Re: the significance, if any, of the Declaration of Independence

Michael Lorrey (
Tue, 10 Mar 1998 18:59:34 -0500

Anton Sherwood wrote:

> > Reilly Jones wrote
> > > The D of I is America's Articles of Incorporation, the Constitution is
> > > merely its By-Laws. The By-Laws have no meaning without organic reference
> > > to the Articles of Incorporation. When the Supreme Court makes decisions
> > > that are cut free from the D of I, it is acting as a law unto itself with
> > > no legitimacy at all, simply brute force *if* it can get the executive and
> > > legislative branches to acquiesce.
> The Declaration never had any force of law. It can be referred to as
> a source of information about what the Framers might have meant by
> "proper" or "reasonable" or "rights retained", but it's not privileged
> in that respect.
> It's great for hitting Big Brother with the hypocrisy stick, though.
> "A government which still celebrates the anniversary of a document
> condemning certain practices, has embraced many of those practices..."

Indeed, and now the text of the D of I is merely fodder for the favorite T-shirts of
people like Timothy McVeigh.

> Michael Lorrey wrote:
> > Sorry, the Declaration of Independece is more of a Divorce Writ, not a marriage
> > license. It defined why we no longer were members of the British Empire. It
> > made no mention of the United States of America
> so far so good
> > (indeed, for that political
> > entity was not to exist for another 16+ years thereafter, and was actually a
> > succeeding organization to the Congress under the Articles of Confederation.),
> Er, you mean 6 years?

The D of I was signed in 1776. While the Revolutionary war dragged on till the Treaty
of Paris was signed in 1783, The Articles of Confederation were passed by Congress on
November 17, 1777, and were ratified by March 1, 1781. This Confederation lasted
throught the war, and in 1787, a Constitutional Convention to draft a formal
constitution. The Constitution of the United States, passed by the convention in
September of 1787,was ratified in 1791 by the 9th ratifying state, New Hampshire,
which also ratified the Bill of Rights, a Document of Constitutional Amendments that
was passed not by the Contitutional Convention, but by the first Congress under that
Constitution. Note that the main body of debate against the Bill of Rights' necessity
was the argument that they were not needed, since the powers prohibited from the
Government by these amendments had not been granted to it by the Constitution in the
first place.

So it took 15 years for the US Constitution to come into effect.

> > so it has very little in relation to the Constitution other than sharing the
> > same author.
> Well, the institutional author of the Constitution was a successor
> to the institutional author of the Declaration, but that's about it.

And Thomas Jefferson was both the Author of the D of I as well as the Preamble of the

   Michael Lorrey
------------------------------------------------------------ Inventor of the Lorrey Drive
MikeySoft: Graphic Design/Animation/Publishing/Engineering
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