The Winning Oration Annual Congress National Competition 2013
By Luis Vasquez
The Veracity in Freedom
Contest held July 2013 in Missouri
"When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissole the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation." With these words, Thomas Jefferson, one of our nation's most prominent founding fathers, iterated an unchallengeable dogma which he believes to be intrinsically true: certain unalienable rights are shared by peoples of all nations, civilizations, and cultures. The Declaration of Independence was signed by our forefathers in 1776 - two hundred and thirty six years ago - and yet, the Declaration of Independence is clearly one of the most lasting and impacting documents on our modern society as a whole.
Before the signing of the Declaration, it had been over a year of constant, brutal fighting with the British. The Seven Years' War around fifteen years earlier had only further deteriorated and depreciated the relation amongst the thirteen colonies and the 'mother country'. Debt from wars beleaguered the British government, thus becoming the catalyst for the taxes imposed on the thirteen colonies. When one analyzes the taxes placed on the Americans by the British, one can't help but wonder why the colonists were so enraged by these taxes. Taxes such as the sugar act, tea act, molasses act, and stamp act really didn't raise the price of these goods a notable amount. No one was going hungry or something of the sort due to imposing of these taxes. So what was it that really infuriated the Americans? Is was no representation. The Americans weren't represented for in the British Parliament; in other words, Americans had no diplomatic way to object to or fight against these new taxes. Money, though a meager amount, was getting taken out of their pockets and the Americans could not do anything about it. Eventually, when it became apparent to the Americans that protesting these taxes wouldn't be enough, the last resort option needed to be done: war with Britain; a war fought for their rights, rights believed to be unalienable, rights that (as the Declaration of Independence states) government is obligated to protect. It was a war for freedom.
The main event of 1776 wasn't to come on a battlefield or during a war; it was the signing of the Declaration of Independence that was a remarkable feat. However, the desire for independence wasn't the reason for the instigation of war against Britain, rather it was the book "Common Sense" by Thomas Paine. This book challenged the idea that settlement by words with Britain was not possible and instead iterated a strong belief in independence at all costs. With the help of the book, quickly the American mood shifted towards independence. Finally, on June 7, 1776 a gesture to affirm independence came before C