You might only remember the mamby pamby business up top about “the course of human events” and “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness“, but the bulk of the text of the Declaration of Independence is essentially a legal complaint against King George III. And it’s the awesomest complaint ever written. TO WIT:
- Random capitalization. Back in the Founders’ day, there weren’t grammatical rules dictating capitalization. You just capitalized the words you felt like capitalizing. Like this: “America is so Totally Awesome a whole Nation will drink excessive Beers on a Thursday afternoon to Celebrate it.”
- And aside from the aforementioned random capitalization, I think we can all agree that “To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world” is a much cooler heading than “FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS.”
- It basically accuses the mother f-ing King of England of being a pirate: “He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.” ARRRR, snap!
- AND there is some suggestion that King George III was a necromancer. I mean, if you read between the lines and assume the “large Armies of foreign Mercenaries” were a legion of zombie ghouls given they were allegedly sent “to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages.” [I hope Thomas Jefferson: Zombie Slayer is a better movie than Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter was.]
- It throws shade at Canada. One of the complaints is “For abolishing the free system of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government” which was objectionable because it suggested he might have planned on “introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies.” Or, essentially, we need a revolution or we might face the nightmare scenario of BEING LIKE CANADA.
- And then there is some hard-core racism about “merciless Indian Savages” that is the full-on opposite of awesome, because I guess it wouldn’t be a foundational document of ‘MURCA without shameful references to our legacy of oppression. But moving right along…
- The appeal is submitted “to the Supreme Judge of the world.” You file any papers with GOD recently?
- John Hancock’s signature is better than yours and you know it.
- And the demand for relief? Just the establishment of the Greatest Country in the World. USA! USA!
So next time you’re falling asleep at your desk drafting up a complaint for a client, strive to be more like T. Jeff and the rest of the Founders and create your own document of awesomeness. [Except you should not be horrifyingly racist, of course. And maybe you should follow standard capitalization rules. And don’t try to dissolve any political bands, you’ll probably start a war.]
And from all of us at Bitter Lawyer, have a self-evidently awesome 4th of July.
Originally posted July, 2013.
[Declaration of Independence image via Shutterstock]