Declaration of Independence
The Declaration of Independence was written by Thomas Jefferson, and was adopted on July 4, 1776. The major themes of this document were human equality, natural rights, the purpose of government, the right of revolution, and the abuses of power. The colonists felt that the policies of the British were becoming stricter and that the King was going too far with the rules and laws that were being implemented. Some of these being, taxation without representation, his violation of their individual rights, he was also interfering with their colonial self-government, abusing his powers, and finally the unfair trials that were being held. The colonists had thought of four founding ideals and these were self-determination and democracy, justice and liberty, opportunity, and equality. The declaration of independence from England was a huge moment in the history of the United States because this is when we first made the motion to break away from the monarchy of our mother country, Great Britain. During this time Patriotism was at its highest, but some saw that this was not a good decision due to the fact that they had no form of military. Also, they were going up against the largest power in the world.
During the time period of the Declaration of Independence, the colonists were trying to decide whether or not to declare independence from Great Britain. They were also trying to find the best way to structure the nation that they had made, and how to answer and solve questions that were brought up about the issues of slavery, the rights of Indians, the role of the women, and the limits of religious tolerance in the newly founded American society (Brinkley 115). The colonists had been expecting the war conflict with Britain, but when it actually began Americans and the colonies were extremely unprepared, especially going up against the greatest power in the world at the time (Brinkley 115). The colonists had come up with many reasons for why they wanted to declare independence from Great Britain. These reasons were stated in the Declaration of Independence that Thomas Jefferson wrote. Some of these reasons were the colonists felt that the King was taking away their right of Trial by Jury, he was trying people in England for crimes that were committed in the colonies (Jefferson). Also, one of the bigger grievances was that the King was not allowing them to practice their own laws, change the government, and he took their charters away (Jefferson). Some other things that were occurring during the times of the Declaration of Independence was that the King was waging war against the colonists and he was burning the towns, ravaging the coasts, and plundering their seas (Jefferson). Additionally, during this time the King was starting wars between the colonists and he was also bringing Indians into the situation that would often kill people without a reason (Jefferson). The times of the Declaration of Independence was a time where the colonists were in a tough position. The King was being a tyrannical leader and because of this the colonists felt the need to declare their independence, going up against the biggest power in the world must have been extremely scary, but it was also necessary for many.
The Declaration of Independence was affected by outside forces in many different ways. The actual document of the Declaration of Independence was actually being printed which allowed for it to be seen all over the colonies. The printing of this helped get everyone informed of what was occurring, if they didn’t already know. Many of the complaints or grievances that Thomas Jefferson wrote in the declaration were evident to the colonists. Thomas Paine was one that affected the declaration because he wrote the Common Sense, which helped to build support for the idea of independence from Great Britain (Armitage). In just a few months of the pamphlet being out, more than a 100,000 copies were sold (Brinkley 116). The printing press is what greatly helped this because without it, many would not have gotten the pamphlet and would have been unaware of what was happening. Thomas Paine along with the printing press helped to create unity in the colonies. Also, John Locke an influential philosopher from the Enlightenment inspired Thomas Jefferson (Brinkley 116). This was affective because Thomas Jefferson was inspired by John Locke’s theory on government (Brinkley 116-117).
I believe that it is important for people today to understand this event because this is arguably one of the most important times in the history of the United States. If it wasn’t for the Declaration of Independence who knows what it would be like today? To this day we could have been still under the ownership of Great Britain. The Declaration of Independence was the document that was written to the King saying that we were going to no longer be ruled by him. The topic of the Declaration of Independence has been greatly remembered. From as long as I can remember we have learned about this topic in school. In elementary school students are introduced to this because it was the beginning of the history of the United States. Personally, I believe that the Declaration of Independence is and has always been presented in a good way because the colonists went from being ruled by a tyrannical leader to forming their own country and government. The Declaration of Independence in my eyes has always been remembered and almost everyone knows about this time in the history of the United States. I think that today American’s have a good understanding of this topic and that they have a good knowledge about this time period.
Today in the world that we live in I think that there is a lot to learn from the Declaration of Independence and the time period surrounding it. For example, the major themes of the declaration were human equality, natural rights, the purpose of government, the right of revolution, and the abuses of power. At this day and age, I think that these problems have been solved for the most part. Also, the four American’s founding ideals are still being upheld today. All in all, I think there are many lessons that can be learned from the times of the Declaration of Independence because of the many government issues that had been solved. The Declaration of Independence showed a huge progress in the building of the United States that is influential to this day. Additionally, the Declaration of Independence has inspired other nations and people to go up against their government, which is not leading the people the right way. Finally, I believe that it allows us to know that our country was founded on challenging our government so if need be, we can follow the example that our Founding Fathers set.
“AP United States History: The Declaration of Independence in World Context | AP Central – The College Board.” AP Central, 21 June 2017, apcentral.collegeboard.org/series/america-on-the-world-stage/declaration-of-independence-in-world-context.
Brinkley, Alan. The Unfinished Nation a Concise History of the American People. 6th ed., vol. 1, McGraw-Hill, 2010.
“The Declaration of Independence: Full Text.” Ushistory.org, Independence Hall Association, www.ushistory.org/declaration/document/.