It is clear that no government governs perfectly. No government can cater to each and every individual within society, and there is always some portion of society which quarrels with the effectiveness or legitimacy of its government.
The perceived degree to which any government fulfills its obligation to society always slides on a continuum. So the question is, to what degree must a government fail in its obligation to society for society to reject that govenment, and the answer to that question is open to debate. If we accept that government should not be replaced for "light and transient causes," what standard should be used? I would think a very high standard. Without delving into all the specific colonial complaints outlined in the Declaration against the British government, I think they fall short as a justification for treason.
I can't help but wonder if the colonies would have been so quick to revolt had Britain simply not imposed a few annoying taxes. After all, Britain was not engaged in any campaign to starve, murder, torture, or enslave its citizens.
Britain's primary intent was to govern the colonies to their mutual benefit, within the constraints of a monarchical government. Based on the argument presented in the Declaration of Independence, I do not believe that the British government's conduct rose to the level of sufficiently denying colonial citizens their fundamental rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Finally, it is easy to believe years later that the colonial decision to become independent was correct because this experiment in democracy worked and America became the most powerful and prosperous country the world has ever seen.
But a good result is not always good evidence of a good decision. While the theoretical framework under which the colonials presented the Declaration of Independence is obviously a good one, the ongoing application of that theory has been difficult. Throughout our history, during years of experience, we have struggled to balance the interests of government against the needs of society and the rights of individuals.
Indeed, our history is punctuated by many examples of our government's failure to provide at least some of its citizens the fundamental human rights demanded by the Declaration. And while we have the freedom to openly express our dissatisfaction with government and are free to try to change it, we are not free to destroy it.
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The prevalence of these references and their intended public uses reflect deeply upon American political culture and its political vocabulary, but it also demands an honest admission that this particular historical reconstruction is selective and, by design, open to fuller development in the future.
Fortuitously, many references and uses of the Declaration can be excluded from this analysis without apparent loss because most appear to lack a sufficient substantive depth or political consequence to warrant more detailed consideration.
The present structure of the historical record reflective of the U. Congress and individual U. Presidents is another obstacle that requires some qualification of this inquiry. Although every history inevitably suffers the limitations of incomplete and occasionally inaccessible evidentiary sources, the subject and breadth of this particular inquiry make these limitations particularly apparent. Only a fraction of the more than two hundred year history of public debates in Congress are captured by the Congressional Record and its predecessors—and even then, the record is selective and incomplete.
In addition, the official and private papers of Members of Congress are not typically preserved, published, or widely available when archived. More problematic for this inquiry, the interpretation of Presidential papers remains more an art than a science, as students of the Presidency have developed few standardized methods that apply easily across time or individual. This methodological deficiency seems inconsequential for individual biographical studies, yet its effects are not necessarily insignificant.
One historian, for example, associated the reformist impulses of President Rutherford B. The portrait of Hayes clearly captures elements of his personality and historical era, but other biographical commentaries and the 5-volume Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes—the first published diary of a U. Similar interpretative problematics plague the analysis of other Presidential papers. Eisenhower include few and primarily incidental references to the Declaration of Independence; and yet, it would be incorrect to infer neither President used or was affected by the Declaration.
Given these qualifications, the remainder of this essay employs two complementary approaches in an attempt to illuminate different elements of the substantive relationship between the Declaration of Independence and the individuals who have served in Congress and the Presidency. Part I identifies several general principles of the Declaration that are prominently although inconsistently reflected throughout the historical development of both national institutions.
This first approach allows us to recognize the general ways by which Members of Congress and U. Presidents have participated within—and therefore, have been influenced by—a political context and tradition whose framework and principles were first articulated in the Declaration of Independence.
General Principles Although many conditions and individuals contributed directly to the formation and subsequent development of Congress and the U. Presidency, several ideas articulated in the Declaration have been consistent and, more important, prior sources of influence upon these institutions. The first and perhaps most obscure idea and influences is derived from the ways in which the Declaration characterizes the world and human nature.
These premises identify dependent relationships between the attributes of the world and of human nature and their prior and singular, shared cause.
