Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness: Was God Present in the Forming of Our Nation?
Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness: The Declaration of Independence
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
~ Preamble to the Declaration of Independence
I have a plaque in my kitchen with the words of the Declaration of Independence written upon it. I know what you’re thinking – she needs an interior decorator! Nevertheless, I have the plaque as a constant reminder of not only the ideals of our founding fathers, but of the role of God in the formation of our great country. Even though not all of the founders were Christian, all of the founders understood that the nation being formed was a nation of religious and moral people. God’s presence in the founding of our country is undeniable. From the appointment of a chaplain to open each day of deliberation with prayer at the Constitutional Convention, the oath taken by our first President, George Washington, with the addition of the words, “So help me God,” to attendance of religious services at St. Pauls’ following that first inauguration, God was present. All of the founders understood that ultimately all authority comes from God. It was understood that Man is created in God’s image, and man’s unalienable rights cannot be discarded or denied – these principles are self-evident.
Why is God’s Presence in the Forming of Our Nation Important When Studying the Declaration of Independence?
In order to fully understand the ideals the founding fathers espoused in the Declaration of Independence, it is important for students to understand God’s presence in the lives of the founding fathers. Only then can the self-evident principles of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness be truly understood. Liberty, which is at the cornerstone of the ideals of the founding fathers, can only be truly understood when one recognizes that liberty, as envisioned by the founding fathers, can only exist within the constraints of moral order. True liberty does not mean one has the ability to do whatever he or she pleases. Rather, true liberty means one must act responsibly, adhering to the natural order of right and wrong. When one’s actions infringe upon another’s liberty, those actions must be restrained.
When students understand the context surrounding our nation’s inception, the principles expressed by the founding fathers in the Declaration of Independence come alive with greater meaning. Our great nation was formed as a moral nation. The eloquence of the Declaration of Independence proves it.
 Spalding, Matthew. We Still Hold These Truths: Rediscovering Our Principles, Reclaiming Our Future. ISI Books, 2010.
Ann LeBlanc loves learning and deep discussions. She received her Juris Doctorate from the Paul M. Hebert Law Center at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She has a B.S. degree in finance, and is licensed to practice law in the states of Texas and Louisiana. Ann’s experience includes many facets of the legal field and she has argued and written legal briefs at both the state district and appellate court levels in Texas and Louisiana and has also represented clients in Federal court. Ann is also an author and has distinguished herself in the authoring of legal publications and the presentation of seminars for clients and organizations such as the National Business Institute and various insurance agencies.
Ann fulfills her love of learning, however, by teaching. Ann is currently an adjunct professor with LeTourneau University where she teaches American Government and Criminal Justice to dual credit students of Excelsior Classes. Ann has also served as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Louisiana – Lafayette, teaching Business Law. Her passion for education extends to the home, where she homeschools her own children employing the Socratic method. A keen lover of logic, Ann is passionate about teaching critical thinking skills and empowering today’s youth with the ability to analyze the problems of tomorrow, to ensure that our God given rights and freedoms remain unalienable.