What did Thomas Jefferson hope to achieve in the Declaration of Independence?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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When Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, he hoped to persuade people (both in the colonies and abroad) to side with the American rebels.

In the document, Jefferson tries to persuade them in two ways.  One thing he does is to list all of the offenses that England allegedly committed against the colonists.  This was meant to make people feel sorry for the colonists and angry at England.  More famously, Jefferson was trying to explain why the colonists had the right to rebel.  This was why he discussed the idea that the purpose of government was to secure people's rights.  He was trying to persuade the public that the British government deserved to be overthrown because it was not protecting the people and their God-given rights.

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mkoren | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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There were several things Thomas Jefferson tried to accomplish by writing the Declaration of Independence. The most significant thing was to let the world know the colonies were now independent and free of British control. It told the world that the United States of America was now an independent country.

Thomas Jefferson also wanted to let everybody know under what conditions a revolution was justified. He explained that people have certain rights that can’t be taken away. These are called the inalienable rights and include the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The document said that when the government fails to protect the people’s rights, the people must remove the government and replace it with a new one. Thomas Jefferson then went on to list the many things the colonists believed the King of England and the British government did to violate the rights the colonists believed they had. By laying this out in the Declaration of Independence, the colonists would be able to show the rest of the world what Great Britain had done, and why the colonists were justified in declaring independence from Great Britain.

This document was so well written, it was used as a model for revolutions in other countries in the future.

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