"These communities [the Fathers of the Republic], by their representatives in old Independence Hall, said to the whole world of men: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.'
"This was their majestic interpretation of the economy of the Universe. This was their lofty, and wise, and noble understanding of the justice of the Creator to his creatures.
"Yes, gentlemen, to all his creatures, to the whole great family of man. In their enlightened belief, nothing stamped with the Divine image and likeness was sent into the world to be trodden on and degraded, and imbruted by its fellows. They grasped not only the whole race of man then living, but they reached forward and seized upon the farthest posterity. They erected a beacon to guide their children, and their children's children, and the countless myriads who should inhabit the earth in other ages.
"Wise statesmen as they were, they knew the tendency of prosperity to breed tyrants, and so they established these great self-evident truths, that when in the distant future some man, some faction, some interest, should set up the doctrine that none but rich men, or none but white men, or none but Anglo-Saxon white men, were entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, their posterity might look up again to the Declaration of Independence and take courage to renew the battle which their fathers began, so that truth and justice and mercy and all the humane and Christian virtues might not be extinguished from the land; so that no man would hereafter dare to limit and circumscribe the great principles on which the temple of liberty was being built.
"Now, my countrymen, if you have been taught doctrines conflicting with the great landmarks of the Declaration of Independence; if you have listened to suggestions which would take away from its grandeur and mutilate the fair symmetry of its proportions; if you have been inclined to believe that all men are not created equal in those inalienable rights enumerated by our chart of liberty, let me entreat you to come back. Return to the fountain whose waters spring close by the blood of the Revolution. Think nothing of me — take no thought for the political fate of any man whomsoever — but come back to the truths that are in the Declaration of Independence. You may do anything with me you choose, if you will but heed these sacred principles. You may not only defeat me for the Senate, but you may take me and put me to death. While pretending no indifference to earthly honors, I do claim to be actuated in this contest by something higher than an anxiety for office. I charge you to drop every paltry and insignificant thought for any man's success. It is nothing; I am nothing; Judge Douglas is nothing. But do not destroy that immortal emblem of Humanity — the Declaration of American Independence."
-- Abraham Lincoln, speech in Lewiston, Illinois, August 17, 1858, four days before his first historic debate with Stephen A. Douglas, Printed in the Chicago Press and Tribune.
"Without wishing to damp the ardor of curiosity or influence the freedom of inquiry, I will hazard a prediction that, after the most industrious and impartial researchers, the longest liver of you all will find no principles, institutions or systems of education more fit in general to be transmitted to your posterity than those you have received from your ancestors."
-- John Adams, letter to the young men of Philadelphia, 1798
"Governments, in general, have been the result of force, of fraud, and of accident. After a period of six thousand years has elapsed since the Creation, the United States exhibit to the world, the first instance, as far as we can learn, of a nation, unattacked by external force, unconvulsed by domestic insurrections, assembling voluntarily, deliberating fully, and deciding calmly, concerning that system of government, under which they would wish that they and their posterity should live."
– James Wilson, speech at the Pennsylvania Convention, November 24, 1787
“WHEREAS the power but not the justice, the vengeance, but not the wisdom of Great Britain, which of old persecuted, scourged and excited our fugitive parents from their native shores, now pursues us their guiltless children with unrelenting severity: And whereas, this then savage and uncultivated desert was purchased by the toil and treasure, or acquired by the blood and valour of those our venerable progenitors, to us they bequeathed the dear bought inheritance, to our care and protection they configured it, and the most sacred obligations are upon us to transmit the glorious purchase, unfettered by power, unclogged with shackles, to our innocent and beloved offspring. On the fortitude, on the wisdom, and on the exertions of this important day is suspended the fate of this new world, and of unborn millions. . . .
“Therefore, we have resolved, and do resolve, . . . That it is an indispensable duty which we owe to God, our country, ourselves and posterity, by all lawful ways and means in our power to maintain, defend and preserve those civil and religious rights and liberties, for which many of our fathers fought, bled and died, and to hand them down entire to future generations.”
-- Excerpt, Suffolk Resolves and Report to the Convention, September 6, 1774, adopted by the Continental Congress, September 17, 1774
"Our country is in danger, but not to be despaired of. Our enemies are numerous and powerful; but we have many friends, determining to be free, and heaven and earth will aid the resolution. On you depend the fortunes of America. You are to decide the important question, on which rest the happiness and liberty of millions yet unborn. Act worthy of yourselves."
