The Declaration of Independence is just what the name says it is, the formal Declaration to England of our Independence. It opens with this statement:
“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.”
The Founders statements here are very direct and show their very strong feelings of where authority comes from. This is a very important point to recognize as it directs their actions throughout the entirety of the Founding Documents. They believe in the Laws of Nature and Nature's God. You WILL see this again many times.
So what was the point of the Founding Documents? What did the Founders intend for this Country to be?
By answering those two questions and understanding what the Founders wanted and intended, it then becomes our responsibility as citizens to decide if we want the same things. It really is that simple. Do we want what they wanted or not?
Let their own words tell you what their point and intent was:
"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 of 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."
In the most simplistic terms, what they wanted was protected INDIVIDUAL liberty and freedom to the fullest extent.
Please take a moment to reread those words from the Declaration of Independence. That one paragraph pretty much states everything the Founders were envisioning for this Country. Everything else wraps around and builds upon that.
These men were all very well versed in many things but mostly they were very well versed in human nature. They understood how people think, act, and react. They understood that our rights could not be given by government of any kind or those same rights could then be taken away by that same government. They understood that government, any government could rise to the point of being destructive of our “unalienable rights” and that the people alone must have the ultimate control of their government. They understood that government must be by consent, not force.
As you can see, just that one paragraph when read and understood, lays the groundwork for a government that is to serve the people, not the other way around. The government was established to protect our “unalienable rights,” protected individual liberty and freedom.
You also see a concept here that is foreign to many today. The concept that we created the government and therefore we can abolish it. Many would argue that we do not have that right, however, here it is in the Founder's own words, written directly into our Founding Documents. We the people are the creator and the government is the creature.
Hamilton stated in Federalist paper 33:
“… If the federal government should overpass the just bounds of its authority and make a tyrannical use of its powers, the people, whose creature it is, must appeal to the standard [Constitution] they have formed, and take such measures to redress the injury done to the Constitution as the exigency may suggest and prudence justify.”
Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Draft of the Kentucky Resolutions, 8th Resolution:
“… they [The States] alone being parties to the compact, and solely authorized to judge in the last resort of the powers exercised under it, Congress being not a party, but merely the creature of the compact, …”
James Madison states in the Report on the Virginia Resolutions (1799-1800) under the 3rd resolution:
“It…[is]…a plain principle, founded in common sense…and essential to the nature of compacts, that, where resort can be had to no tribunal superior to the authority of the parties, the parties themselves must be the rightful judges, in the last resort, whether the bargain made has been pursued or violated. The Constitution of the United States was formed by the sanction of the states, given by each in its sovereign capacity. … The states, then, being the parties to the constitutional compact, and in their sovereign capacity, it follows of necessity that there can be no tribunal, above their authority, to decide, in the last resort, whether the compact made by them be violated; … ”
As you can easily see, the Founders very much believed that the federal government was created by We The People. If that be true, then the creature is not greater than the creator.
That is an extremely important concept to grasp. That means WE are the ones with the power. We only CONSENT to the government what control over us we choose freely to give, which also means that we can at any time freely choose to take back that power.
With that said, they continue with that concept but give us guidance on how and when to use it:
“Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient Causes; and accordingly all Experience hath shewn, 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.”
So we should not use our powers to dissolve or act against our government on a whim. We must be “prudent.” In fact, as we see in our current situation, “...Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.” This explains why, as many ask today, we haven't already done something to stop our current, out of control government. Mankind is by nature slow to take such steps.
I will not cover the grievances listed in the Document but you would be wise to read and reread them. It's amazing how many of them are applicable to today.
At the end of the Document the Founders state clearly that they have petitioned over and over for “redress” which was ignored and therefore brought about the actions that the Founders finally took.
Following their leadership, this would be the proper way for us to retake control of our current situation. Petition for redress and then take the appropriate actions.