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Is the US Declaration of Independence Illegal?

Colonel Dan, SASS #24025

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Revolutions are only illegal in the 2nd or 3rd person: "Your revolution" or "their revolution."


Besides, we won.

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Revolutions are only illegal in the 2nd or 3rd person: "Your revolution" or "their revolution."


Besides, we won.

+1... it was probably illegal to shoot Gadaffi, too. But, he and his aren't around to proscute which is what makes his being dead a mute point.


The Brits are still aching over both the American revolution at which they got their butt's kicked as well as the Indian revolution at which the other side didn't even fire a shot.


Winners write the history. It's like clean with a bonus. :FlagAm:

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This article was posted by Fox News last week concerning this topic.


I did not see this quote from the Fox article in the British one.

At the end of the debate, which took place just a few blocks away from where Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration, a vote was held and American independence was reaffirmed.


I reckon lawyers don't have enough to do in this world...

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Now this is an amusing little read.



Seems like a harmless enough mental amusement over a few beers.


I'm sure there are curmudgeons who will read all kinds of things into it, but to me it reads like a harmless

exercise, like debating whether the Romans could have conquered the native American Indians if they had come over

here to colonize, Or what might have happened if the Vikings had stayed and colonized instead of waiting for later

European attempts.


If a bunch of scholars and lawyers want to sit around and sharpen their mental facilities by debating the legality

of revolution, and such matters, I'd be the last to judge. It's no more ridiculous than dressing up as a cowboy and

shooting at make believe bad guys in stylized shooting scenarios . . . .


Having lived among the Brit's I'll state that we have few allies as reliable and true in this world, and none of the

seniors and adults that I met ever had anything to say but thanks for the help in those wars.


They're very good people, and our very good friends.


Shadow Catcher

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According to the British lawyers


"The Declaration of Independence was not only illegal, but actually treasonable."


They do have a talent for stating the obvious don't they. I believe every man that signed the Declaration knew it was a treasonous act and that they would be hung if the war was lost. But it wasn't lost. And those men became heroes and our Founding Fathers.







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Well at the time it was treasonous, however, the British ended defacto recognizing it with the treaty of Paris and the end of hosilities (and again later with the subsequent treaty of Ghent in a way.


Perhaps the bigger question is why do we celebrate the 4th?



The completed document came to the Continental Congress on June 28, and the Congress passed the resolution on July 2, 1776.


The Declaration of Independence wasn't signed on the 4th of July; the Continental Congress gathered to vote on whether the wording should be corrected or should stay the same. The first signatures were added in August of 1776 and finished on Jan 18th 1777.

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Speaking as a colonial in New Zealand


It is an interesting Think Tank execerise, and I cant help but think, Of course the Lawyers say its illegal, I am sure if there were back in the Americas back in the day, then they would have advocated not a Declearation of Independance but the spending of vast sums to have them go back to England to argue on ones behalf.... Lawyers :P

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This is a common political science subject in colleges. I found it fun and educational. My conclusion is Britain is right. What many do not know is what Britain's long range strategy was. Their expectation is the experiment in democracy would fail after a few years and the States would beg for Britain to come bail them out. Britain would come back to welcoming arms without losing a man. Didn't quite work out that way.


Also don't forget that Britain didn't have any trouble kicking Americas butt in 1812. They could have kept much of the States but decided it wasn't worth the effort.

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Don't let the current crop of politicians (Democrats and Republicans alike) read this!!! They would probably think that the politically correct thing to do would be to give the country back....



Buzzard ;)

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You can engage in all manner of mental jousting about this, but the answer is that we began the War for American Independance as treasonous rebels and ended it as citizens of a new nation. We gambled our fate on the battlefield and won. We did it again in 1812 and won. Just how near a thing it was in both instances is sometimes forgotten. But even when remembered (and in detail) the hard truth is that law followed fact and experience, not the other way 'round.


Compare and contrast this, if you will, to the fate of the CSA. Their legal and philosophical arguments were almost a carbon copy of those of the American Founding Fathers. They, too, gambled their fate on the battlefield. They lost. And, again, law followed fact and experience.


In recent times (beginning in the late 19th Century) law has tried to lead fact and experience. Or deny fact and experience. The results of this have been decidedly mixed.


