Analysis Of Howard Mumford Jones 's Critique Of The Declaration Of Independence

Analysis Of Howard Mumford Jones 's Critique Of The Declaration Of Independence

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Purpose and Contradiction: A Reexamination of Howard Mumford Jones’s Critique of The Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of Independence2 can be broken down into five distinct sections according to Stephen Lucas’s, “The Stylistic Artistry of the Declaration of Independence.”3 These sections are the introduction, preamble, indictment section, “Denunciation of the British People”, and the conclusion3. According to Howard Mumford Jones, who is a well-known scholar and author in American History, the document can be invalidated by its lack of evidence and outrageous claims. Jones believes the Declaration of Independence is, “firm in structure and laconic in expression.”1 (Jones 3) In further explanation of the Declaration of Independence, Jones accuses the indictment section of lacking sufficient evidence, and that the idea of ‘inalienable rights’ is an outlandish idea because life and liberty are limited by law.2
Considering Jones’s strongly worded critique of The Declaration of Independence, some may find it odd that Jones himself calls the document, “one of the two most powerful public papers ever issued in this country…" (Jones 3) as he seems to be in strong opposition to this short but wonderfully structured document.2 By stating this, Jones begins to regard the power of the Declaration of Independence without fully acknowledging the legitimacy of the document. Jones views the document as a more persuasive document rather than an insightful, scholarly article, which does not necessarily disregard its legitimacy. However, Jones’s assertion that this document is not legitimate due to its so called lack of evidence and excessive persuasiveness leads the reader to believe that a persuasive document is not able to...

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...e indictment section was referencing with this being one of 26 examples.
The Declaration of Independence was a radical document for its time. It began a quest for the ‘inalienable rights’ that many still do not have in 2015 and while Jones critiques the document based on its lack of evidence and overcompensation of how many rights can truly be inalienable, the purpose of this document is overlooked in Jones’ critique. The purpose of this document was to spark a social and political revolution, leading the colonies out of oppression and into a brighter future where people can overcome. History shows that since The Declaration of Independence has been published, we have created great change and opened the doors for so many other countries, people, and minority populations with the ideas and even some of the same language from this document.

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