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The Amazing History of America

Written By: Jacob G. Hornberger  |  Posted: Monday, September 27th, 2010

Ever since the dawn of recorded history, people's minds have been inculcated with the notion that government is the master and the people are the servants. Hardly anyone, for example, has questioned the notion that government officials have the legitimate authority to manage the economy, or direct the education of people's children, or to control religious activity, or to decide what people can read or watch. It's just been commonly accepted that government officials can do whatever they want, especially in the best interests of society, and that it is the role of the good, little, model citizen to submit and obey in the service of the greater good of society.

Then one day in 1776 along came a Virginian named Thomas Jefferson who issued a declaration that set that age-old notion on its head. Jefferson suggested in the Declaration of Independence that people had had it all wrong. It's the people who are masters and it is government that is the servant. Every person, Jefferson said, has been endowed with certain fundamental, inherent rights. These rights don't come from government and, therefore, people don't need to be beholden to government for them. People's rights are endowed in them by nature and God. What is the role of government? Jefferson observed that people call government into existence for the sole purpose of protecting the exercise of these natural, God-given rights. And when government becomes destructive of this end - when it infringes upon or destroys people's rights, the people have the right to ditch the government - alter or even abolish it and replace it with a government that is limited to its rightful role of servant whose job is to protect the exercise of people's rights.

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