July 4th, 2020: Happy 244th Birthday, America

“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.”

These words comprise the Preamble to the U.S. Declaration of Independence, which (as articulated by the National Archives) “states the principles on which our government, and our identity as Americans, are based.”

Notwithstanding its laudatory goals, of course, it must be remembered that it was drafted at a time when slavery in the U.S. was legal and its principal drafter, Thomas Jefferson, was a lifelong slaveholder.

That said, whether considered a demand letter or the greatest breakup letter of all time, the Declaration of Independence – along with the U.S. Constitution, the Emancipation Proclamation, the Magna Carta, the Code of Hammurabi, etc. – is one of the most influential documents (legal or otherwise) in world history.

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