Jefferson – Declaration of Independence

According to Jefferson the British had their chance, and they blew it. The king was determined to be a tyrant. Most of the time people put up with lesser abuses because it is easier than enduring the uncertainty of change that is brought about from revolution, but the colonists had had enough.

Recognizing that the colonists were obligated to justify their actions to the world Jefferson listed each of the offenses the British had inflicted on them (not in our reading). He also articulated the the following foundation for why the colonies are not morally required to put up with it anymore:

All men are created equal
God gave humans certain rights that cannot be violated under any reason, such as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness
Governments are formed in order to defend these rights, and governments receive their power from the governed
People have a right to alter, or abolish and replace any government that becomes counter-productive to these ends, replacing it with one that does defend these rights effectively

Jefferson goes so far as to claim these ideas are true and self-evident. One does not need proof. Everyone thinking clearly will recognize the truth of these things.

Our reading also includes the Bill of Rights, which are the first ten amendments to the constitution, and a few more amendments that concern equality. I don’t think it would be helpful for me to describe these amendments in summary because they cover many different things, and after 238 years of legal interpretations, I’m bound to fail to capture the importance of them.i think the question is whether they are saying people have always had the right to vote, no matter what gender or race, and congress is just articulating it, or now it is time to give these people the right to vote, etc…? Were slaves always free under the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution?


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