Presentation on theme: "The Declaration of Independence. Intent of the DOI (1776) To declare to the world (primarily Europe) that the English Colonies in America were a confederation."— Presentation transcript:
The Declaration of Independence
Intent of the DOI (1776) To declare to the world (primarily Europe) that the English Colonies in America were a confederation of states no longer dependent on British Rule. Question: What signal was sent to France, Spain, and other European Colonial Powers?
Intent of the DOI (1776) To explain the grievances or infringements of the King and Parliament on the rights of free Englishmen contained in the English Bill of Rights.English Bill of Rights Question: What message does this send to people who live under an oppressive regime?
Modern Interpretations of the DOI 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. Whether or not the Founders believed this passage or that it was just rhetoric is a moot point; it has become the cornerstone of our secular religion. Question: Does this passage have meaning for us today?
Considerations Advantages Self-Determination Freedom of Trade Possibility of foreign aid from France Legitimacy in the world community Captured soldiers treated as POWs not spies or rebels Independence might unite different areas of the colonies Stating for the world the ideological basis of this new country Freedom from subservience to the King Disadvantages Might lose friends in England who supported cause. Might cause division within the colonies If Revolution failed, the and leaders might be tried and executed as traitors. Colonies were poorly prepared for war no weapons nor manufacturing to make them Dependent on England for elements needed to fight a war. Chances of winning the war were slim. Colonists would be cutting themselves off from the biggest, freest empire in the world.
Southern Colonies Tobacco, Rice, Indigo, Cotton New England Shipbuilding, Shipping, Fishing, Light Textiles Shipping Middle Colonies Corn, Wheat, Livestock Food Raw Materials to England Finished Good, Slaves, Money From England Economic Interdependence of the American Colonies
Slavery: The Debate Begins The Southern Colonies economy revolves around slavery. Slaves are property, just like land. They are passed from one generation to the next Slaves are an economic asset, a commodity, and they generate wealth. The economic advantages of slavery are not limited to the Southern Colonies.
Slavery: The Debate Begins All sections and sectors of the American Colonies profited directly or indirectly from Slavery. New England provides the shipping assets for both the end product of slavery and the slaves themselves. The Middle Colonies provide the food stuffs that the Southern Colonies do not produce for themselves. Britain, itself, gains because all products of the American Colonies must pass through British Ports, and important raw materials had to be processed in Britain.
Conclusions The Founders intent for the Declaration of Independence is different from how we interrupt it today. The Founders had to consider economic reasons as-well-as philosophic reasons to come to a consensus on independence. Although slavery is not mentioned in the Declaration of Independence, it is, and will remain close to the surface on all debates on the formation of the United States.