Friday, 4 July 2008

Government and consent

The Declaration of Independence, 4 July 1776, is still an evocative document:

“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.”

The first attempt to institute this government between the thirteen states on a surer footing was the Articles of Confederation, 9 July 1778, but showing even more structural weaknesses than the present day European Union.

The Americans were quicker on the uptake than the Europeans, so on 17 September 1787 the Philadelphia Convention agreed upon the Constitution of the United States of America:

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”


Yes, with distractions like the War of Independence, it took the Americans about a decade to lay the democratic and federal foundations for the rise to economic and military world power.

Government of the people, by the people, and for the people.


What has Europe to celebrate this 4 July 2008?

Ralf Grahn