We the People: The Impulse Behind the Founding of a Nation
The following is a translation of the historical impulse that gave birth to the new republic of America:
When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for a people to assert its right to freely exist as an independent society, unhampered by restrictions by a governmental authority that is far away and that does not have its best interests at heart, then it behooves that society and that people to express, in words that are clear and cogent, the reasons for its removal from the authority which it has labored under. This removal, rather than being an act of defiance and provocation, is an act of self-affirmation and of positive movement toward a future in which the governed shall govern their own communities and society, and in which the voice of the people shall be heard.
There can be no just government without this kind of representation and without this kind of flow between government and governed, and to this end the Republic of the United States of America must seek to separate itself from the ruling authority of Britain, whose history, culture, purpose, and expectations are very different from our own, and who, in the opinion of many, hold and seek to perpetuate policies that are deleterious to the wellbeing of the newly-founded communities of this young Republic.
We ask the people of the world who observe this time with us, to rest assured that we are not making a declaration against monarchy or against any other kind of leadership or rulership that works effectively and justly to serve the needs of the people. We are stating an underlying principle firmly, clearly, and with specific intention, namely, that government must proceed with the consent of the governed in order to be just, and that the process of representation of those who are governed by those whom they choose to represent them is an essential and critical part of any just and stable society.
We ask the people of the world to recognize our newly burgeoning efforts at self-government and self-representation, so that we may join with other peoples in common purpose, and so that we may create communication with our neighbors and friends that may be mutually beneficial. The fact that we are newly founded and are an offshoot of a nation with a great and proud history, does not mean that we must be identified solely with these historical roots. Rather, we seek to be identified on our own terms in relation to what we can offer to others at this point in time, and what others can offer to us. We extend our hands in friendship to the peoples of the world who seek justice and freedom for their societies and peoples, and declare that we will not rest, we will not lower our advancing interest in liberty and justice, until every citizen of this newly founded Republic of America shall feel that they are adequately represented in a government of their choosing, and that their voice can and will be heard. It is only by bringing ultimate authority of choice back to the people who are governed that a truly democratic society can exist, and it is with this aim in mind that we set forth these principles today, that shall henceforth be known as the Declaration of Independence.