Paul Johnson on the Declaration of Independence

Some secular-minded scholars like to imply that the Declaration of Independence was not only an assertion of independence from Great Britain, but also from God. But is that true? The great British historian, Paul Johnson, author of A History of the American People, penned this about the Declaration of Independence:

“There is no question that the Declaration of Independence was, to those who signed it, a religious as well as a secular act, and that the Revolutionary War had the approbation of divine providence. They had won it with God’s blessing and, afterwards, they drew up their framework of government with God’s blessing, just as in the 17th century the colonists had drawn up their Compacts and Charters and Orders and Instruments, with God peering over their shoulders.”[1]

Key influential ideas Jefferson drew from in putting the document together are rooted in biblical concepts. One could argue that while the Declaration declared independence from British rule, it simultaneously declared dependence upon God, the source of our rights.

[1] Paul Johnson, A History of the American People (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1997), 204-205.

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