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Is the Declaration of Independence Illegal?

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posted on Mar, 22 2012 @ 05:37 PM
I must say that I found this fascinating to say the least, and surprised that I have not heard about this. I am more or less interested in the thoughts of fellow ATS's considering we come from all over the world.

I will be adding both arguments from the US, and Britain, and of course, even though there was a vote, I would like to know how you think this should have went.

The American case for the Declaration

The Declaration is unquestionably "legal". Under basic principles of "Natural Law", government can only be by the consent of the people and there comes a point when allegiance is no longer required in face of tyranny.

The legality of the Declaration and its validity is proven by subsequent independence movements which have been enforced by world opinion as right and just, based on the fundamental principles of equality and self-determination now reflected in the UN Charter.

The British case against it

The Declaration of Independence was not only illegal, but actually treasonable. There is no legal principle then or now to allow a group of citizens to establish their own laws because they want to. What if Texas decided today it wanted to secede from the Union?

Lincoln made the case against secession and he was right. The Declaration of Independence itself, in the absence of any recognised legal basis, had to appeal to "natural law", an undefined concept, and to "self-evident truths", that is to say truths for which no evidence could be provided.

The grievances listed in the Declaration were too trivial to justify secession. The main one - no taxation without representation - was no more than a wish on the part of the colonists, to avoid paying for the expense of protecting them against the French during seven years of arduous war and conflict.

Here is a bit more of what was said.

The prominent British lawyer Sally Jane O’Neill added that the colonists themselves knew their actions amounted to treason. She quoted the famous statement Franklin uttered as he scrawled his John Hancock on the sheepskin parchment of the Declaration: “We must, indeed, all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.” To great laughter, O’Neill remarked, “In my line of work, that’s about as complete an admission of guilt as you get.”

So I ask, could this have been a legitimate case if argued in a different venue? Could one day the rules suddenly change if this was asked again later?

Peace, NRE.

posted on Mar, 22 2012 @ 05:46 PM
IMO, they are both correct.

What it boils down to is whether we believe the structure and power of government overrides the natural rights of each individual.

I think the founding fathers knew that and decided that treason is acceptable as long as they create an environment in which individual rights trump the new government they create. It wasn't perfect, but had the right idea.

posted on Mar, 22 2012 @ 05:49 PM
That is insane, this is over 200 years later. Quit beating the dead and buried horse.

posted on Mar, 22 2012 @ 05:54 PM
Indeed... They are both right and both wrong.

It was absolutely illegal at the time because, as it states, it's intent was to break from the parent nation and form our own. Treasonous is accurate. If we, as Americans, had lost...well, that would have changed everything. It'd be looked back on as an illegal attempt at revolution and probably a bad idea, if we'd still be looking back at a failed attempt now.

In hindsight, it's perfectly legal because the laws it broke ended as laws we followed the moment the last signature was put to paper. Hence...what WAS illegal now becomes legal....if only the signers can win the fight that follows. Since they did and we can look at this as a victory in hindsight, I'm happy to say it's not only legal but our great nation wouldn't have existed without it.

Isn't history a fun mix of mutually exclusive truths that depend entirely on who won which fight along the way?

posted on Mar, 22 2012 @ 06:03 PM
At this point in time if the royalty still wants us back then stand in line, China already owns our ass. Lol

posted on Mar, 22 2012 @ 06:39 PM
reply to post by NoRegretsEver

This is an interesting read and a good point but the only way for new nations to get built is when we rebel against what we don't believe is right and break off from our "Controllers".

Hypothetically if Texas gained enough support, say by Mexico and went to war against the US, 100 years from now the good ol'country of Texas could be kicking and merry! On a side note I think I read somewhere that before they agreed to be a state, they made the US agree to allow them to secede from the US if they wanted to.

That's my thought on the subject!

posted on Mar, 22 2012 @ 06:44 PM
Yep the Revolutionary War was illegal so is the Declaration of Independence after all

WAR IS ILLEGAL oops my bad holding WAR to the same standards doesn't work in this case.

Oh well.

posted on Mar, 23 2012 @ 10:50 PM
In the 19th century there was an argument that any government is illegal because it has an essentially contractual relationship with its citizens but nobody ever actually signs.

posted on Mar, 23 2012 @ 10:57 PM
reply to post by Wrabbit2000

We all define treason differently. I have my definition and consider all else crimes against humanity. And when it comes to crimes, if you believe a "law" to be a crime that goes against your morality to follow it is not legally binding. That is LAW 101. Not that most judges honor that, but nonetheless, its intrinsic.

Treason is never allowed to be defined by a controller ,who is by their nature are treasonous against the citizens, who are the people of the earth and have natural rights to everything.

Treason can only be committed by those who deprive citizens of their sovereignity. And by leaders invested by those citizens, ie their servant, selling off their sovereignity to foreign bodies.

I never consider a citizen capable of "TREASON". I consider all leaders treasonous. And consider any other definition a very significant and obvious crime!

One citizen does not have the power base, ie, has not walked over and abused the sovereignity of others, to be capable of treason or fascism. It takes power to do so.
edit on 23-3-2012 by Unity_99 because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 23 2012 @ 11:04 PM
Thomas Jefferson wrote the most eligent speech on paper ever in the history of man-kind. He stated ideas that should be excepted as fact long before anyone was willing to expect them. To suggest that the Declariation of Indenpendence is illegal is one of two things...

1) Utter nonsense.

2) Something that would make me wish to break the law.

If the idea that all men are created equal (and this ment man-kind, so women are included in this ideal. Hell, Jefferson was one of the few founding fathers that fought for equal rights long before the idea was cool.) is "illegal", then I am a felon in thought and action. If the idea that we all deserve liberty and chance to shape our on future is "illegal", then again, I am a felon.

Jefferson and the document he wrote was literally centuries ahead of it's time.

In conclusion, what a silly concept, the Declaration of Independence being an illegal document.

posted on Mar, 23 2012 @ 11:04 PM
Of course it wasn't legal according to British law. The opposition to secession is always violently opposed when a smaller entity desires its sovereignty.

The case against secession is always based on positive law. The case for secession is always based on natural law. This is what happened during the Civil War, too.
edit on 23-3-2012 by imherejusttoread because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 23 2012 @ 11:15 PM
Legal and illegal is about having the power to determine what is legal and illegal.

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