The Declaration of Independence declares the principles of freedom; the United States Constitution is the strategy for freedom.

Key 7 Analysis

The Declaration declares universal principles of freedom, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights such as the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness which includes ownership of all forms of property.  It declared that the new union of independent states, according to the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” is entitled to be an independent nation.  This new country was to have a separate and equal station among the other nations of the earth, a right to self government empowered by the consent of the governed. The Declaration goes on to affirm that oppressive governments could be thrown off, and that the people could structure a government to provide for their future safety, security, and happiness.  The charter was signed by 56 delegates sent by the thirteen colonies.  They declared that they were “free and independent states.”  They announced: “that as free and independent states, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliance, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do.”  Although in reality they were not free and independent yet, they were making it a statement of fact so that they could now fight for, or establish, that fact. 

Therefore, The Declaration of Independence was a promise for freedom.  The Constitution of The United States was the fulfillment of the promise of freedom.  The Constitution is the charter for freedom, or what we like to call the formula for freedom or the “Freedom Formula.”  The principles of freedom are structured in a constitutional context of checks and balances which allows the government to put precept into practice through just laws.

 After the war was over, in 1783, the States were free from England, but not living in peace and harmony.  The Articles of Confederation under which they were operating, was a weak federation or alliance of the States.  There was no central structure whereby they could operate peacefully with each other.  It was a country of 13 sovereign States, not knowing how to practice or foster freedom.  The ingenious structure of the Constitution which the Framers designed is what enabled freedom to prevail throughout the new country.

The U.S. Constitution was intelligently designed by wise men who acknowledged inspiration from God.  Freedom was allowed to flourish because the Framers of the Constitution implemented the principles designed in the Declaration which stated that the proper role of government was to secure individual rights.  To do so, they developed a specific list of limited and carefully defined powers to delegate to the jurisdiction of the national government.  Dr. W. Cleon Skousen states in his Principle # 19:  “Only limited and carefully defined powers should be delegated to government, all others being retained in the people.”