JULY 6, 1956
HYDE PARK—It seems rather significant on the eve of the Fourth of July the record vote should be taken in Congress on the Powell amendment to the Kelley bill for money for school construction. For on the Fourth of July particularly the attention of everyone should be called to what was said by our forebearers in the Declaration of Independence.
Certain of our citizens might well say to others today what our forebearers once said to their British brethren:
"Nor have we been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us.
"We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kinship to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence.
"They, too, have been deaf to the voice of justice and consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends."
It might be said that there was no consanguinity to be called upon in the issues that separated the Congress in 1956 in the discussion of the Powell amendment. But the circumstances of emigration of certain of our citizens certainly could well be remembered.
And the fact that we have a group of citizens which has petitioned us for a long time for what they consider native justice might well lead them to feel that they must look upon us, when we oppose their aspirations, as Enemies in War. And we will be fortunate if they stick to a feeling that we are Friends in Peace.
I have always loved the Declaration of Independence for the mere sound of the English which rolls out in such resounding phrases against the injustices of that day. I have always thought, too, that the ending would give dignity and courage to any group of men banded together.
What more could one man say to another than, "And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor"?
That was a pretty broad and comprehensive pledge and one must be tremendously concerned about the objectives he wants to achieve before he would give that pledge to any group of men.
I wonder how many of us today could give it honestly again to the Constitution of the United States as a whole, including its amendments. And I wonder if each and every member of Congress, taking a stand on principles, weighs that stand in the light of this pledge.