The American Revolution was not a revolt in the sense that most revolutions are an act of lawlessness or anarchy. The Declaration of Independence was actually a legal document enacted by independent and duly elected governments. The Colonies were all independent nations with their own governments, and those nations and governments were created by Colonial Charters issued by the King of England and English government. In short, those Charters were Social Contracts. And it was the King of England – not the Colonies – who violated those contracts, thus severing the relationship between England and the Colonies and leaving the Colonies to invoke the Natural Right to self-defense. Read the Declaration of Independence again and you will see that it starts by stating this notion of Natural Rights and the Social Contract; then states the Colonies’ case against the King of England to demonstrate that the Crown was the party responsible for breaking that contract; and, finally, the Declaration ends by declaring the Colonies to be free from any further relations with England as a result of these violations. Finally, and most importantly, these notions of Natural Rights, Natural Law and the Social Contract – which gave birth to the notion of the ‘just war’ — were and remain rooted in the Judea/Christian ethic.
In Europe, the movement was toward a more secular, libertarian notion of constitutional government. However, in America, the founders realized that liberty can only be secured in conjunction with a firm belief in God and of a judgment day in the next life. They said this forcibly and repeatedly, and in agreement with this belief, they appealed to God repeatedly for approval and success in their endeavors. If we look to the historic record, we will find the founders calling for national days of fasting and prayer, praying for God’s guidance and approval of their actions in their government bodies and deliberations and thanking God for His Providence when they succeeded. Many of our most prevalent and influential founders boldly asserted that no reasonable man could look back on the American Revolution – through the ratification of the Constitution – and not see the hand of God at work.
Today, we can deny this religious aspect to the founding of America, but that does not change the fact that the men and women who actually lived these events firmly believed they were acting in obedience to God and His Natural Laws. And the evidence that they were can be found in the differences between the path Europe took as opposed to America. Until just recently – when the secular forces started to gain prominence in America – that history has been one of violence and instability in Europe as opposed to a less violent and much more stable nation in America. While it is true, America has had boughts with the same secular-driven horrors as Europe (genocide of Native Americans, internment of the Japanese, slavery, etc), the religious foundation of this nation remained strong, and in place until the 1960’s when God was kicked out of the public arena. Since that time, our nation has been on a steady and predictable path paralleling that taken by Europe in the 1920’s and 30’s.
The implications should be obvious to those who know and understand history. But then, this is one of the reasons our schools do not teach history or – when they do – they intentionally distort and re-write it. The lesson here is simple: if we would save individual rights and liberty and the constitutional rule of law, we must return to the source of these things. The founders knew the source: God. But today, we keep trying to justify all of this without God, and that is why the ‘Libertarian’ ideal we are currently chasing will be no more successful than the ‘Conservative’ movement before it. In the end, liberty can only exist when society conforms to Natural Law, and that means society must acknowledge the source of that Law. However, if and when we turn back to God and repent and seek His guidance once more, then and only then can we hope to repeat what our founders’ did. Because then and only then will we again understand the meaning – and power – behind these words:
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.
[NOTE: if you understand these words and the power behind the principles and ideals they assert, then you should easily be able to see the path to correcting what is happening in America today. It is the same our founders took. Just replace the King of England with Washington D.C.]
[NOTE TO CHRISTIANS: you may want to read this link for an explanation of why Romans 13 does not apply to the American Revolution.]