As has been our practice in recent decades, we will publish the full text of the Declaration of Independence on this page in the July 4 weekend edition. We do so as an annual reminder of the profound statement of what made this country’s founding possible.
The recent nationwide protests to achieve racial justice and equality following the tragic killings of George Floyd and others, however, called to mind another Independence Day editorial, first published in The Sentinel 35 years ago today. That editorial first noted the Declaration’s “irrefutable justification for rebellion,” quoting most notably its stirring principal assertion, shockingly bold at the time it was written, “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
The remainder of the editorial, with an updating, is set forth below. Sadly, the issues it cites that were rife in the world in 1985 are as rife, and continue to “merit our indignation,” as much or more now. As we celebrate another anniversary of this country’s Declaration of Independence Saturday — and after — may we find the “lasting bit of rebel in us all” to act on that indignation and draw nearer to achieving the Declaration’s assertion of liberty and equality for all people.
“Three men from New Hampshire signed the declaration: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple and Matthew Thornton. It was undoubtedly the bravest act of their lifetimes.
“In our pursuit of happiness this Fourth of July holiday, it’s unlikely many of us will pause to meditate on what those brave people did: They rebelled. If a poll-taker were to paraphrase their declaration of principle and pass it around for signatures at a Fourth of July picnic tomorrow, would most Americans sign it? It is quite radical.
“The subject of the rebellion of 1776 — the desire to be independent of tyrannical authority — may seem distant to Americans today, but the spirit of rebellion need not be. The world is rife with things that merit our indignation: racism, discrimination of all kinds, religious intolerance, the persecution of dissidents, terrorism, the drug culture, the menace of nuclear arms, war itself.
“The people who risked their lives and property to sign the Declaration of Independence  years ago would no doubt be pleased to know they left a lasting bit of rebel in us all.”