According to the Declaration of Independence, what justifies the ending of the relationship between the government and the people it governs?

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pohnpei397's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #1)

In the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson outlines the idea that governments should only exist by the consent of the governed and that their only purpose is to protect the rights that the people have been given by "their creator."  From this, we can infer what would justify ending the relationship between people and their government.  This action would be justified if the government no longer did what it was supposed to do.  That is, if the government stopped protecting the rights of the people, the people would have the right to overthrow it.  

So, the ending of this relationship is justified if the government "becomes destructive" of the goal of ensuring people's rights.

mkoren's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #2)

According to the Declaration of Independence, there are times when it is acceptable for a people to end the relationship between them (the people) and the government.  According to the Declaration of Independence, all men have certain rights which can't be given up or taken away.  These are called unalienable rights and include the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  It is the job of the government to protect these rights.  When the government no longer protects those rights, or when the government destroys those rights, it is the responsibility of the people to end its relationship with that government and form a new one which will protect these rights.  Abolishing a government should not be taken lightly.  It shouldn't be done for minor or occasional transgressions.  Only when there is a long history of injustices and infringement upon the unalienable rights should people move to abolish that government.  it is also important that the people state the reasons why they are moving to abolish the existing government.  The Declaration of Independence makes it very clear that there are times when it is acceptable for the people to abolish the government which exists and replace it with a new one.

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