The Declaration of Independence makes several definitive statements regarding the rights of the people and where those rights come from. First, the Declaration acknowledges that the source of rights is the Creator, calling them the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.”
Second, it claims that all men are created equally free to govern their own actions, thus requiring the consent of the governed in order for just government. Being unwilling to recognize these truths, the British government had failed in it’s sole duty of government of securing the rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” for the people, according to the Founding Fathers.
These ideals come in direct opposition to modern liberal and Progressive thought. For instance, the Declaration states that “all men are created equal,” meaning that they are all born with the same human rights that the government needs to respect. The modern liberal or Progressive definition is that men are not created equal and the government needs to step in via redistribution and make them equal. These definitions are fundamentally incompatible, and one cannot coexist with the other.
This concept of unequal wealth distribution reflecting the inequality of rights is not simply an idea dreamed up by modern day politicians like Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton. Karl Marx, Teddy Roosevelt, and Woodrow Wilson are only a few historical names associated with this Progressive ideology. According to Franklin D. Roosevelt, “Necessitous men are not free men,” meaning that poor men are not free. This notion is flawed in that simply because a man is poor does not mean he is prevented by government from being wealthy. It may mean that circumstances or a down economy caused his lack of wealth. Or it may mean that he is unwilling to do the work in order to be prosperous. As long as all men have the opportunity to choose what to do with their lives, they are free from government tyranny.