1. Compare and contrast the list of grievances in the American Declaration of Independence with the list of grievances in the Vietnamese Declaration of Independence. 2. Did the Vietnamese people enjoy the same full power to do following: impose war and conclude peace?

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On September 2, 1945, Ho Chi Minh proclaimed the independent Democratic Republic of Vietnam in Hanoi. He did so in a manner that deliberately referenced the American and French declarations of independence. In fact, the opening sequence is spoken verbatim from the American Declaration of Independence. This was done with the purpose of demonstrating the hypocrisy of the west in that the French and United States feel that liberties should only be reserved for 'civilized' nations, or, at least, nations that are not communist.

Ho Chi Minh also wanted to communicate his grievances in the same way Thomas Jefferson did. For this reason, there are similarities in the grievances of the Vietnamese towards the French imperialist policies and America's grievances with England. Both declarations speak of unjust laws that are passed onto the colonies without the consent of the governed. Ho Chi Minh discusses how his people are exploited for economic gain in much the same way that Thomas Jefferson does. Both patriots reference the nature of taxation and how it has crippled the economies of their people.

A major difference between the two declarations is that the unfair practices of the French seem to greatly outweigh those of the British. This can be demonstrated in the charge of forcing the Vietnamese to consume alcohol and partake in the use of opium. Ho Chi Minh also mentions the slaughter of citizens by the French, a clear human rights violation that was not mentioned in the American Declaration of Independence. The Vietnamese leader also discusses the recent history of two imperial powers that have colonized Vietnam (France and Japan), while the American colonists were only ruled by one oppressor. Ho Chi Minh also discusses the cultural attack that the French orchestrated on his people. The American colonists were culturally identical to the British.

Any group of people that are unified and armed can impose war as evidenced by the decades-long Vietnamese struggle against France and the United States. Waging peace is more difficult as it requires a decisive military victory over your oppressor.

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