Reconsidering the Promises of the Declaration of Independence
I’ve been busy this past spring and summer preparing scripts and narrating performances of Declaring Independence – Then and Now. The program is a 40 minute performance piece in which a narrator and cast bring to life the words of the Declaration, followed by an audience conversation on the continuing relevance of those words. Declaring Independence is part of a multi-year joint initiative of Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area and the American Antiquarian Society to engage citizens in the ideas and transformative potential of the Declaration of Independence. This initiative includes researching the ways in which independence was conceived and debated within colonial communities in the years leading up to 1776; tracing how the Declaration’s role evolved in American communities; and considering the challenges and potential of this living document for Americans today.
The Declaration of Independence was a revolutionary document in 1776. It remains revolutionary today. Why? Because it asserts rights to liberty and equality that have the enduring power to transform individual lives and to remake our society. Generations of Americans have worked to redeem these revolutionary promises. The struggle to secure liberty, equality, and justice for all continues today. How are we doing?
Over the past three years, Declaring Independence has been viewed by over 8,000. The conversations that follow have been spirited, thoughtful, sometimes controversial. I remain committed to the belief that the values of the Declaration are something that all of us — even in our current divided atmosphere — can agree on. As such, they can serve as a starting point for constructive dialog and a path forward.