What’s the Point of the Declaration of Independence?

A nice post from my friend Dan for your July 4th reading…

A View from Clinkman's Dome

Happy July 4th, everyone. There was a little item in the New York Times yesterday, about whether or not a mark in the Declaration of Independence is a period or an ink smudge, and what that means. Why is this important? In the grand scheme, it isn’t. But it lends some interesting insight into whether or not the Continental Congress thought that the state is a necessary component of liberty.

At question is whether the list of natural rights – “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” – is part of the same sentence as what followed: “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” Whether or not this is a period or an ink dot (or a comma, the article doesn’t go into that) doesn’t substantially change what Congress was trying to say, but it does indicate…

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