The Ultimate Breakup Letter

By | July 3, 2024

Here’s an idea for forced family fun on the Fourth of July – Read the Declaration of Independence, aka history’s ultimate breakup letter.

Too long to text (TLDR), the Declaration consists of five discrete parts: a preamble, statement of principles, the airing of grievances, ‘maybe we can be friends someday,’ and ‘on our own and open for business.’

The Declaration’s preamble sets the mood.

“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, … a decent respect to the opinion of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to separation.”

Translation: “You are driving me crazy. But we’ve been together for a long time, and you deserve to know exactly why I’m breaking up with you.”

The Declaration’s statement of principles forms the foundation of the American Experiment.

Next is a statement of principles uniting the breakaway colonies. These important principles form the foundation of the American Experiment.

1. “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.”

2. Governments are instituted to secure these rights, deriving their power from the consent of the governed.

3. When a government becomes destructive to these ends, “[i]t is the right of the People to alter or to abolish it” and institute a new government. This is not to be taken lightly.

Translation: “You and I believe in different things, and we need to go in a different direction.”

Let’s air our grievances.

The colonies’ specific complaints follow. They range from taxation without representation to the use of mock trials, savagery on the seas to legislative meetings held at unusual and uncomfortable places, the obstruction of justice to the expansion of government designed to “harass our people and eat out their substance.” Twenty-seven complaints in all, touching on every aspect of life in the colonies.

Noting that the colonies have repeatedly warned the King, the Declaration protests: “We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury.”

Translation: “I got a lot of problems with you people! And now you’re gonna hear about it!”

Maybe we can be friends someday.

Remarkably, despite their grievances and the taking up of arms, the signers of the Declaration demonstrated hope for the relationship.

“We must, therefore, … hold (our British brethren) as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.”

Translation: “We’ve done our part to make this work. If you act better, we can be friends in peace later.”

The USA is on its own and open for business.

The Declaration’s last paragraph is an unabashed message to the rest of the world. The United Colonies formally declare their independence from the British Crown, with the full power to “levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do.”

Translation: “On our own, and open for business. Call us!”

Birthday Cheers to the USA – Happy 248th!