Welcome to Common Sense Civics and Citizenship! Thank you for being here. It’s been a very challenging week as I try to get my articles posted on social media. My mind has been on the basics of our founding, as is reflected by the article below. Posts that I have written on social media have been rejected this week, even though I teach the basics of American civics and citizenship. We are a people that use common sense as we assess what is going on around us and reflect on what is authentically American.
Thank you for joining me in re-learning or learning for the first time about the blessing of being an American that were given to us by our Founders.
“This was the object of the Declaration of Independence. Not to find new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of, not merely to say things which had never been said before, but to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent and to justify ourselves in the independent stand we are compelled to take.”- Thomas Jefferson, May 8, 1825
What did Jefferson mean? The Committee of Five who wrote the Declaration (John Adams (MA), Roger Sherman (CT), Benjamin Franklin (PA), Robert Livingston (NY), Thomas Jefferson (VA)) were not trying to talk people into something novel that had never been tried before. Nor were they trying to trick the colonies. They wrote from a common-sense viewpoint- what works for all human beings, what does not work, what unites, and what happens when repeated grievances over a long, long time go unheard and unresolved.
Let’s look into this further.
What works for human beings-
equal opportunity to try, not equal outcomes (All are created equal)
unalienable (Creator-given) right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness
civil gov’ments are instituted to protect these unalienable rights
citizens grant power to those who govern
What does NOT work-
slavery (they knew that abolition of slavery was essential to becoming a free people; if slavery were to continue, their ideas would fail)
ascribing power to those who govern that belongs to the Creator
anything other than gov’ment of, by, and for the people
when people are denied a redress of grievances
Jefferson tells us what works best- communicate plainly and factually to people and let them decide as a people how they will govern themselves.
In a mere four years, we will be 250 years old as a country. In light of that, it is good to review the basics.
This is Common Sense Civics and Citizenship. ??