Beautiful Writing

Of course I have to talk about the American Declaration of Independence today, the 233rd anniversary of its adoption. I thought about uploading the whole thing here, but decided that was too much. Instead, I’m just going to highlight a few of my favorite phrases and, maybe, talk about why I love them so much.

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.

I like the neatness with which the reason for the declaration is laid out: Here’s what this is for.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

This just delights me with its vividness, and with its suggestion of locusts, which I don’t think is in the least bit accidental.

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

It’s the rhythm of the last phrase that kills me.

It’s a great document that deserves to be read through at least once. The only piece of writing, connected with the founding of my country, that I love more is the preamble to the Constitution of the United States:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, 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.

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