short pocket-sized document that contains the text of our own “Declaration of Independence of the Colonies of North America, as originally drafted in 1776 by our later-third president, Thomas Jefferson. Reading it I was struck by the many parallels with our situations prior to your own hard fought independence twenty years ago to this day. What better present than to share this with you on this important day.
Since the full text of our Declaration is somewhat long, I have dared to extract the open and closing sections which to my eyes offer the message I wished to share with you on this important day. (If you wish the full test, you can find it in the Archives of the United States Government at http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration.html.)
The Unanimous Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen United States of America
Adopted by the Second Continental Congress meeting in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776
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 to 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 shown 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.
Nor have we been wanting in attention 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 the 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.
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The text of the Declaration of Independence was drafted by Thomas Jefferson, latter third president of the United States, with revisions and corrections by Benjamin Franken and John Adams, later the second president of the new country, and unanimously signed by fifty-six delegates of the thirteen colonies to the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776. The path to peace and full government for the new country was long and hard and it was only eleven long years later that The Constitution of the United States, the supreme law of the United States of America, was finally adopted in Philadelphia. And from there the rest is history..
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