We Hold These Truths
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.
Preamble to the
United States Declaration of Independence
As drafted by Thomas Jefferson and
revised/approved by the Continental Congress
on July 4, 1776
When tasked by the Continental Congress to prepare a draft statement outlining the reasons for the drastic action they were about to take (namely declaring their independence from Britain), Thomas Jefferson summed it up quite nicely in only eight short words. We hold these truths to be self-evident.
What did he mean by those words? Let’s analyze the last two words separately and then together.
a person or thing referred to with respect to complete individuality
easy to see or understand; readily apparent; obvious
evident in itself without proof or demonstration
Now let’s examine the word, truth.
a verified or indisputable fact, proposition, principle, or the like
Anyone who has read enough of Thomas Jefferson’s writings would probably agree that he was known for choosing his words carefully. Mr. Jefferson, who would go on to become the third president of the United States of America, was a learned man and a thinker. He didn’t want to just write a “laundry list” of reasons for the United States’s declaring their independence. He wanted his words to provide “indisputable evidence” that justified the actions being taken by the Continental Congress.
By using the words self-evident and truth as justification, Mr. Jefferson was saying several things:
The reasons (for the actions being taken) were so “obvious” that it wasn’t even necessary to provide proof or demonstration.
These reasons were based on indisputable facts, propositions, and principles.
Anyone who disagreed with the actions of the Continental Congress must not be very astute. After all, these facts, propositions, and principles were so obvious that they were self-evident.
Americans, as individuals and as a group, had the right to think for themselves and to act in accordance with their own best interests.
In short, Mr. Jefferson contended that the very foundation and future of the United States of America was rooted upon one thing. That one thing was the concept of self-evident truths.
Personally, I believe the America our founding fathers helped create in the 18th century is in very serious trouble. I believe that if we continue on our present course of action, America, as we know it, cannot survive.
Despite that dire prediction, I believe there is hope. I believe it is not too late. If America is to survive the 21st century, it will be because the American people once again consciously choose to embrace the concept of self-evident truths.
In Part I of this book, I will lay out thirteen truths (one for each of the colonies) about America that I believe to be self-evident.
In Part II, I will discuss fifty vital questions about ourselves and our country that We the People MUST ask, and answer. It is in our answers that we will find the solutions to our problems.
If we do, there is hope. If we do not, all hope is lost.
Stanley F. Bronstein
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