Thomas Paine's Idea Of Equality In The Declaration Of Independence

analytical Essay
1567 words
1567 words

From the beginning of the nations history, America has gone through many trials to develop the idea of equality. Just like people have to go through trials to develop their character, America had to as well. Had these events not occurred, America would not have developed its principles it was founded upon. Throughout centuries, America has shown development from events that showed both equality and inequality (thesis). During the Revolutionary period, Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence created the idea that “every man is created equal”. The citizens living in the American colonies did not feel equal to Great Britain because of many factors, with one of those being the taxes the King put on them without their consent. Before …show more content…

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that america has gone through many trials to develop the idea of equality. had these events not occurred, america would not have developed its principles it was founded upon.
  • Analyzes how thomas jefferson created the idea of "every man is created equal" in the declaration of independence. the enlightenment and the great awakening influenced the colonists towards equality.
  • Explains that the articles of confederation were ratified by all thirteen states on march 1, 1781.
  • Analyzes how jackson's "common man philosophy" helped create equality for all citizens in the expansion period. he vetoed the re-chartering of the united states bank.
  • Analyzes how the civil war and the reconstruction period are crucial moments in the advancement of equality.
  • Opines that america has come a long way in its fight for equality and continues to pursue the idea to this day.

Paine’s ideas influenced the Declaration of Independence in the fact that the American colonies fought for their independence in the Revolutionary War for a nation with equality. During this time period there were two main movements; The Enlightenment and the Great Awakening. After the creation of American colonies, the Enlightenment thinkers such as John Locke influenced the idea of natural rights against a powerful government authority. “A state also of equality, wherein all the power and jurisdiction is reciprocal, no one having more than another; there being nothing more evident, than that creatures of the same species and rank, promiscuously born to all the same advantages of nature, and the use of the same faculties, should also be equal one amongst another without subordination or subjection...” (Locke). Since the …show more content…

The Articles of Confederation were ratified by all thirteen states on March 1, 1781 (The Articles of Confederation). From article two, “Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom and independence, and every Power, Jurisdiction and right, which is not by this confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled.” (Transcript of Articles of Confederation) The goal of these articles was to keep the government limited and to give the states more power and rights. Stemming from experience with Great Britain, which seemed to be a good idea, the articles failed only a few years later. There was too much state authority and Congress was too weak, resulting in the inability to pass any laws. Congress, under President John Adams passed the Alien and Sedition acts over a decade later. The laws increased the American citizenship requirement from five years to fourteen years. In addition, the President also had the authority to deport or imprison aliens who “ he shall judge dangerous to the peace and safety of the United States, or shall have reasonable grounds to suspect are concerned in any treasonable or secret machinations against the government thereof...” (Transcript of Alien and Sedition Acts). Only a few decades before, the nation desired equality for everyone, but these acts went against Jefferson, Paine, and Locke’s ideas. In this time

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