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The Declaration of Independence

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1 The Declaration of Independence

2 To what extent are these interpretations in conflict?
“The Declaration of Independence has been variously interpreted as: A bid for French support An attempt to swing uncommitted Americans to the revolutionary cause A statement of universal principles An affirmation of the traditional rights as Englishmen.” To what extent are these interpretations in conflict?

3 Thomas Hobbes ( A.D.) Began by theorizing about what life would be life without a government. He called this the STATE OF NATURE…. In the State of Nature Man would be 100% free to whatever they wished…. But they would also be 0% secure from outside threats.

4 Hobbes Therefore Governments were created with the goal of providing SECURITY of an individuals life and property… And the best form of Government to do so was.. AN ABSOLUTE MONARCHY!!!

5 John Locke ( ) John Locke agreed with Hobbes on the idea of the State of Nature… HOWEVER…… He did not think man would give up all of their freedom just for security. He believed men still wanted Liberty as well

6 The Social Contract According to Locke, Government was a contract between the people and the institution. And like in all contracts there is an exchange made Give Up Receive Protection of Life, Liberty, and Property The People Total Freedom The Government Total Control Support

7 What if the Contract is broken?
If a person breaks the contract, then they don’t receive what they get in return… So they lose protection of.. Property (A Fine) Liberty (Probation or Jail) Life (Texas) But if government (as a whole) breaks the contract, then they also don’t receive what they get in return…. Support. In essence the people are entitled to revolt and replace the government.

8 How is the Declaration of Independence organized?
Preamble: announces that the document will explain why the Colonies want to separate from England Political Principles: a section identifies the ideas underlying the rights of the people, John Locke’s ideas Complaints: the document lists the unfair acts perpetrated by the British Government The Declaration: the statement that these 13 colonies are now independent

9 Locke, Jefferson, and The Declaration of Independence
The Declaration of Independence is a lawyer’s brief. An argument about the legality of the separation from Great Britain Last 1/3 Closing Statement Jefferson wraps up the argument and issues his remedy “IN every Stage of these Oppressions we have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble Terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated Injury.” “WE, therefore, the Representatives of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in GENERAL CONGRESS Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World for the Rectitude of our Intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly Publish and Declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be, FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES; that they are absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political Connexion between them and the State of Great-Britain, is, and ought to be, totally dissolved; and that as FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which INDEPENDENT STATES may of Right do.” First 1/3 The Opening Argument Jefferson establishes the “Social Contract” “are, endowed by their CREATOR, with certain unalienable rights…among those the right to life, liberty, pursuit of happiness” (natural law) “ Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed” (legitimacy) “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” (right to revolt) Second 1/3 The Evidence Jefferson shows how Britain violated the Social Contract “HE has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly Firmness his Invasions on the Rights of the People.” “HE has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the Tenure of their Offices, and the Amount and Payment of their Salaries.” “HE has kept among us, in Times of Peace, Standing Armies, without the Consent of our Legislatures.” “FOR imposing Taxes on us without our Consent” All in all 27 paragraphs of “evidence.” Instances where the British Government violates the social contract.


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