As an American citizen by choice I make it my business to read the American Declaration of Independence on or about each Fourth of July.
It is a (mostly) noble, brave and audacious statement, made by those who for the most part considered themselves to be British, but who chafed under the foolish and unjust laws of the British Monarch as they were applied in the thirteen colonies.
Of course the Declaration did not arise in a vacuum. The framers were most likely aware of the Dutch Declaration of Independence
(see http://www.age-of-the-sage.org/history/dutch_independence_1581.html )
and the English Bill of Rights of 1689 (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_of_Rights_1689 )
Our Declaration, as I have said, is mostly noble, and brave, and even audacious. It makes for great reading and deep thought and reflection.
That is until, referring to King George, it says this.
"He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions".
Those words make me gag.
Quite apart from the hubris of saying our frontiers, (as if these "frontiers" had been negotiated in good faith with the original inhabitants of this part of North America) ---- quite apart from that - the Declaration describes all the existing Indian Tribes/Nations with their great wisdom, their wise governments, their deep spirituality, and their profound love of the earth as no more than Savages.
There you have it. The colonists themselves had a colonialist mentality.
The cost of that colonialist mentality has been high:
1, American Indians have been forced into their trails of tears, and into "reservations" (That's a bone-chilling word).
2, Black Americans were ignored by the "Declaration" (after all they were treated as less that fully dignified humans, as slaves in all the thirteen colonies).
3. The colonialist American "westward expansion" wrought death and destruction upon those of indigenous and Spanish heritage in the American south west (modern day Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California etc.).
Of course I love my adopted land. And I think that, for the most part, the Declaration of Independence is a fabulous document.
But as a loyal American I am bound to point out the flaws in the Declaration:-
flaws which led to later misery, pain, genocide and death for American Indians, for the Slaves and their descendants, and for the Mexican/Spanish folks of the old West.