- Published: 08 January 2012
The Twin Revolution of 1776 was fundamentally in support of conserving well-developed American values governmentally and not for the purpose of their destruction. As the Continental Congress proclaimed on July 6, 1775, in the "Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms":
[We have taken up arms] ". . . for the preservation of our liberties . . . in defence of the freedom that is our birth-right, and which we ever enjoyed till the late violation of it . . ." (Emphasis added.)
The Twin Revolution was therefore, in general, in defense of established governmental institutions, principles and accustomed rights; but these institutions were then given new functions and significance in the light of the Twin Revolution's goal of complete self-government: Man-over-Government. It was against tyrannous officials acting as usurpers--acting lawlessly, as "out-laws," because outside of the scope of their prescribed authority under Law designed to make and keep secure these things governmental and the people's liberties. It was in pursuit of more complete self-government and Individual Liberty: Freedom from Government-over-Man. An element of evolution governmentally was thus involved: progress through building on the basis of the governmental institutions, customs and civilization in general already established in America. This spelled a vast advance in governmental philosophy and system because--through a century and a half of pioneering governmentally and other-wise--the American people had by 1776 already achieved greater freedom for The Individual from Government-over-Man and a civilization far more advanced politically than any that then existed in the Old World or would exist there for a long time afterward.
The Twin Revolution of 1776 commenced, in truth, a never-ending process of evolution looking towards ever-fuller realization of The American Ideal, of the goals stated in the Declaration of Independence. Therein lies the significance of the call, to endless striving, by James Wilson, one of The Framers, in his oration on July 4, 1788:
"A progressive state is necessary to the happiness and perfection of man. Whatever attainments are already reached, attainments still higher should be pursued. Let us, therefore, strive with noble emulation. Let us suppose we have done nothing, while any thing yet remains to be done. Let us, with fervent zeal, press forward, and make unceasing advances in every thing that can support, improve, refine, or embellish society . . . The commencement of our government has been eminently glorious: let our progress in every excellence be proportionably great. It will--it must be so."
The fact that the Twin Revolution of 1776 is a continuing process of evolution was highlighted in a 1787 address to the American people by Dr. Benjamin Rush, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence (quoting the first and the last paragraphs; emphasis his):
"There is nothing more common, than to confound the terms of American Revolution with those of the late American war. The American war is over: but this is far from being the case with the American revolution. On the contrary, nothing but the first act of the great drama is closed. It remains yet to establish and perfect our new forms of government; and to prepare the principles, morals, and manners of our citizens, for these forms of government, after they are established and brought to perfection . . . Patriots of 1774, 1775, 1776---heroes of 1778, 1779, 1780! come forward! your country demands your services!--Philosophers and friends to mankind, come forward! your country demands your studies and speculations! Lovers of peace and order, who declined taking part in the late war, come forward! your country forgives your timidity and demands your influence and advice! Hear her proclaiming, in sighs and groans, in her governments, in her finances, in her trade, in her manufactures, in her morals, and in her manners, 'THE REVOLUTION IS NOT OVER '"