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Declaration of Independence Comparison Paper

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Comparison Paper

Alesha Hope

GOVT 200-D05 LUO

        Date        

        The United States Constitution, Thomas Jefferson‘s Letter to the Danbury Baptists, and the Declaration of Independence are three most important document in the foundation of the United States. The first document the Declaration of Independence in 1776 marked the end of the US struggle against its colonizers. This was followed by establishment of self-governance law through the US Constitution enacted in 1778, and finally the declaration of the government stands on its relationship with the church, through Thomas Jefferson’s Letter to the Danbury Baptists in 1802. The three documents gave a foundation through which the United States stands today, legally, politically and spiritually.

        The main theme in the Declaration of Independence is equality. American managed to suppress the Britain power (colonizers) over them, by demonstrating to them that they were violating the biblical equality principle by oppressing them, considering American to be inferior to them and acting as their masters through colonization (Constitution’s Fact, n.d.). This document is highly based on biblical teachings in the book of Philippians 2: 3 where people are cautioned against doing things with selfish ambition, by valuing themselves above others, and also in the book of Genesis 1:27 that claims that God created human in his own image. The bible was used to show British that they were sinning against God by putting their selfish desires above the life of Americans. It was also used to show them that they were trying to take the role of God by pretending to be American master. To remain true to the religion they preached, they had no option but to grant American their independence, and the rights to govern themselves, through their own constitution. Thus, the Declaration of Independence came first, followed by the Constitution.  Provision of independence played a great role in directing the US to establish its own constitution, as a sign of self-governance.

The main theme in the US Constitution is protection of important human rights. The constitution focused on countering the colonial rule by ensuring that citizens got back the rights taken away from them, during colonization. The Constitution emphasized on giving citizens right for worship without government interference, freedom of expression, and rights of life. This was a new beginning to American people, where they could feel and live their freedom (History.com, 2009). The two documents; the US Constitution and Declaration of Independence, demonstrate the theme of offering equal respect and rights to human race. However, although the American used biblical principles to gain their independence, they refused to use the same principles to grant freedom to the African Slaves working in their farms. This shows double standards on American side, where they use the biblical laws to resolve political matters when it favors them, but ignore them in a situation where they are the ones to lose.  

The main theme in the Thomas Jefferson letter to the Danbury Baptist was the separation of church and the state. The letter was informing the church that the government has no intention of interfering with their way of worship. It acted as an affirmation of the constitution fundamental right of freedom of worship. The letter shows satisfaction and joy of clear separation of the church, where by the church would practice its doctrines and God’s law without questioning or state interference (Bill if Rights Institute, 2019). Although the constitution was clear on its intention to separate church and state, the same cannot be said about the Declaration of Independence. In Declaration of Independence, the writer used biblical principles to win political war. This clearly showed a strong relation between God’s law and effective governance. Thus, the declaration of independence demonstrated a positive relationship between God and governance, though no clear stand on the relationship between the church and the state. On the contrary, the constitution refused to fully apply God’s law in its governance and instead, it only embraced the separation of state and church by granting American freedom of worship. This means, the church was supposed to act without state interference, and similarly the state anticipated acting without church interference. The refusal to apply biblical principle to free slaves and provision of freedom of worship demonstrated the constitution desire to separate God and governance as well. By this one act (not freeing the slaves), the government, through provision of the constitution demonstrated lack of interest in applying God’s law in governance, since God’s law are universal and static. The government could have only demonstrated its desire to apply God’s law in governance in the constitution, if it applied the same law that granted the country independence from British colony, to release slaves that Americans were holding captive. However, the American government refused to do so, showing a state ready to govern independent of Gods’ law. This is a kind of governance where the government can always change rules to benefits the ruler. Meaning, a law can be considered void in a situation where the ruler is likely to lose. Unlike God’s laws that are equally applicable to all, government laws can be changed to fit the desired results.  

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