Learn more about the Declaration of Independence. Local Author Tim Patrick will be joining us for a book signing and discussion Friday 5-8 p.m. March 2, 2018 here in the book store. Read what he has to say below and visit his page to see what else he has been up to. Thanks, Ye Olde Bookshoppe
Self-Evident by Tim Patrick
Self-Evident : Discovering the Ideas and Events That Made the Declaration of Independence Possible
Most Americans are familiar with the Declaration of Independence, or at least with the famous parts of the document. Phrases like “all men are created equal,” “we hold these truths to be self-evident,” and “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” are part of our national psyche, and they invoke patriotic sentiments in us, even when we don’t fully comprehend their meanings.
These high-minded expressions played an important role in America’s break with Great Britain, and some of the philosophical ideas they contain go back hundreds and thousands of years. But when you read through the full text of the Declaration, you find that these memorable clauses are really just introductory content. The meat of the document is its list of grievances, the specific arguments that the colonies had with King George III and Parliament.
The Declaration contains twenty-seven complaints, some that impacted all of the colonies equally, and others that targeted a single colony. There are grievances that invoke deep thoughts on the powers of government, such as whether the executive (the king, or his appointed local governors) has the authority to dissolve colonial legislatures. Other grievances are pocketbook-related, such as the charge of Britain “cutting off our trade with all parts of the world.”
The grievances provide a fascinating look at the core beliefs of America as a society. While the specific complaints may seem remote, it is essential that Americans remain familiar with such threats to liberty, and with the underlying concepts that allow them to understand what liberty even is and how to retain it. Thomas Jefferson, the main author of the Declaration, put it this way: “I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.”
To discover more about the Declaration of Independence, its grievances, and the Enlightenment writings and ideas that made the document possible, join Tim Patrick, author of the new book Self-Evident, for a time of questions and answers about the Declaration and its history. He will be at Wenatchee’s Ye Olde Bookshoppe (on Palouse Street, just east of Wenatchee Avenue) for March’s First Friday Art Walk. Tim will be at the bookstore from 5pm to 8pm on March 2, 2018, with the Q&A session starting at 6pm. Signed copies of his book will be available for purchase.