The Declaration of Independence and Constitutional Interpretation

By James P. Allen

What role does the Declaration have in constitutional interpretation, if any?

When it comes to understanding the meaning of the Constitution, many Americans don’t give the Declaration of Independence the first thought. But some argue that as the founding American document, everything hangs on it, and we must interpret the Constitution exclusively through the Declaration. They view the Constitution and the government it created as a mechanism through which we realize principles laid out in the Declaration of Independence. 

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Historical Ignorance: The War of 1861 Established Federal Dominance

The victors of war write its history in order to cast themselves in the most favorable light. That explains the considerable historical ignorance about our war of 1861 and panic over the Confederate flag. To create better understanding, we have to start a bit before the 1787 Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia.

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The Founders Urged Resistance, not “slavish” obedience

“That the doctrine of non-resistance against arbitrary power and oppression is absurd, slavish, and destructive to the good and happiness of mankind.”
– North Carolina Ratification Document

Short version – violations of your liberty shouldn’t be met with anything but resistance. We call it nullification – by states, localities and individuals.

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