The second relationship is between a set of human qualities and their divine creative origin. This idea manifested itself in several ways. These ideals have been the common, unexamined expectations of many Members of Congress, Presidents and the American people up to the present day, but they represent noteworthy breaks from mainstream eighteenth-century political thought and the context of American colonial experiences under British rule, which privileged the ideas, institutions and practices of imperialism, colonialism, monarchical will, and Parliamentary sovereignty.
This original endorsement initiated a constitutional tradition within which many Members of Congress and U. Presidents have subsequently participated—a tradition that permits and encourages conceptions and pursuits of legal, political and social alternatives to the status quo.
The details and consequences of these influences require little rehearsal because they appear as integral parts of both the Articles of Confederation and the U. The final general influence of the Declaration of Independence upon Congress and U. Presidents is reflected in its support and promotion of a democratic political culture. In numerous localities, the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence prompted public celebrations— no doubt, forerunners of subsequent Fourth of July celebrations in which the American people, Members of Congress, U.
Presidents, and others have publicly commemorated the anniversary of the Declaration. The Declaration and its annual celebrations also furthered the development of an activist democratic political culture once social groups and individuals including political candidates recognized the derivative rhetorical and political opportunities associated with these public events.
Since at least , the Declaration and the Fourth of July have been prominent parts of American civic discourses, political campaigns, and the beginning of many political careers, including U. Representative and Senator Daniel Webster whose early public speaking reputation began and grew with every Fourth of July speech he gave Remini, ; Waldstreicher, ; Burstein, Historical Uses of the Declaration of Independence In addition to the identified general influences of the Declaration of Independence upon the U.
For the sake of analytical clarity, these historical particulars are organized and presented below in four chronological eras. The first era extends from to ; the second from to; the third from to ; and the fourth era from to Members of Congress additionally recognized the anniversary of the Declaration, but with few legislative sessions extending into July, many were free to participate in Fourth of July celebrations in their local communities.
Outside of Congress, the Declaration of Independence was revered both in private and in public celebrations throughout the Revolutionary years as the original public statement of the American cause. Its substantive content, however, was not widely contested or used to justify much beyond efforts to secure American Independence from Great Britain.
There also is little evidence that delegates to the Constitutional Convention consulted the Declaration when debating, composing, or subsequently ratifying the new U. Constitution Detweiler, , pp. Too much, however, can be made of these early silences in the historical record, for much of the Constitution embodies the principles of consent, limited government, and constitutional change articulated originally in the Declaration.
By the s, Fourth of July celebrations had become public, ritualized, principally local expressions of Independence and American nationalism.
To some, the popularity of these celebrations exposed a fuller understanding of the constitutional significance of the Declaration. Antislavery advocates also recognized the value of marrying Fourth of July celebrations with their Declaration-supported arguments against slavery. American Presidents and Members of Congress were slower and more cautious in their early uses of the Declaration.
Declaration Of Independence The Declaration of Independence is a document that was written by the continental congress and tommas Jefferson in perticular to the king of england and the english parlament. It was written as a statement to the english that the colonnies were breaking off from the british empire.
The Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence in Its purpose was to declare the 13 colonies in America free and independent from Great Britain, get other colonists on board, and to encourage other nations to help them.
The Goals of the Declaration of Independence Essay Words | 5 Pages. The Goals of the Declaration of Independence The American Revolution was not only a battle between the British and the colonists; it was a historical movement that brought about new ways of thinking. Analysis of The Declaration of Independence - What is the Declaration of Independence. The declaration of independence states that all individuals have inalienable rights, requiring life, liberty, and property, a document by which the thirteen colonies proclaimed their independence from Great Britain.
The Declaration of independence was a great successful document written by Thomas Jefferson a great idealist and a man from the age of enlightment, he was a great writer and was the one chosen to write the declaration of independence, he wrote it with a lot of thought about how people’s emotions would be, how they would react, and how it. The Declaration of Independence was a document written by Thomas Jefferson. The purpose of the Declaration is was already as stated in its name; to declare them to be independent from the British. The Declaration included the explanation on why the Congress decided to declare independence from Britain.