The Success of the Declaration of Independence
The long road to freedom was not an easy one. The kinds of rights enjoyed today in America were unheard of before and during the American Revolutionary War. The British through King George III reined over thirteen colonies in America in that period. There were certain laws and subsequent actions from the British that made the American colonies unhappy. By voicing their displeasure, they angered the British who in turn became even more oppressive. This led the colonists to start a rebellion in search of autonomy. After much consultation, the colonies settled on a document that clearly stated their grievances and the position they were going to take regarding their association with Britain. With that, the colonies adopted the declaration of independence and this marked the birth of freedom from England since it captured the aspirations of the American public (Wood and Wood 88).
Primarily, the highest decision-making body at that time was the British parliament. From it came various laws that had far-reaching repercussions to all territories under British rule. The decisions of the British parliament were not open for questioning, let alone a show of defiance. Whichever territory acted contrary to such decisions would suffer severe consequences. The American colonies felt that it was wrong to follow directives from the British parliament yet they had no people to represent them in that institution. They argued that if they had had representatives who were to voice their opposition on certain issues and defeated by a majority, they would have no problem complying. Therefore, they settled on the declaration of independence because once they were free, they would rely on where they had representation-Congress alone.
Initially, whenever the colonies had any disagreements with England, they would petition them. However, there was no chance for them to say what they had in mind. This was troubling. Already, there was growing anti-British sentiments across the country especially after Paine published an article in the popular pamphlet, Common Sense. Thus, they now had an opportunity to air their views freely while making America independent through a document that was legally binding.
In addition, the British made some set of rules that were discriminatory. Among them were the Stamp Act and the Townshed Act. The Townshed Act for example, sought to compel the colonists to pay taxes as a way of repaying the debt of British assistance in the French and Indian war (Russell 40). This was unacceptable to the colonists because they were not under direct occupation by the British. The enactment of the Tea party Act led to riots and a boycott of British products, which hampered trade. The colonists, in their wisdom included the issue of taxation in the draft and the role of government towards that thereby closing the door on dependency on foreigners.
Similarly, they eloquently denied the dictatorial notion that all laws coming from Britain were mandatory. Particularly, they wanted to cease all formal ties with them but they needed proof of unanimity among the colonies. Furthermore, they had either to be submissive to England or go to war and since they wanted to go to war, all colonies had to seek permission from their governments. A document signed by representatives from all colonies was therefore essential to act as proof of unity. This document captured their war rhetoric and their desire for cessation from England.
Similarly, there was consensus among the colonies that there are some fundamental human rights. Thus, not even a government can give or take them at will. This was in response to the British excesses. There was also the important requirement that it was only through a motion in the continental congress that their wishes could succeed. This prompted the colonies to form a committee of five people to draw the text of that motion, much of which had contributions from Thomas Jefferson. His famous remark ,”We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” is remembered to date (McLaughlin 95). With this, the stage was set for defection from England.
On the contrary, the war was unjustified because the colonies should not have refused to pay their taxes. It does not make sense because the British had sacrificed many resources in helping the colonies with territories formerly under countries that participated in the Indian war and the French war. It would have been a good gesture of thankfulness for the colonies to pay taxes for them to continue enjoying those and other benefit.
Generally, the colonies benefited from being free of British rule and American’s way of life improved in a free society. All this is courtesy of the text in the declaration of independence, which heavily influenced the contents of the American constitution in use (McLaughlin 104).
McLaughlin, Andrew C. A Constitutional History of the United States. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1935.104. Print.
Russell, David L. The American Revolution in the Southern Colonies. Jefferson, N.C: McFarland & Co, 2000.40. Print
Wood, Gordon S, and Louise G. Wood. Russian-American Dialogue on the American Revolution. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1995.88. Print.
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