This opinion column originally appeared in townhall.com on 6/25/2013.
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.
-- Declaration of Independence
When Thomas Jefferson wrote these words, men throughout the colonies were preparing for war with a British empire that was predominant in every facet of military power. For this reason, many among in the British military did not take the colonists seriously and others within the British aristocracy openly ridiculed them.
The colonists were viewed as hayseeds with old rifles, little, if any, military training, and a lack of gratitude for King George III’s good graces.
Many of these things were true -- the colonists did have old rifles, many of them did lack military training, and, in 1776, a growing number of them resented King George more than they thanked him.