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Thomas Jefferson's pre-July 4th (1775) Declaration to Bear Arms | Revolution Now!

Thomas Jefferson's pre-July 4th (1775) Declaration to Bear Arms

Submitted by Freedomman on Thu, 06/29/2023 - 14:25

June 26, 2023 - Most people know Thomas Jefferson was the primary author of the Declaration of Independence. But how many know a year earlier, in 1775, he penned a U.S. Declaration to Bear Arms?

A year prior to Congress' adoption and ratification of the Declaration of Independence, the members were signing a declaration to pick up arms against England; and Jefferson was again the primary author.

Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence when he was only 33 years old, the youngest member of Congress. He penned the Declaration of Arms when he was just 32.

Jefferson's literary genius was apparent to John Adams, who described him this way in 1822: "Mr. Jefferson came into Congress in June 1775, and brought with him a reputation for literature, science, and a happy talent of composition. Writings of his were handed about, remarkable for
their peculiar felicity of expression. Though a silent member in Congress, he was so prompt, frank, explicit, and decisive upon committees and in conversation - not even Samuel Adams was more so - that he soon seized upon my heart."

History.com explained how on July 6, 1775, just a single day after our Founders issued their Olive Branch petition to King George III, Congress gave just reason for "the causes and necessity of their taking up arms". In it, they wrote they would rather "die free men rather than live as slaves."

Four months earlier, in April 1775, Patriot resistance and the "shot that was heard around the world" fired off in Lexington and Concord. Now, it was time for our Founders and Congress to square off against the king himself, so they initiated the Declaration of Arms.

It's official and lengthier name is, A Declaration by the Representatives of the United Colonies of North America, Now Met in Congress at Philadelphia, Setting Forth the Causes and Necessity of Their Taking Up Arms. It was primarily the work of Thomas Jefferson and John
Dickinson - the former wrote a first draft and the latter the final draft.

It is fascinating how the 1775 Declaration of Arms begins in much the same way as the 1776 Declaration of Independence, noting how human life and our unalienable rights are from God, and no man has the right to dismiss or usurp them.

Listen to how Jefferson began this other self-evident truth: "If it was possible for men, who exercise their reason to believe, that the divine Author of our existence intended a part of the human race to hold an absolute property in, and an unbounded power over others, marked out by
his infinite goodness and wisdom, as the objects of a legal domination never rightfully resistible, however severe and oppressive, the inhabitants of these colonies might at least require from the Parliament of Great-Britain some evidence, that this dreadful authority over them, has been granted to that body. But a reverence for our Creator, principles of humanity, and the dictates of common sense, must convince all those who reflect upon the subject, that
government was instituted to promote the welfare of mankind, and ought to be administered for the attainment of that end."

The Declaration of Arms then goes on to say that the Patriots labored in vain to negotiate peacefully with the Crown, though they would not give up continuing to try and do so.

"Fruitless were all the entreaties, arguments, and eloquence of an illustrious band of the most distinguished peers, and commoners, who nobly and strenuously asserted the justice of our cause, to stay, or even to mitigate the heedless fury with which these accumulated and unexampled outrages were hurried on."

Initially, inhabitants of Boston showed compliance, "having deposited their arms with their own magistrate," but it only led to the detainment of "the greatest part of the inhabitants in the town."

The consequences were dire. "By this perfidy wives are separated from their husbands, children from their parents, the aged and the sick from their relations and friends, who wish to attend and comfort them; and those who have been used to live in plenty and even elegance, are reduced
to deplorable distress."

So, because of the "oppressive measures," "several threatening expressions," "killings… hostilities," "butchering of our countryman," "our ships and vessels are seized; the necessary supplies of provisions are intercepted, and… spread destruction and devastation" by the Crown upon the "United Colonies," the "indignation of the Americans was roused."

From this point onward the Declaration of Arms follows Jefferson's solo draft. "We are reduced to the alternative of choosing an unconditional submission to the tyranny of irritated ministers, or resistance by force. The latter is our choice. We have counted the cost of this contest and find nothing so dreadful as voluntary slavery. Honor, justice, and humanity, forbid us tamely to surrender that freedom which we received from our gallant ancestors, and which our innocent posterity have a right to receive from us. We cannot endure the infamy and guilt of resigning succeeding generations to that wretchedness which inevitably awaits them, if we basely entail hereditary bondage upon them."

The following words are almost poetic in their passion: "Our cause is just. Our Union is perfect. Our internal resources are great, and, if necessary, foreign assistance is undoubtedly attainable. We gratefully acknowledge, as signal instances of the Divine favor towards us, that his Providence would not permit us to be called into this severe controversy, until we were grown up to our present strength, had been previously exercised in warlike operation, and possessed of the means of defending ourselves. With hearts fortified with these animating reflections, we most solemnly, before God and the world, declare, that, exerting the utmost energy of those powers, which our beneficent Creator hath graciously bestowed upon us, the arms we have been compelled by our enemies to assume, we will, in defiance of every hazard, with unabating firmness and perseverance, employ for the preservation of our liberties; being with one mind resolved to die freemen rather than to live as slaves."

Jefferson concluded, "In our own native land, in defense of the freedom that is our birthright, and which we ever enjoyed till the late violation of it - for the protection of our property, acquired solely by the honest industry of our forefathers and ourselves, against violence actually offered, we have taken up arms. We shall lay them down when hostilities shall cease on the part of the aggressors, and all danger of their being renewed shall be removed, and not before."

Is it any surprise that this Declaration of Arms combined with the Declaration of Independence would eventually lead to the Second Amendment of our Bill of Rights?

Those simple and succinct 27 words could not be any clearer: "A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

Again, could it get any clearer? "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

Tragically, more and more, constitutional pillars of American life and liberty are being attacked and abandoned, not only out of sheer bias but ignorance of America's Founders, the Revolutionary period, and our U.S. Constitution.

I don't think I've ever been as thankful for American freedoms as I am today. I must admit that I'm also appallingly alarmed by the onslaught of assaults that grow every year to strip us of them. Like a sunset dropping over the horizon of our Founders' dreams, so our freedoms are
vanishing from view. But that is what we must not let happen.

Legendary southern rock group, Lynyrd Skynyrd, which produced megahits like Sweet Home Alabama and Free Bird, put it well in their song (and album with the same title), God and Guns

God and guns
Keep us strong
That's what this country
Was founded on
Well we might as well give up and run

If we let them take our God and guns

Happy Birthday, America! God has certainly shed His Grace on thee!


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