“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.”
From the Heritage Foundation:
"The Declaration of Independence marks our nation's conception of liberty. Its truths, grounded in a higher law and applied to all men, are "self-evident." President Abraham Lincoln once praised the document as an 'abstract truth, applicable to all men and all times.'
'What is revolutionary about the Declaration of Independence is not that a particular group of Americans declared their independence under particular circumstances,' writes Spalding. 'But that they did so by appealing to -- and promising to base their particular government on -- a universal standard of justice.'
"This universal standard of justice endures for all time and cannot be reversed or rewritten. In a speech marking the 150th anniversary of independence on July 5, 1926, President Calvin Coolidge elaborated this point:
About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final.
"His next point is a direct rebuke to the so-called "Progressives" -- those on the Left who believe their views are the next step in historical "progress":
No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress."
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