In a time when virtually the entire world lived under the rule of kings and queens, a group of men living in a far-flung colonial possession made a political statement that shook the established order of things to its foundations. They declared thus,

“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. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

“All Men Are Created Equal”

1776: A Most Revolutionary Revolution

This statement turned the notion of where political rights resided upside down. Under the monarchies, the king or queen was selected to rule by God, not by his subjects. This was known as the Divine Right of Kings. Your ruler has been given his throne by God; all political rights were resident in him. Your king might lend his people some rights and privileges so they could do things for him, but he owned you outright. Your life, property, and every morsel of food you put in your mouth belonged to him. And he could end your life with just his signature on a piece of paper.