An obvious example of this right is the American Revolution.
As the American Declaration of Independence states:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, 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.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to affect their Safety and Happiness.”The Declaration of Independence also goes on to list charges against King George III:
Citing charges against the monarchy as well as citing equality under the unalienable rights endowed by their Creator, the 56 American revolutionaries that signed this document grounded the right of revolution as both positive and natural law.
“He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance”
“For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent”
“For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments”, et al.
The example of positive law (law actually and specifically enacted or adopted by proper authority for the government of an organized jural society) is the Declaration of Independence’s 27 charges listed against King George III. These charges ultimately justified a revolution on the grounds of a contractual breach. This is best described by Christian Fritz in American Sovereigns:
“In this bargain, the people were protected by the monarch in exchange for the people giving the king allegiance. This was a contractual relationship. American revolutionaries accused George III of breaching his implied duty of protection under that contract, thereby releasing the people in the colonies from their allegiance. The sovereign’s breach of the hypothetical contract gave rise to the subjects’ right of revolution”The example of natural law (a principle or body of laws considered as derived from nature, right reason, or religion and as ethically binding in human society) is a more common and better grounded justification for the American Revolution; “…all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…”
Although both positive and natural law were used as grounds for justification, it was natural law that fueled the American resistance against England. It was the exercising of the right of revolution that created a new country. It was in the fight for true freedom that America was born; a fight that today is still talked about by many but understood by few.
Names like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and John Hancock are all very well known today. They are all known for their roles in the formation of our great country, starting with the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776. It was on that day that the American Revolutionary War began. Each of their signatures represented the people of the 13 colonies of America; the people that were willing to unite and stand up to fight for the freedom of their children.
Each of the gentleman listed above, and the 51 other individuals that put their pens to the parchment understood the preconditions to the right of revolution. They all understood what their signatures would lead to, and they all understood that a Declaration of Independence, or their exercising of their right and their duty of revolution, was their last ditch effort as a repressed people.
We live in a world today that was influenced so greatly by these brave men. Men that lived under a repressive monarchy, who took as many non-violent steps as possible, who exercised all avenues available, who truly understood the preconditions to the right of revolution, and who ultimately, had no other option than to declare and defend their rights and their duties through violence.
In today’s times it seems that as a people, we have forgotten what the rewards of freedom are. Many people only understand the idea and the definition of freedom, and they fail to understand or accept that it is their duty as Americans to fight for an enduring freedom. It is not ok to stop fighting or to relinquish the freedom rewarded to us by the fight of our founding fathers, by the fight of our militia and soldiers during the revolution, and by the fight of our soldiers since then.
Sergeant Alvin York, a famous WWI hero, is quoted in addressing cynics and doubters of what American soldiers are fighting and dying for:
“The thing they forget is that liberty and freedom and democracy are so very precious that you do not fight to win them once and stop. You do not do that. Liberty and freedom and democracy are prizes awarded only to those peoples who fight to win them and then keep fighting eternally to hold them!”What we as the American people need to realize, is that it is not just the physical fight that we need to endure, but the fight against our own domestic enemies that have been waging war against our freedoms for decades. As Thomas Jefferson so bluntly stated, “When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. When the government fears the people, there is liberty.”
When the people of America decide to band together there is nothing that can stop us, and it is time that we realize this. We as Americans have a right to speak out, at least for now, and we have a duty to remove the pork barrel spending addicts currently occupying our capital. In 2010, we need to get up, get out, and vote to flip our House of Representatives.
We need to support candidates for Congress that will represent the focus of the people in their districts, and candidates for the Senate who will represent the people of their states, while keeping the freedom of the American people their top priority.
It is time to realize that 2010 is just as important as 2012; for if we fail at this, our generations will be the next to truly understand the preconditions to the right of revolution.