One great historical irony is that in the 18th century the powerful white male founders in the emerging United States vigorously insisted, in struggles with British officials, on their own human and civil rights as they created one of the West’s most celebrated rebellions against autocratic authority. In summer 1776 they crafted a Declaration of Independence that famously stated the “self-evident” truth that “all men are created equal” and are endowed with the “unalienable Rights” of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” They further asserted that governments are created “to secure these rights” and derive “their just powers from the consent of the governed.” Then they insist that, if “any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government … to effect their Safety and Happiness.” Although most of the white men who proclaimed these views did not deem the relatively radical Declaration as encompassing much more than the rights of propertied white men like themselves, this was an early western statement of broad human rights, one that has influenced hundreds of independence movements and human rights documents and speeches ever since. The latter have included the 1789 French “Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen”; the 1848 Seneca Falls women’s rights convention’s “Declaration of Sentiments”; Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Gettysburg Address; declarations of numerous U.S. workers’, women’s, civil rights, and environmental groups; and national declarations of independence for Haiti, Mexico, Vietnam, Liberia, and numerous other countries. 1