Writing Declaration of Independence Essaysnifram
In the beginning of your declaration of independence essay, you need to mention what declaration of independence is.
The United States Declaration of Independence is a historic document which declared British colonies in North America independent from Great Britain. It was passed unanimously by the Second Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The day of adoption (but not signing) of the Declaration of Independence, July 4, is celebrated in the US as Independence Day. The Declaration was the first official document where the colonies were called “The United States of America.”
War for Independence
In 1763, when the Seven Years’ War ended in triumph for the British colonial policy in the New World and Canada moved from France to the British Empire, the colonists celebrated the victory. For many future revolutionaries, it was the experience of the Seven Years’ War that was the first military experience in the war against the British regular units.
But during triumph, difficulties arose connected with the desire of the British Empire to control the colonies, the desire to unify the colonial system, deprive the colonies of those many privileges dating back to the 17th century, to the times of the British revolutions, when the government did not have time to deal with the colonies. The budget needed additional funds to cover the costs of the Seven Years’ War that just finished. The British Empire wanted the following:
- More control over the colonies
All of these stringent measures from London, first led to a powerful crisis, and then to the fact that the first blood was spilled. When the blood flows, it is already very difficult to stop the escalation of violence.
Initially, the colonists advocated the idea of self-government – home rule. However, the situation quickly radicalized because of the sharp decisions from the London cabinet that included:
- The adoption of “intolerable acts” on the eve of the revolution
- The acts of Townshend (1767), when a number of goods, including tea, were taxed.
- New taxes.
In 1774, the Continental Congress of representatives of 13 American colonies was convened in Philadelphia, which eventually began to stand for complete independence.
You have probably heard about the Boston Massacre, when soldiers from the British regular units stationed in Boston opened fire, apparently in response for some insults and attacks. A few years later, the famous “Boston Tea Party” (December 16, 1773) happened when at night several dozen revolutionaries threw a huge load of tea from three ships into the sea. The fact is that the London East India Company received in May of that year the right of duty-free import of tea to the New World. Smuggling then became a kind of patriotic act for American, including Boston merchants.
History of the Declaration of Independence
Of course, in your declaration of independence essay, you need to mention the history of its creation.
On June 7, Richard Henry Lee made a resolution at the Continental Congress on the independence of the colonies. On June 11, a committee of five deputies was appointed. It was in charge of preparing a document known today as the US Declaration of Independence. They were John Adams (Massachusetts), Roger Sherman (Connecticut), Robert Livingston (New York), Benjamin Franklin (Pennsylvania), and Thomas Jefferson (Virginia).
The main author of the Declaration of Independence was Thomas Jefferson. The Continental Congress voted for the Declaration of Independence on July 2 but the discussion continued on July 3. The official date of proclamation of the Declaration of Independence is July 4 – the day of its promulgation in the final form.
The declaration of US independence can be conditionally divided into five parts.
- The first paragraph proclaims the need to explain the reasons that can force one people to dissolve the political ties that connect it with another.
- In the second paragraph, the principles of natural law are declared which base the legitimate authority. The violation by the authorities of these principles leads to the loss of legitimacy and justifies its overthrow.
- Then the charges against George III are listed, whose (usurpations) justify the separation of the American colonies.
- In the fourth part talks about an unsatisfactory answer to the Americans when they addressed the British government.
- As a consequence, in the final fifth part, “united colonies” are declared by right “free and independent states.”
Normally, declarations follow the logic of their prototype: the assertion of natural law (subsequently, the right to self-determination in accordance with positivist international law), popular sovereignty and, as a consequence, the rights of legitimate representatives of the people to declare independence. Then there is an explanation of the reasons for proclaiming independence not only for compatriots but for the whole world community.
Declaration of Independence as a Unique Legal Document
The Declaration of Independence of the USA of July 4, 1776 is a unique political and legal document that reflected a number of provisions formulated in the political philosophy of the Enlightenment. What is unique about this document? If we turn to the history of the countries of Western Europe, we will see that at that time a significant number of them were at the stage of development of absolutist monarchies. The essence of political and legal regimes in most European countries was the unlimited power of the monarch and even more –the deification of the very principle of the power hierarchy. The American Declaration of Independence for the first time recorded the principle of popular sovereignty, claiming that the source of power is not the personality of the absolutist monarch but the people themselves, as the aggregate (political community) of free citizens. For the first time in the politico-legal document, the value of natural, inalienable human rights was recorded. Subsequently, this idea finds a more detailed form in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and a Citizen of the French Revolution of 1789.
In the declaration of independence essay, you need to talk about certain ideological grounds the Declaration laid down for the establishment of the American state:
- The principle of people’s sovereignty.
- For the first time the people’s right to resist illegal actions of the government was proclaimed.
The main reason that led the US states to secession from England was that the colonists were dissatisfied with the discriminatory policies that the British king and the parliament held against the colonies. The Americans could not send their deputies to the English parliament and thereby defend their interests at the legislative level. Many other decisions of the British government and parliament in the sphere of economy, trade, and management were regarded by the colonists as illegal and discriminatory.
Declaration of Independence and the Philosophy of the Enlightenment
The US Declaration of Independence is a laconic text, the main part of which is devoted to the description of the crimes of the English king. To determine what the American colonists are accusing their king of, it is necessary to understand what preconditions they come from and in what world they live.
The political philosophy of the document is set out in four simple theses. It is recommended to include them into your declaration of independence essay.
- People have certain inalienable rights – this is life, freedom and the pursuit of happiness.
- People establish governments in order to protect their rights (this is the theory of a social contract).
- The power of government is based on the fact that they represent people (the theory of representative government).
- People have the right (and even duty) to change a government that violates their rights.
The idea that there are certain self-evident truths in politics, in relations between people, is, of course, deeply philosophical and, perhaps, metaphysical. That is why we can say with good reason that in this legal document, there is a philosophical content. The Declaration was the first official document of the United States of America. It is the basis of the entire current legal tradition of the country through the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and so on. The very same document stands on the metaphysical premises that the founding fathers laid it in and which were taken from the actual philosophy of the English-speaking world.
What values were important for the authors of the Declaration of Independence? First, they believed that a person is a free individual who can do whatever they want. The highest value is the pursuit of happiness, and this is possible only if the person is free. It is from here that the idea of a social contract is postulated: any honest government must be based on the will of free individuals.