In his July 4, 1821 oration as Secretary of State, John Quincy Adams (soon to become President) summarized the foundation for American law, “It was the first solemn Declaration [separatists’ Declaration of Independence] by a nation, of the only legitimate foundation for civil government. It was the cornerstone of the new fabric, destined to cover the surface of the globe. It demolished at a stroke the lawfulness of a government founded upon conquest. It announced in a practical form to the world the transcendent truth of the unalienable sovereignty of the people. It proved that the social compact was no figment of the imagination; but a real solid and sacred bond of the social union.”

Called America’s Civic Religion, the Creator-based Declaration of Independence was unanimously adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776. It clearly illustrates the value of separation from the rule of man. Immigrants came to America from many oppressive governments. The separatist Declaration of Independence united people from all over the globe.

James Wilson was one of six men who signed both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States. His contributions to the deliberations for the Constitution were second only to James Madison’s. Addressing the Pennsylvania Ratifying Convention for the new Federal Constitution, Wilson stated, “I beg to read a few words from the Declaration of Independence made by the representatives of the United States and recognized by the whole Union.” He read the first two paragraphs and concluded, “This [Declaration] is the broad basis on which our independence [from authoritarian rule] was placed; on the same certain and solid foundation this [the Constitution of the United States] system is erected” (debates in several State Conventions considering the new [Federal] Constitution, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, November 20, 1787, cited in Volume 1, Elliot’s Debates, published 1836, p. 457).

~ D. Norris

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