Declaration of Independence is a document that is most treasured in United State since it announced independence to American colonies which were at war with Great Britain. It was drafted by Thomas Jefferson back in July 1776 and contained formal explanation of the reason why the Congress had declared independence from Great Britain. Therefore, the document marked the independence of the thirteen colonies of America, a condition which had caused revolutionary war.
America celebrates its day of independence on 4th July, the day when the congress approved the Declaration for Independence (Becker, 2008). With that background in mind, this essay shall give an analysis of the key issues closely linked to the United States Declaration of Independence. As highlighted in the introductory part, there was the revolutionary war in the thirteen American colonies before the declaration for independence that had been going on for about a year. Immediately after the end of the Seven Years War, the relationship between American colonies and their mother country started to deteriorate. In addition, some acts which were established in order to increase tax revenue from the colonies ended up creating a tax dispute between the colonies and the Government (Fradin, 2006). The main reason why the Declaration for Independence was written was to declare the convictions of Americans especially towards their rights. The main aim was to declare the necessity for independence especially to the colonist as well as to state their view and position on the purpose of the government. In addition, apart from making their grievances known to King George III, they also wanted to influence other foreigners like the France to support them in their struggle towards independence.
Most authors and historians believe that the main influence of Jefferson was the English Declaration of Rights that marked the end King James II Reign. As much as the influence of John Locke who was a political theorist from England is questioned, it is clear that he influenced the American Revolution a great deal. Although most historians criticize the Jefferson’s influence by some authors like Charles Hutcheson, it is clear that the philosophical content of the Declaration emanates from other philosophical writings. The self evident truths in the Declaration for Independence is that all men are created equal and do also have some rights which ought not to be with held at all costs. In addition, the document also illustrated that government is formed for the sole purpose of protecting those rights as it is formed by the people who it governs. Finally, if the government losses the consent, it then qualifies to be either replaced or abolished. Such truths are not only mandatory but they do not require any further emphasis. Therefore, being self evident means that each truth speaks on its own behalf and should not be denied at whichever circumstances (Zuckert, 1987).
The main reason why they were named as self evident was to influence the colonists to see the reality in the whole issue. Jefferson based his argument from on the theory of natural rights as illustrated by John Locke who argued that people have got rights which are not influenced by laws in the society (Tuckness, 2010). One of the truths in the Declaration for Independence is the inalienable rights which are either individual or collective.
Such rights are inclusive of right to liberty, life and pursuit of happiness. Unalienable rights means rights which cannot be denied since they are given by God. In addition, such rights cannot even be sold or lost at whichever circumstance. Apart from individual rights, there are also collective rights like the right of people to chose the right government and also to abolish it incase it fails achieve its main goal. The inalienable goals are based on the law of nature as well as on the nature’s God as illustrated in the John Locke’s philosophy. It is upon the government to recognize that individuals are entitled to unalienable rights which are bestowed by God. Although the rights are not established by the civil government, it has a great role to ensure that people are able to express such laws in the constitution (Morgan, 2010).
Explaining the purpose of the government was the major intent of the Declaration for Independent. The document explains explicitly that the main purpose is not only to secure but also to protect the rights of the people from individual and life events that threaten them. However, it is important to note that the government gets its power from the people it rules or governs.
The purpose of the government of protecting the God given rights of the people impacts the decision making process in several ways. To begin with, the government has to consider the views of the people before making major decisions failure to which it may be considered unworthy and be replaced. Therefore, the decision making process becomes quite complex as several positions must be taken in to consideration.
The declaration identifies clearly the conditions under which the government can be abolished or replaced. For example, studies of Revolutionary War and Beyond, states that “any form of government becomes destructive of these ends; it is the right of the people, to alter or abolish it and institute a new government” (par. 62010). Therefore, document illustrated that the colonists were justified to reject or abolish the British rule.
The declaration was very significant especially due to the fact that it illustrated explicitly the conditions which were present in America by the time it was being made. For example, one of the key grievances of the thirteen colonies was concerning the issue of slave trade. The issue of abolishing slavery was put in the first draft of the declaration for independent although it was scrapped off later since the southern states were against the abolishment of slave trade.
Another issue which was illustrated in the declaration was the fact that the king denied the colonists the power to elect their representatives in the legislatures. While the colonists believed that they had the right to choose the government to govern them, in the British government, it was the duty of the King to do so. Attaining land and migrating to America was the right of colonists to liberty and since the King had made it extremely difficult for the colonists to do so; the Declaration was very significant in addressing such grievances. There are many more problems that were present that were addressed by the Declaration as it was its purpose to do so.
Becker, C. L. (2008).
The Declaration of Independence: A Study in the History of Political Ideas. Illinois: BiblioBazaar, LLC . Fradin, D. B.
(2006). The Declaration of Independence. New York : Marshall Cavendish. Morgan, K. L.
(2010). he Declaration of Independence, Equality and Unalienable Rights. Retrieved November 20, 2010, from http://www.lonang.com/conlaw/7/c71c.htm Revolutionary War and Beyond. (2010).
The Purpose of the Declaration of Independence. Retrieved November 20, 2010, from http://www.revolutionary-war-and-beyond.com/purpose-of-declaration-of-independence.html Tuckness, A.
(2010). Locke’s Political Philosophy. Retrieved November 23, 2010, from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/locke-political/ Zuckert, M.
P. (1987). Self-Evident Truth and the Declaration of Independence. The Review of Politics , 49 (3), 319-339.