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02.01 Revolutionary Ideas
Transcript of 02.01 Revolutionary Ideas
The Declaration of Independence
The Declaration of Independence was created so that the colonists would gain freedom from Great Britain's King George III. The colonists had enough of his strict laws and ridiculous taxes. The document was approved by the Continental Congress on July 4th, 1776. The Declaration of Independence penned by Thomas Jefferson was written in three parts. The first begins with an introduction and why the Declaration was written. The Second portion contains how the King has violated their rights and how he has failed as a king. The last section is the official Declaration of Independence and the colonies are renamed the United States of America.
The first principle in the Declaration of Independence is Popular Sovereignty. Popular Sovereignty is the idea of power and government coming from the people. The people give consent to the government and elect officials as representatives to make decisions. The people also have to power to not consent if the king fails to do his job.
"In free governments, the rulers are the servants and the people their superiors and sovereigns." - Benjamin Franklin.
The social contract theory was one that believed the people created government in order to secure their rights. Government only exists because the people have consented to certain officials to rule. It also states that when a government fails or even denies rights, the people can abolish it and create a new one.
"That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government" - Thomas Jefferson.
Natural and Individual Rights
John Locke described natural rights as those of "life, liberty, and estate." These rights can never be impeded upon and will always remain. When Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration he broadened the last right to "the pursuit of happiness." because not always can property be guaranteed or needed to provide for oneself.
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." - Thomas Jefferson.
I think the Declaration upholds some of the political principles but not all of them. It did allow the colonists to accomplish freedom from Great Britain, however it wouldn't meet today's values. Even though the Declaration of Independence states that "All men are created equal." it is only referring to white males 21 or over. If the Declaration was proposed today, I wouldn't support the document because it doesn't grant womens rights or abolish slavery.