One of the great advantages of not knowing anything is that you can experience the excitement of learning things over and over. Such was my experience today, July 3, when I did something I’ve never done before. I actually read the Declaration of Independence. I wonder if Thomas Jefferson realized that he was essentially ending an abusive relationship with England with a classy breakup letter.
One particular sentence struck me. After he makes a list of abuses that the King was guilty of (the “bill of particulars”), Jefferson says this about him:
“A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.”
All of a sudden, I realized that Jefferson was not only rebuking King George, but also repudiating Machiavelli, and in doing so, he was rejecting the concept of the divine right of kings and all that it entails: the consolidation of power, the use of war in the acquisition of new territories, and the cold manipulation of the people you’re in charge of. Jefferson was a superhero, whose power was to give you and I power. Happy 4th.