June 21, 2017

Declaration of Independence
An "Enlightened" Perspective

- Rick Shepherd -

  1. Introduction
    1. Purpose - Exploring our unique political heritage
    2. Religion and history intertwined
    3. The Dark Ages
  2. Age of Enlightenment
    1. Factors leading up to the Renaissance
      1. 1440's - Gutenberg and development of printing press
      2. 1492 - Discovery of America
      3. 1517-1521 - Beginning of the Reformation
    2. Immediate results
      1. Increase in information and literacy (and availability of scripture)
      2. Growth of debate at all social levels
    3. Significant Ideas with consequences
      1. Man created in image of God - Man can use reason
      2. God is orderly, God's universe is orderly
      3. Fallen nature of man
      4. Decline of "divine right of kings" theory
    4. Significant milestones of the period
      1. 1581 - "Vindiciae Contra Tyrannos"
      2. 1620 - Francis Bacon - "Novum Organum" - beginnings of modern scientific method
      3. 1625 - Hugo Grotius - "The Law of War and Peace"
      4. 1644 - Samuel Rutherford - "Lex, Rex"
      5. 1689 - John Locke - "Second Treatise of Government"
      6. 1765-1769 - William Blackstone - "Commentaries on the Law of England"
  3. Age of Reason, long term (practical) results
    1. Unprecedented growth
      1. More knowledge
      2. More literacy
      3. Productivity
    2. America formed with this climate as their birthright and heritage
      1. So what went wrong?
  4. Corruption
    1. Conspiracy?
      1. Church
      2. Parliament
      3. Nobility
      4. Crown
  5. Conflict and Resistance
    1. Colonies motivated to apply fruits of study
      1. High water mark of Age of Reason
        1. "5000 Year Leap"
    2. Fears and Ideals
      1. Fear of empire's liberties being threatened
      2. Right of resistance and of self-government
    3. Specific threats
      1. Unprecedented growth of government offices at colonist expense
      2. Changes in the nature of jurisdiction and law
      3. Unusual forms of taxation without proper representation
      4. Adding insult to injury
  6. Solutions
    1. Practical application of Renaissance ideas
      1. Fundamental rights from a Creator
      2. Rule of law (not of men)
      3. Right of resistance no longer a theory
        1. Who are the rebels?
        2. Freedom is fragile!
  7. Modern relevance?
    1. Personal purpose - motivate and inform
    2. Parallels to today
    3. Missing spiritual element
      1. Does the understood source of rights/law matter?
      2. Liberty the gift of God?
        1. Should we tremble?