What does "station" mean in "separate and equal station" in the Declaration of Independence?  

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pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The short answer to this is that the word "station" means something like "status." What this part as a whole means is that if you have a status that is separate (from other countries) and equal (to other countries) you are an independent nation.

You can see this meaning from what the rest of the sentence says.  Basically, what this sentence says is that countries have to give reasons if they are going to break the ties that have connected them to some other country (like the ones that connected the colonies to England) and become their own separate and independent country (this is where the line you cite comes in).

esoppelt's profile pic

esoppelt | High School Teacher | In Training Educator

Posted on

The Declaration of Independence was written when Britain’s thirteen colonies in North America declared independence from Britain to become the United States. Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence, opens the document by explaining what the United States hoped to achieve in breaking away from Britain. The United States saw itself as having the same rights as Britain and other countries under the laws of nature and laws of God. The phrase “the separate and equal station” is how Jefferson describes the colonies’ equality to other countries. He is saying that the colonies are equal in station, or status, to Great Britain. This equality is what Jefferson uses to justify the colonies' separation from Britain, along with the list of grievances that follow in the Declaration of Independence.

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