Two Declarations for Freedom.
As most of us are aware, T. Jefferson was the main author of the Declaration of Independence.
But from where did he ferret out his material?
He used several old documents, including the Magna Carta and the Scottish Declaration of Arbroath of 1320.
The latter was an attempt by the Scots to demonstrate to Pope John XXII of France
That Scotland was a 'pedigreed' nation, wishing to be free of the English yoke.
(B. Franklin gently chided Jefferson as to, 'Why he used so many old documents?'.
Jefferson replied, 'Well they worked, didn't they?'.)
One can peruse the two documents, side by side, and compare a logical sequence.
There is a point of conflict and need for protection in both :
'He (George III of Britain) has excited domestic Insurrections amongst us,
And has endeavoured to bring on the Inhabitants of our Frontiers,
The merciless Indian Savages, whose known Rule of Warfare,
Is an undistinguished Destruction, of all Ages, Sexes and Conditions.'
A bit more distant, but still with the same sort of conflict in mind,
The Scots are bargaining with the Pope for recognition,
By volunteering for a next Crusade against the Muslims (ie., the heathens).
Both documents declare the need for quelling heathens or savages for various reasons :
'This truly concerns you, Holy Father, since you see the savagery of the heathen raging
Against the Christians,. . . and the frontiers of Christendom being pressed inward every day.'
In today's world one sees anti-Muslim retoric in the one, and anti-Native American in the other.
Today, both statements are 'uncomfortable' in a world attempting tolerance,
But in the reality of those past times, when things were more 'black and white',
Statements were bold and crisp and 'self-evident'!
(Do remember, though, Roger Williams' friendship with the native people,
And the eventual founding of Rhode Island,
As well as the founding of Pennsylvania with William Penn's attempts to be peaceable and fair;
Leading to the State of Penn--sylvania--'Penn's Woods'!)
Frank Maurer 19 August 2023
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