Some years back a friend asked me, professionally (as a legal expert certified by the Supreme Court of the State of Texas ;) ) if I thought there was a "right to revolution." My answer was a clear "Yes, there is; there is also concomitant responsibility, however, to quietly accept death by hanging if your revolution fails." There is no free lunch, here. Revolution is always "change by violence." Once you release the "dogs of war" you don't know who they will eat.


A related question: do governments have a right to surpress a revolution? Yes, but leaders who do that have the same duty as rebels...if they lose.


Rebel, or surpress, at your peril.



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From P. Henry, Counsel for the Defense


St. John's Church, Richmond, Virginia

March 23, 1775.


MR. PRESIDENT: No man thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism, as well as abilities, of the very worthy gentlemen who have just addressed the House. But different men often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen if, entertaining as I do, opinions of a character very opposite to theirs, I shall speak forth my sentiments freely, and without reserve. This is no time for ceremony. The question before the House is one of awful moment to this country. For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate. It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfil the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offence, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the majesty of heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.


Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.


I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided; and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past. And judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in the conduct of the British ministry for the last ten years, to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves, and the House? Is it that insidious smile with which our petition has been lately received? Trust it not, sir; it will prove a snare to your feet. Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss. Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our petition comports with these war-like preparations which cover our waters and darken our land. Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled, that force must be called in to win back our love? Let us not deceive ourselves, sir. These are the implements of war and subjugation; the last arguments to which kings resort. I ask, gentlemen, sir, what means this martial array, if its purpose be not to force us to submission? Can gentlemen assign any other possible motive for it? Has Great Britain any enemy, in this quarter of the world, to call for all this accumulation of navies and armies? No, sir, she has none. They are meant for us; they can be meant for no other. They are sent over to bind and rivet upon us those chains which the British ministry have been so long forging. And what have we to oppose to them? Shall we try argument? Sir, we have been trying that for the last ten years. Have we anything new to offer upon the subject? Nothing. We have held the subject up in every light of which it is capable; but it has been all in vain. Shall we resort to entreaty and humble supplication? What terms shall we find which have not been already exhausted? Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves. Sir, we have done everything that could be done, to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament. Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne. In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation. There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free² if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending²if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained, we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of Hosts is all that is left us!


They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance, by lying supinely on our backs, and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. Three millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations; and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable²and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come.


It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace²but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!




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One mans terrorist is another mans freedom fighter.


Blatantly false. Terrorism is a tactic and/or strategy, and it is entirely possible to rebel against a power without resorting to terrorist tactics. Statements such as this are part of the moral subjectivity that is robbing us of our ability to define and differentiate good from evil.


As to the main topic, the entire point of the revolution was treason and rebellion against the king. If it were legal, there would not have been a war. Revolt against unjust law is the entire point of rebellion.


-Solo Sam


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SQQ is right on target...as I view it from my saddle.


Good post SQQ!


Thank you, Sir!!! :)


Some say "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter." A lot lies in the definitions of "terrorist" and "freedom fighter." Allow me to define these terms and we might have a deal. Of course the "detail" of the definition is the home of the Devil. ;)


So while making this statement may or may not be an assertion of some "moral relativity" it a completely different conversation.



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Rebellion as with selected other acts are only legal if successful.


The winner often writes the history book.


But what we must also consider is the affect of the American Revolution upon those that fought for the British irregulars.

They were exiled to parts of Canada.

I have read somewhere that 1/3 of colonists were for the revolution, 1/3 were against it and 1/3 didn't really care/didn't want change or war.

(Personally I suspect the numbers are somewhat more like 1/5, 1/5 and 3/5.)

Just like in the US Civil War (not the war of northern aggression - bad title), families were often split over what side to take.

While Benjamin Franklin (often referred to as the First American) was clearly for separation, his son was not (he was the last loyalist governor of NJ).

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Some years ago, someone sent me the following "letter" from the Queen of England as a joke.


After you read the letter, please read my response to it. It is somehow appropriate to this discussion.


To the citizens of the United States of America from Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II


In light of your failure in recent years to nominate competent candidates for President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately.

Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths, and territories (except Kansas, which she does not fancy).

Your new Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, will appoint a Governor for America without the need for further elections.

Congress and the Senate will be disbanded.

A questionnaire may be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed.

To aid in the transition to a British Crown dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:

(You should look up “revocation” in the Oxford English Dictionary.)

