How Did The Enlightenment Influence The Declaration Of Independence

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“The Declaration of Independence, written by Thomas Jefferson and adopted by the Second Continental Congress, states the reasons the British colonies of North America sought independence in July of 1776 (“SparkNotes”).” The text document opens with a preamble explaining why the thirteen colonies have overthrown their ruler and chosen to take their place as a separate nation in the world. Governments should never infringe on both the idea that all men are created equal and certain unalienable rights of citizens such as the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. When a government fails to protect their unalienable rights, it is not only their right, but their duty to overthrown that government. After that, the people should…show more content…
The Enlightenment was present during the 17th and 18th centuries when thinkers explain both the physical universe and human behavior using reason and science, and Jefferson believed that by learning the “laws of nature”, humanity could be improved. He was well educated with the history and political philosophy of Great Britain, and he also read the statements of independence from fellow revolutionaries like Thomas Paine and George Mason. In drafting the declaration, Jefferson followed the arrangement of the English Declaration of Rights, written after the Glorious Revolution of 1689. Many believe Jefferson got his ideas from the writings of English philosopher John…show more content…
Some slave owners argued that slaves would become equal and worthy of natural rights only when they became civilized. For Jefferson, a life-long owner of slaves, this was a much more complex issue (“Natural Rights”).” Jefferson thought that slavery was immoral, and to his credit he denounced the slave trade. Some believe that Jefferson agreed with the Scottish philosopher Francis Hutcheson that all men are born morally equal to one another. In principle, Jefferson opposed slavery, but he saw no way to end the practice once established. He feared that a war of extermination which the whites would win would result from white prejudice and black bitterness. He also feared that if slaves were freed they would have nowhere to go and no means to survive on their own, and also, he and other slave owners depended on slave labor for economic reasons. The best idea Jefferson came up with was to take slave children from their parents and educate them on things such as trade, and once they become adults, they would be transported to a colony where they can start a new life as a “free and independent people.” Nothing ever came of his plan, and slavery remained in America until the end of the Civil War. But even then, the
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