--Joseph Warren, Boston Massacre Oration, 1775
"Posterity, you will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in heaven that ever I took half the pains to preserve it."
-- John Adams
"Objects of the most stupendous magnitude and measure, in which the lives and liberties of millions yet unborn are intimately interested, are now before us. We are in the very midst of a revolution the most complete, unexpected and remarkable of any in the history of nations."
-- John Adams, letter to William Cushing, 1776
"The time is now near at hand which must probably determine whether Americans are to be freemen or slaves; whether they are to have any property they can call their own; whether their houses and farms are to be pillaged and destroyed, and themselves consigned to a state of wretchedness from which no human efforts will deliver them. The fate of unborn millions will now depend, under God, on the courage and conduct of this army. Our cruel and unrelenting enemy leaves us only the choice of brave resistance, or the most abject submission. We have, therefore, to resolve to conquer or die."
GEORGE WASHINGTON, address to the Continental Army before the battle of Long Island, Aug. 27, 1776
_"How much more do they deserve our reverence and praise, whose lives are devoted to the formation of institutions, which, when they and their children are mingled in the common dust, may continue to cherish the principles and the practice of liberty in perpetual freshness and vigour."
-- Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution, 1833
“A politician thinks of the next election. A statesman, of the next generation.”
--James Freeman Clarke
"The principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale."
-- Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Taylor, 1816
"There is not a more important and fundamental principle in legislation, than that the ways and means ought always to face the public engagements; that our appropriations should ever go hand in hand with our promises. To say that the United States should be answerable for twenty-five millions of dollars without knowing whether the ways and means can be provided, and without knowing whether those who are to succeed us will think with us on the subject, would be rash and unjustifiable."
-- James Madison, Speech in Congress, 1790
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”
-– Ronald Reagan
"We have received it [the Constitution] as the work of the assembled wisdom of the nation. We have trusted to it as to the sheet anchor of our safety in the stormy times of conflict with a foreign or domestic foe. We have looked to it with sacred awe as the palladium of our liberties, and with all the solemnities of religion have pledged to each other our lives and fortunes here and our hopes of happiness hereafter in its defense and support. Were we mistaken, my countrymen, in attaching this importance to the Constitution...? No. We were not mistaken. The letter of this great instrument is free from this radical fault...No, we did not err!...The sages...have given us a practical and, as they hoped, a permanent Constitutional compact...The Constitution is still the object of our reverence, the bond of our Union, our defense in danger, the source of our prosperity in peace: it shall descend, as we have received it, uncorrupted by sophistical construction, to our posterity..."
-- President Andrew Jackson, Proclamation of December 10, 1832
"Let the American youth never forget, that they possess a noble inheritance, bought by the toils, and sufferings, and blood of their ancestors; and capacity, if wisely improved, and faithfully guarded, of transmitting to their latest posterity all the substantial blessings of life, the peaceful enjoyment of liberty, property, religion, and independence."
-- Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution, 1833
"Consider well the important trust...which God...[has] put into your hands...To God and posterity you are accountable for [your rights and your rulers]...Let not your children have reason to curse you for giving up those rights and prostrating those institutions which your fathers delivered to you...look well to the characters and qualifications of those you elect and raise to office and places of trust...Think not that your interests will be safe in the hands of the weak and ignorant; or faithfully managed by the impious, the dissolute and the immoral. Think not that men who acknowledge not the providence of God nor regard His laws will be uncorrupt in office, firm in defense of the righteous cause against the oppressor, or resolutely oppose the torrent of iniquity...Watch over your liberties and privileges - civil and religious - with a careful eye."
-- Matthias Burnett
"He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us."
-- the Declaration of Independence, indictment of King George III
In our day, America's political elites have also abdicated government here, by declaring entire classes of persons - boys and girls who are not yet born, the infirm, the aged - out of their protection. For more than forty years, they have waged war against those with the least ability to fight back.
Please sign the Equal Protection for Posterity Resolution today.
"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
-- The Preamble, or Statement of Purpose, of the United States Constitution
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Published by Tom & Siena Hoefling