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The Declaration of Independence

Essay by review  •  November 10, 2010  •  Essay  •  692 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,147 Views

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In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson wrote "that all men are created equalÐ'... with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" (78). The fundamental meaning of life is a collection of experiences from birth to death. Liberty is defined as freedom from unjust or unnecessary government. Last, Pursuit of happiness is defined as the act of chasing or pursuing joy, pleasure or satisfaction. So, Jefferson says that everyone has the right to collect their experiences of life, be free from unjust government, and be joyful and satisfied. If this freedom and pursuit is jeopardized by the government, the people have the right and duty to invoke change or remove the governing body from power. Removal of the governing body should only be done when there is a long history of abuses.

The Declaration of Independence was written as a means of telling these abuses of King George III to the world as a jury. The problem was what law was to be used. It could not be English law because that was what the declaration was separating from. Any other countries laws would not have authority. So, Jefferson used John Locke's Natural Law. Natural Law is the rights of all individuals, regardless of nationality, and is older than any government.

The first three paragraphs of the declaration sets out the intent of writing a declaration of independence. The three rights Jefferson points out have become the basis of the American ideology. Also it was a message that the people were going to take control of an unjust governing body and establish a new government that follows the will of the people. The people give the government power and if it is abusive it's the people's right to change it. The Constitution later would give people the right to vote which allows for the governed to influence the government directly. Even later, in 1865 the 13th Amendment would free slaves and five years later the 15th would give every citizen the right to vote, except women. Then in 1920 women were given the right to vote.

In the next part, the facts of King George's abuses are presented to the world.

The abuses are arranged into four clear-cut groups. The first group of abuses are of executive powers, for instance shelving colonial law, disbanding colonial legislatures, obstructing justice, and maintaining an army during peace. The second group is subjecting America to unconstitutional actions, involving taxing the colonists without consent, cutting off trade with



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