Our Declaration of Independence recognizes the right of the people to alter or abolish an oppressive government when it declares that “whenever any Form of Government” becomes destructive to protecting the unalienable rights of men, “it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its power in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
Indeed, after suffering the cruel tyrannical actions of the British Empire such as as taxation without representation, suppression of the right to the jury, quartering of troops, military occupation, and the closure of legislative assemblies, the Founding Fathers determined that they must declare independence.
Patrick Henry eloquently explained that “If we wish to be free – if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending – if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have so long engaged . . . we must fight! . . . What is it that gentlemen wish? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but for me, give me liberty, or give me death!”
Later, Henry could rightly declare that America rebelled for “the holy cause of liberty.” Thus, recognizing that in the end the people are responsible for maintaining their freedom, the Declaration of Independence and the Founding Fathers recognized that if a government oppresses the people through a “long train of abuses and usurpations,” that “it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”
From its very birth, America has embraced the First Principle of revolution, and set an example for the world.