“When in the Course of Human Events…”

CascadeNewLogo—A Declaration That Never Goes out of Style

By Steve Buckstein

Two hundred and forty years ago this July 4, the world was gifted with one of the most significant political documents ever written. It began with these words:

“When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another…”

Thomas Jefferson authored the Declaration of Independence to set out the reasons for the American people to “dissolve the political bands which have connected them” with Great Britain.

The Declaration also boldly stated:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, 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.”

Before the Declaration, individuals accepted that Kings would run their lives. Afterward, they realized that they could run their own lives. As more people around the world discover this fact, thank Jefferson for inspiring mankind with the ideas and ideals they can use to take their lives back from Kings.

This year, for example, the people of Great Britain have just voted to “dissolve the political bands which have connected them” with the European Union in what became known as the Brexit election. While that vote is causing political and economic uncertainty in Europe and beyond, Jefferson and America’s founders would likely understand the “causes which impel them to the separation.

Jefferson also realized that government and society are not synonymous. He argued that government’s purpose is to protect the inalienable rights of the individuals that make up society. He understood that such rights are not granted by government; and that any rights government does claim to grant are really claims on someone else’s right to life, liberty, or property. What would he think of today’s politicians—and aspiring politicians—in Washington, D.C. and Salem, Oregon who propose law after law ordaining right after right?

Jefferson also understood that he wasn’t elected President in 1801 to “run the country.” He was elected President to run the executive branch of a limited, constitutional government that coincidently he helped to create.

As we consider candidates for state and federal executive offices this year, remember that Jefferson might tell us we aren’t voting for any of these men or women to “run the state of Oregon” or to “run the country.” We are voting for individuals to run the executive branches of limited, constitutional governments. Outside those governments’ limited responsibilities, we should be free to run our own lives.

To reinforce these concepts, why not read the Declaration again this Independence Day and consider the power it had—and still has—to change our world for the better.

Steve Buckstein is Founder and Senior Policy Analyst at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization. He was named the 2016 recipient of the Thomas Jefferson Award by the Taxpayer Association of Oregon and the Oregon Executive Club.

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Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Federal Government, Government Overreach, Individual Responsiblity | Tagged | 16 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • thevillageidiot

    Not to argue the declaration here is an alternative to the history of the declaration by a historian and economist from an economics and marketing perspective.


    and just so you don’t think he is out in the weeds there is a similar argument about the true dates of the signing by all the members of congress.


  • Connie Kosuda

    why not take a few classes in a good law school and study constitutional law / maybe a way to have this conversation become a bit more rational .

    • Napoleon Bon Appetit’

      You’re mutton butt a leg of Madame Ovary, ewe Fr Revol lamb chop

  • 如果有一天,我潇洒死去,请记得,我来过这里!

  • DavidAppell

    “When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another…”

    Except for their “bands” to their slaves, huh Steve?

    Thomas Jefferson kept slaves. He kept people like animals. Even when he was horny and needed some, he still kept them shackled.

    And we’re supposed to laud Jefferson why?

    • Dick Winningstad

      The ignorant left always expects a light switch change in history. Instant nirvana does not happen. Too bad that is not the case, but it is not. Even the workers paradise of the USSR did not instantly come about. Jefferson’s writings were a great call for freedom that started the process to getting slavery removed from the country among other things such a establishing a country not run by a monarch, giving the vote to many more and…… eventually women. Perhaps you could read some of his writings and gain an appreciation of the man. A man that Pres. Kennedy felt was one of the smartest men to be in the office of president.

      • DavidAppell

        A “light switch change” is exactly what *should* have happened, as it should for all deeply immoral situations.

        Why didn’t it? Because some of the “founding fathers” were bigots and hypocrites, fine with giving people like them right but incredibly unable to treat their slaves with humanity.

        No excuses whatsoever — many founding fathers acted immorally.

      • DavidAppell

        PS: Anyone who writes something like “the ignorant left” isn’t much of a thinker, they’re just a reactor.

        Try to address the argument and avoid thinking in the lowest political terms possible.

        • Dick Winningstad

          Only in a liberal’s skewed imagination could things change quickly. I would ask Mr. Appell to show events that did change quickly, light switch shall I say.

          • DavidAppell

            Again you can’t refrain from your need to insult anyone who disagrees with you.

            Act like an adult, Dick. Then let me know when you converse in a reasonable, respectful manner.

          • guest

            Appell, your Dickie light remains stuck on idyl for a gnu whorl order.“` Go byte your bawls nearby a pride of lyins and hiatus bent on cleaning up after your morass.

          • Dick Winningstad

            Mr. Appell, your false sensitivity is getting boring. But let me ask you again. When has anything in history changed so quickly, like a light switch, as you demand of Mr. Jefferson?

          • DavidAppell

            Still stuck in Limbaugh-land, huh Dick?

            Can’t converse about about anything without labeling people you disagree with.

            Who taught you to do that, anyway?

          • Dick Winningstad

            Your false sense of hurt is boring. Now please show a major change in history, such as the elimination of slavery in a society, that happened overnight. Quit dodging the issue.

          • guest

            Punk R You, Appell, not unlike your fallow scofflaws incense bent on burning our sovereign nation into sum brick brackets of New World Odorization in league with ho’ else butt the Devil hisself.

        • guest

          DA, fanook ewe and your udder fallow sheeples still bowing toward gilded calves out Armageddon Way, Sodom, Gomorrah.

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