1. Then look up aluminium, and check the pronunciation guide. You will be amazed at just how wrongly you have been pronouncing it.

2. The letter ‘U’ will be reinstated in words such as “colour,” “favour,” “labour” and “neighbour.” Likewise, you will learn to spell “doughnut” without skipping half the letters, and the suffix ‘-ize’ will be replaced by the suffix ‘-ise.’ Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. (look up “vocabulary”).

3. Using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with filler noises such as “like” and “you know” is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. There is no such thing as US English. We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take into account the reinstated letter “u” and the elimination of -ize.

4. July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday.

5. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers, or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you’re not quite ready to be independent. Guns should only be used for shooting grouse. If you can’t sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist then you’re not ready to shoot grouse.

6. Therefore, you will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous than a vegetable peeler. Although a permit will be required if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.

7. All intersections will be replaced with roundabouts, and you will start driving on the left side with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables. Both roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.

8. The former USA will adopt UK prices on petrol (which you have been calling gasoline) of roughly $10/US gallon. Get used to it.

9. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French fries are not real chips, and those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called crisps. Real chips are thick cut, fried in animal fat, and dressed not with catsup but with vinegar.

10. The cold tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all. Henceforth, only proper British Bitter will be referred to as beer, and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as Lager. South African beer is also acceptable as they are pound for pound the greatest sporting nation on earth and it can only be due to the beer. They are also part of British Commonwealth - see what it did for them. American brands will be referred to as Near-Frozen Gnat’s Urine, so that all can be sold without risk of further confusion.

11. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as good guys. Hollywood will also be required to cast English actors to play English characters. Watching Andie MacDowell attempt English dialogue in ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’ was an experience akin to having one’s ears removed with a cheese grater.

12. You will cease playing American football. There is only one kind of proper football; you call it soccer. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which has some similarities to American football, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like a bunch of nancies). Don’t try rugby ? the South Africans and Kiwis will thrash you, like they regularly thrash us.

13. Further, you will stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the World Series for a game which is not played outside of America. Since only 2.1% of you are aware there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable. You will learn cricket, and we will let you face the South Africans first to take the sting out of their deliveries.

14. You must tell us who killed JFK. It’s been driving us mad.

15. An internal revenue agent (i.e. tax collector) from Her Majesty’s Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all monies due (backdated to 1776).

16. Daily Tea Time begins promptly at 4 pm with proper cups, with saucers, never mugs, with high quality biscuits (cookies) and cakes; plus strawberries (with cream) when in season.

God Save the Queen!





A Message to the Queen


To Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland from a citizen of the United States.


In light of your recent letter to the American people with regard to your revocation of our Independence, I feel it is proper to inform you that this notion is unacceptable, and will not be tolerated. Furthermore, many of your points as to how things will be changed will happen only in your wildest fantasies. Furthermore, do to the failure of the British people to elect a competent Prime Minister since Margaret Thatcher, we respectfully tell you to mind your own business and put your own house in order before you try to mess with ours. Furthermore, speaking of your “own house,” how many of your children are divorced, or otherwise known to partake in various forms of sexual immorality, while you call yourself the “head” of the Church of England?


Under no circumstances will you be allowed to assume the powers of a Monarch in the United States. Our Constitution forbids it. You will not disband our houses of Congress, check the Declaration of Independence. This is one of the specific actions of your ancestor George III that lead to the Separation in the first place. And now to further show our displeasure with your presumptuous actions, we offer some responses to your stated “rules.”



1. You should look up the word aluminum in Webster’s Dictionary. You will note that you have been pronouncing and spelling it incorrectly.


2 and 3. The letter U serves no purpose in words like “color” and so on, so it will not be reinstated. Furthermore, since words like “Specialize” are pronounced with a Z sound, (that’s Zee, not Zed, by the way) no change will be made to the “-ise” suffix. Words that have extra letters such as “donut,” have had them properly removed. Mr. Webster explained all of this quite nicely in his dictionary over 150 years ago. Look it up. We also wish to know when the British people will stop using phrases like “What’s all this then?” “Bloody Hell,” and other such nonsense comments. You’d think that by now you would have learned that they make no sense. With regard to your assumption that there is no such this as US English, I have to ask, why then in every country in the world except for former British possessions is the American form of the language taught instead of the British one? The world does not speak, or spell “English.” It communicates in “American.” As such, there will be no changes to Microsoft’s programming. Besides, trying to do that would only cause it to crash.


