Much has been said and written about the U.S. Declaration of Independence, drafted by Thomas Jefferson and signed by Congress in 1776. The document was the fruit of many days of difficult discussions between the representatives of the original colonies, the thirteen States.
Every time I read it, I'm struck by the powerful sentiment so artfully expressed by Jefferson in the second paragraph. Much of the original draft was modified by the founding representatives who participated in those early sessions of Congress. But this paragraph, we're told, is all Jefferson. The words somehow reach down and reflect something within the human spirit that seems to resonate still:
"...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."
I never tire of seeing these words and reflecting on how powerful they are, how much they've guided western democratic ideals, and - sadly - how sometimes we've drifted from them.
The full text of the Declaration of Independence can be read here.
More on the thoughts and writings of Thomas Jefferson here.