The Cornerstone of Government
Government in any society is a complicated thing. In the United States, with our system of checks of balances between three powerful wings of central government layered on top of fifty individual state governments, each of which handles their checks and balances in an individual ways, our government which is summarized as “of the people, by the people and for the people” has become a phenomenally complex thing. After over two hundred years of history, it’s amazing to see that this government that rules the current America is still very much the product of those cornerstone documents that were written by the founding fathers, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and especially the Declaration of Independence. The national sense of self and that distinctively “American” personality is very much interwoven with the bold statements in these documents. For one thing, Americans have an intrinsic sense of their own rights and their ability to function separate from government. As such, government is never outside of the critical scrutiny of the people that it rules.
While this seems perfectly normal to the citizens of this country, it is uncommon historically where government ruled with virtual absolute authority and the people were subservient to their leaders. To an American, the ones they elect to serve work for the public. And if they ever forget that or appear to be attempting to gather more power than they are allowed, it isn’t long before the leadership of the country is replaced. This ability of the people to peaceably “throw the bums out” has kept government in check and constantly on edge for two centuries. And that is a good thing.
The Declaration of Independence would have to be considered a cornerstone of how our system of government works because along with independence from England, that document created a spirit of independence and pride in the American psyche that has influenced virtually every aspect of both public and private life. When America declared itself independent from England, it firmly entrenched into the soul of every American to never be dependent on any other country, government or ruler ever again. To an outsider, the fierce dedication to freedom and self determination that is so deeply entrenched in American culture seems peculiar. But that fundamental conviction that we are a free people, not just of tyranny from without but free of oppression from within as well affects every aspect of American life. That sense of self will and self awareness is what makes American music, movies, cultural life and art to exciting and addictive around the world. There was something buried in that bold declaration to the royalty of England that we would be an independent and free people that changed the personality of America forever. We did not just break away to be adrift from our point of origin, in this case The United Kingdom. Rather when we declared freedom, it was not just freedom FROM oppression and the dominance of government, it was freedom TO greatness that rose up out of the people, not from a government that was the keeper of the people. The Declaration of Independence accomplished it’s short term goal of changing the culture of what was happening on the American mainland from a bold act of colonization into an even bolder building of a new nation. But accomplished so much more by putting a determination in the heart and soul of every American to never again be subjects of a government.
Instead government in this new country would forever be the subject of the people, their servant and answerable to them. So Americans keep their government on a short leash, not the other way around. This is a revolutionary concept and one that has been working well for over 200 years becoming the envy of nations all around the world. PPPPP 644 .
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