Summary Of The Declaration Of Independence

explanatory Essay
1745 words
1745 words

Drew Hysjulien James Madison Summer Institute Essay #2 The Declaration of Independence refers to “our constitution”, in this respect they were referring to the Ancient British Constitution. The United States was expressing the fundamental aspects of British politics; among these were Classic Republicanism, Enlightenment Liberalism, and Protestant Christianity. In the Declaration they balanced all of these English traditions; expressing what they believed to be the true spirit of the British Constitution. As Edmund Burke would say, “(the Revolution) was carried out not to create new liberties but to preserve old ones” (Wood, p. 58). The main issue that the colonies had with the British following 1763, was England’s belief in the doctrine of …show more content…

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that the declaration of independence refers to "our constitution", in this respect they were referring to the ancient british constitution.
  • Explains locke's theory of natural right and consent in the declaration of independence.
  • Explains that sovereignty hung the natural rights to life, liberty, and happiness. the british placed new taxes upon the colonies following the seven years war.
  • Explains that taxation and representation are inseparable, and that whatever is a man’s own, is absolutely his own. robbery destroys the distinction between liberty and slavery.
  • Explains that in british history tyranny was associated with the crown imposing his or her will upon the british. the colonists were concerned about the contemporaneous limits on liberty and property, but were worried that all natural rights could be taken from them without their consent.
  • Explains the political philosophy of a composite sovereign, in which the colonies had an initial charter with the king, while each colony maintained the right to legislative self-rule.
  • Analyzes how the declaration lists grievances to the king of england, who the colonists viewed as the link that tied them to britain.
  • Explains that the king was a despotic power who had broken his covenant with the people with his tyrannical acts.

In this political philosophy the colonies had originally made a charter with the king who set a custom that he was to provide for the defense of the colonially while each colony maintained the right to legislative self-rule. Jefferson would state, “the addition of new states to the British Empire has produced an addition of new, and sometimes opposite interests. It is now therefore, the great office of his majesty to resume the exercise of his negative power, and to prevent the passage of laws by any one legislature of the empire, which might bear injuriously on the right and interest of another” (A Warning to the King: Thomas Jefferson, “A Summary View of the Rights of British-America”, Green, p. 234). In other words, for Americans to preserve the true ancient British constitution, it was vital to establish that parliament did not have authority over them, because they could never be required to give up actual popular consent or governance in the British Parliament. Thomas Hutchinson stated this idea clear, “The king might retain the executive power and also his share of the legislative without any abridgement of our rights as Englishmen, the Parliament could not retain their legislative power without depriving them of those rights, for after removal they could no longer be represented, and their sovereign, sensible of this charter or commissions made provision in every colon for legislature …show more content…

In the Declaration of Independence references to God are made in four spots. The drafters of the Declaration would refer to “nature’s God” and inalienable rights which the “Creator” recognizing that natural rights were only a result of the Divinity (Declaration of Independence, Greene, p. 298). However, most Americans were not mere deists; they were a Christian people who believed in an active God. Thus in the conclusion the Declaration refers to the “Supreme Judge” and “Divine Providence” (Declaration of Independence, Greene, p. 300). This belief in religion, which of the time was primarily Protestant Calvinism, explains the method of civil resistance pursued in North

Get Access