Thursday, September 29, 2016

"Firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence" and USA Declaration of Independence, 1776

I recently watched a video where a quite well known Conservative values speaker in the USA, Mr. Glenn Beck, was focusing on the phrase, "firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence" in the founding documents of the USA. The speaker also claimed that he places a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence for his business activities (radio talk show host, book writer and more).

I found it quite interesting that USA founding documents had such content, and so decided to do some reading up on it. It is the USA Declaration of Independence on July 4th 1776, that has this phrase as well as some very lofty phrases. This document seems to be main formal document with names & signatures where the leaders of the American revolutionaries wanting independence from their then ruler, Great Britain, openly and boldly proclaimed their independence and seem to have indicated their willingness to fight a war of independence with Great Britain to protect/achieve their independence.

Given below are a few extracts from a transcript of it, http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_transcript.html:

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that 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, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
...
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

--- end extracts from transcript of USA Declaration of Independence ---

Ravi: So the phrase, "with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence", is in the context of the signatories mutually pledging to each other their lives, fortune and honour, to support the declaration of independence. It is not an open-ended statement about relying on the protection of divine Providence for everything related to USA. However, I do understand how some persons may (and I think do) interpret it/extend it in that manner. "In God We Trust" is the motto of the USA (adopted in 1956), and appears on USA Dollar bills/notes (paper currency); see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_God_We_Trust.

Now I must say that as a devout believer in Almighty God I do have immense respect for those people who have such a reliance on the protection of divine Providence, for anything and everything in their lives. In this post, I am focusing on the content of USA founding documents in this regard.

Some information about this Declation of Independence from http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration.html is given below:

Drafted by Thomas Jefferson between June 11 and June 28, 1776, the Declaration of Independence is at once the nation's most cherished symbol of liberty and Jefferson's most enduring monument. Here, in exalted and unforgettable phrases, Jefferson expressed the convictions in the minds and hearts of the American people. The political philosophy of the Declaration was not new; its ideals of individual liberty had already been expressed by John Locke and the Continental philosophers. What Jefferson did was to summarize this philosophy in "self-evident truths" and set forth a list of grievances against the King in order to justify before the world the breaking of ties between the colonies and the mother country.

--- end extract from ...declaration.html ---

Ravi: Some of the signatories to this document paid a heavy price for this act of rebellion against Great Britain. From https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1987/10/our-divine-constitution?lang=eng:

Five of the signers were captured as traitors and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons in the Revolutionary War; another had two sons captured. Nine died from wounds or from the hardships of the war. [Ravi: The Declaration document had 56 signatures.]
...
During his first inaugural address in 1789, President George Washington, a man who was raised up by God [Ravi: "raised up by God" is a belief/view from this article from the Mormon church, USA (The church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)], said: “No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts the affairs of men, more than the people of the United States. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency” (First Inaugural Address, 30 Apr. 1789).

--- end short extracts from ...our-divine-constitution ---

Readers may want to view my post, Main events in founding of the United States of America as an independent country, http://ravisiyermisc.blogspot.in/2016/09/main-events-in-founding-of-united.html.

[I thank archives.gov and lds.org and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above extracts (short extracts from lds.org) from their websites on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

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