July 6, 2012
Almost a year before the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress issued 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.
The document was drafted after England sent soldiers to “restore order” in the Colonies and the Second Continental Congress thought it necessary to raise an army and justify its actions.
It also underscored the necessity to bear arms against tyranny – a concept that is almost entirely lost today as the United Nations conspires to register and confiscate the firearms of Americans and ill-informed citizens defend the Second Amendment as the right to own a gun for hunting.
Two days later, on July 8, 1775, the Olive Branch Petition was issued. It proposed a final peace deal with England and promised loyalty to the British government if it repealed the Coercive Acts and ended its taxation without representation policies.
King George official announced that the Colonies were in a state of rebellion and the English parliament rejected the Olive Branch Petition in December of 1775 and passed the the American Prohibitory Act forbidding all further trade with the Colonies.
Thomas Jefferson‘s argument in the Necessity of Their Taking Up Arms is pure genius:
We are reduced to the alternative of chusing 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.—Honour, 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.
Our cause is just. Our union is perfect. Our internal resources are great, and, if necessary, foreign assistance is undoubtedly attainable… 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 slaves.