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Back to Table of Contents, A Declaration of Universal Rights

Article 5 — Civil Government

Section 2: Government Instituted For Common Benefit

Civil government is, and ought to be, instituted for the common security and protection of inalienable rights; of all the various modes and forms of civil government, that is best which is capa­ble of securing the greatest degree of happiness and safety, and is most effectually secured against the danger of maladministration.

Whenever any form of civil government systematically and habitually fans to secure the immuta­ble rights of the people, it is equally the right of the people to alter or abolish that form of civil gov­ernment and institute a new form, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such a way and in such manner as shall be judged most conducive to securing immutable rights.

This section notes that the people are free to select a particular form of government. The reference to securing happiness is not to say civil government has the jurisdiction to make men happy, but only to reiterate that the happiness of men is best secured by civil government when it exercises only the powers biblically ex­tended to it by the people as God's agent, and where such powers exercised for the object of securing their inalienable rights.

The section also expressly declares that the people have a right to revoke their agency, though the exercise of such a right is not dependent upon the civil government acting incorrectly. The rule here is that the people can alter the form of civil government as they desire, but must institute a new form which is better able to secure their rights from God. This approach does not sanction mob rule or anarchy. It incorporates the doc­trine of resistance through the lower magistrates as the lawful agent of the people.


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