The Declaration Of Independence And The American Revolutionary Campaign Essay

The Declaration Of Independence And The American Revolutionary Campaign Essay

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In terms of shaping political thought and institutions in America, no two documents have had more influence than that of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. The Declaration of Independence, drafted in 1776, was the zenith of the American Revolutionary campaign. Written largely by Thomas Jefferson, who was heavily influenced by John Locke’s ideas of natural rights, the document was as much a philosophical doctrine as it was a political one (Cummings 2015, 64). After being embroiled in a long, bloody war with Britain for over ten years, the Thirteen Colonies formally emancipated themselves from their mother country through the Declaration. They justified the Revolution and their need for independence in the document by appealing to natural rights as well as by listing the injustices that the Colonies felt that they had suffered under the tyranny of the British King (Cummings 2015, 64-65). The next important document, the original, unamended Constitution, was drafted in 1787 as a replacement to the Articles of Confederation, which had proved largely ineffective at creating an efficient government system (Cummings 2015, 83). America and more specifically, the Framers of the Constitution, recognized that they were in a unique position. They had the opportunity to write history by drafting a document that would create a system of government and a country that had never been conceived before. With this responsibility in mind, they drafted the Constitution, which unified the Colonies into one single country and created a federalist governmental system (Cummings 2015, 85). Despite these advances, the Constitution remained grounded in the values of the Declaration and had provisions embedded within it that the Framer...


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...directly connected to the final important principle of government the Declaration laid out; the right to revolution. If a government had become “destructive of these ends”, such as failing to protect the people’s rights or abusing the power given to them by the people, Jefferson thought it was then the people’s “right…their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security” (Cummings 2015, 64). This was the action Jefferson believed the Colonies had took to escape the abuses of British King and furthermore, believed it was the action that the future peoples of America should take if they suffered from government abuse (Cummings 2015, 64-65). This principle, therefore, acted not only as an incentive for governments to act in the best interest of their citizens but also gave final agency and power to those who were being governed.

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