4. Since we do not recognize your revocation, Independence Day will continue to be celebrated.


5 and 6. You can have my gun when you pry it from my cold dead hands. And believe me, since most Brits have no idea how to even use a gun, when they try to take them away from over 100,000,000 armed and angry Americans, they will find themselves pretty much unable to do so. In fact, this pretty much wipes out any chance you have of doing any of these foolish things. The people of America are armed, and we will not stand for *anyone* trying to tell us how we will live our lives. Remember New Orleans? There were more armed civilians on the line there than soldiers, and your best troops were devastated by them.


7. First of all, they are called rotaries, not roundabouts, and the notion that we should use them only proves that you are stupid. They don’t work, and here in New England, where they are sadly common, we are doing all we can to get rid of the damn things. And don’t get me started on that crazy French system of measurements. In fact, since England in its stupidity has abandoned what has commonly been called the British System, we will now rename it the American Standard System of Measurement. And get off the wrong side of the road.


8. Yeah, right.


9. Since potato chips were invented in the USA, we will properly call them chips. Check your history before you start making accusations. As far as “fries” go, you have to understand that there are many variations in how they are made. This allows for a wonderful variety of style and flavor. Deal with it. And it’s Ketchup. And fries work best with salt.


10. Clearly you are uninformed about the wide and rich variety of American beer. Come back after you have sampled all the major brands, AND the various popular microbrews. Try them properly chilled, and in your foolish warm style. You will suddenly learn that there is more than one way to enjoy a beer, and that we have more enjoyable ways that you can possibly imagine.


11. Hollywood is screwed up enough. We don’t need government interference with it.


12. Soccer is not a real sport. Therefore, we will not play it. Football, the real kind, will continue to be played. And oh yeah, the New England Patriots rule!


13. Cricket is interesting, but ultimately very dull to watch. The fact that other places have decided to start playing baseball is a fine tribute to the wonderfulness of the sport, but when all is said and done, the leagues in other countries still have no place near the prestige, talent, and greatness of Major League Baseball. We will therefore retain the title of World Series, and to refer to the winners of it as World Champions. And, please, get your facts straight. Baseball is very popular in Japan, Central and South America, and maybe even in Europe. The best players from those places all come to America to play on our teams because the baseball here is so much better than in their homelands. Oh, and by the way, most of those imported players eventually become Americans.


14. JFK was killed by Lee Harvey Oswald. Deal with reality.


15. Any agent of your government that comes to my house with intent to steal will be met by a Colt .45 and a man who knows how to use it. This is infinitely superior to the pipsqueak 9mm’s that you think your army knows how to use.


16. I’ll take my coffee black, thank you, and I’ll have it whenever I want.


God Bless America

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I. Texas was not admitted to the United States by treaty and can legally secede if we desire.


II. The Decloration of Independence has stood the test of time.


III. If Great Brittan wants to have another revolution we will have to "lend lease" material for them to equip a malitia so they can do combat.






EDIT. A polition would say that he mis-spoke but I fast fingered the post and left out the word "not".


The fact is, the Treaty for Annexation failed in 1844 and Texas was admitted to the Union by joint resolution of congress. Final approval was Dec. 29, 1845.

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Blackfoot, what treaty would that be?

Wikipedia says it was by a joint resolution of Congress.


A common and false myth that Texas has the right to secede.

Texas Right to Secede?

And correct me if I am wrong but didn't Texas secede with the rest of the south to form csa.

And was brought back into the Union.


Interestingly enough the congressional resolution that authorized the addition of Texas as a state permits Texas to be split into 5 pieces.


There are actually 3 states that have the right to secede from the union; They are Virginia, New York and Rhode Island.

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The Civil War comparison is valid, but not quite the same. None of the people who fomented that rebellion were rounded up and hung. If we had lost the fight to Great Britain, the guys we call "the founding fathers" would instead be called "the traitors who were executed for treason."

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NN, the CW comparison is valid but different. Revolutionary war is a secession won by war. US CW was a failed secession lost by war.

If the brits had one the RW it was expected that many would have been hanged. But moderation was present after US CW. If this moderation was not present Jefferson Davis most certainly should have been hanged (by the standards of fermenting revolution). Interesting point many of the loyalist from the RW were forced to leave but were not hanged by the 13 colonies.

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