According to the Declaration of Independence, what should people do when the government abuses its power?

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According to the Declaration of Independence, the common people have a right to rebel and overthrow a government that abuses its power and oppresses them.

The Declaration of Independence bases this right on John Locke's Second Treatise of Government and Enlightenment thinking in general. Locke believed that rulers were not ordained by God to rule in a top-down fashion but ruled through the "consent of the governed." Monarchs and subjects were connected through a social contract with rights and obligations on each side. If monarchs did not uphold their side of the contract, which was to rule justly, the common people had a right and obligation to replace them.

The declaration also asserts the Enlightenment principle of the "natural rights" of men, which philosophers of the period called Natural Law. This states that, as the declaration expresses it, men are born with a God-given right to life, liberty, and a chance to pursue happiness. It is important to note that in the minds of the Founding Fathers, that right did not necessarily extend to women or people of color.

Much of the declaration is concerned with outlining the grievances against King George III that justified revolting and founding an independent nation.

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According to the Declaration of Independence, "all men" possess certain "unalienable rights" (life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness). The job of the government is to help each citizen realize these rights. Should the government act in ways that restrict these rights, the people have the right to "alter or abolish" the government.

Jefferson was writing about the colonial government of the King, of course, and his argument serves as a justification for the Revolutionary War. He includes a discussion about the need to use "prudence" in making the decision to change governments and argues that history shows that people would rather suffer than change the governmental "forms" under which they suffer. In the present case, however, Great Britain has "evince[d] a design" to place the colonies "under absolute Despotism."

Jefferson's words here have had repercussions far beyond the question of Independence. They became a basis for the succession of the Southern states, the Civil War, and the reforms Roosevelt put in place during the New Deal. They continue to shape political discourse to this day.

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The Declaration of Independence is very clear about what rights all people have and what they should do when those rights aren’t being protected. According to the Declaration of Independence, all people have certain unalienable rights. These rights include the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. These rights can’t be taken away or given up. It is the job of the government to protect the people’s rights.

According to the Declaration of Independence, the people have no choice but to replace a government that isn’t protecting their rights. Since the colonists believed the King was abusing his powers and wasn’t responding to their concerns about this, the colonists had to replace the existing government with a new government that would protect their rights. As a result, the colonists declared their independence from Great Britain.

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According to the Declaration of Independence, when the government abuses its power, the people should change it or even overthrow it.  As the Declaration says, “it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it.”

The Declaration of Independence says that the purpose of government is to preserve people’s natural rights.  People have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  The government is given power by the consent of the people.  The people give government power so that it can protect those fundamental rights.  If the government does things that take away our fundamental rights, it is abusing its power.  In that case, it is our right to either change the government (“to alter” it) or overthrow it (“to abolish it”).

The Founders believed strongly in the idea that government should protect the fundamental rights of its citizens.  If it abused its powers instead of using them to protect its people’s rights, the people had the right to abolish or alter the government.

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