Below are quotes from the first few paragraphs of the US 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.
Quite a first line, ALL men are created equal and life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are unalienable rights. Gets right to the point.
That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
Like Abraham Lincoln said in the Gettysburg Address many years later, Government’s purpose should be to secure these rights. All governmental powers are derived from the consent of the governed.
That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.
Whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, the ends of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, when said government does not secure those rights it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it.
We alter it quite frequently, but there now seem to be many people that want to abolish it, and for the wrong reasons. The ultra-rich wanting less US Government, so they will have an even greater ability to control themselves, would be like King George wanting to abolish the first U.S. Government.
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes. Well, there goes the teabaggers rationale. So much for anti-marriage (same sex) amendments, prohibition also falls in this category. The Constitution and the government should be where rights are enumerated and guaranteed, not denied.
But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.
The throwing off part seems fairly clear, the abuses part is less clear. I don’t think there really has been any serious discussion about providing new guards for future security.
What I especially like about the Declaration of Independence is that “happiness” occupies a key and central place. The Constitution spells out how this government should work, but the Declaration gives the reasons and purpose.