Letter to the editor: Letter, headline were imprecise

Thanks for sharing various persons’ reflections on the recent election, including a letter with the newspaper’s title “Nation’s founding documents show us way forward” (Addison Independent, Nov. 21).
Both the letter cited and its Addy-Indy-supplied title could use an improvement, i.e., that the Declaration of Independence was a very important document, drawn up and signed by some very brave, self-appointed men in Philadelphia who pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor — but was not a founding document per se.
Those brave men in Philadelphia did NOT claim to pledge the support of the citizenry, who had not chosen or authorized these men to speak in their behalf. Indeed, many citizens were violently opposed to what these brave men were claiming as the best way to proceed. It was victory in the Revolutionary War that set the challenging path toward an independent nation, and not merely a statement to that effect, a path that initially the Republic of Vermont did not join.
The claim was “that these united Colonies are, and of Right, ought to be Free and Independent States….” (Capitalization as per the document.) Contrary to the above-cited letter and to the implications of your newspaper’s supplied title, the Declaration of Independence was only that; it did not claim nor plan how to join those “free and independent states” in to a new nation.
Our country has had two “founding documents,” the Articles of Confederation (12 July 1776) and the Constitution (4 March 1789). We now exist and govern under this second founding document. Opinions and principles espoused by the Declaration and the Articles do not bear legal force on our government, though the thought in those documents can be very useful stimuli toward our on-going consideration of government in the United States.
Why do we continue to hoodwink each other into thinking that the Declaration of Independence was a “founding document” thatestablishes much of anything beyond an opinion? Admittedly, persons, especially those with theocratic hopes, tend to cite convenient lines from the Declaration as “proof” that our country should be a “Christian nation.” A careful reading of the Constitution, of course, debunks that false claim.
Your letters-to-the-editor authors should write with the same care with which Dr. Nuovo writes. He sets a high standard for the present writer as well and for which this writer is thankful.
Dr. Karl E. Moyer, Lancaster, Pa.

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