What is the overall gist of the Declaration of Independence of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The overall gist of the Declaration of Independence of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam was that the nation of Vietnam, tired of foreign occupation, was determined to free itself of the yoke of foreign colonialism and to govern itself free of outside interference.

Ho Chi Minh, the main leader of...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

The overall gist of the Declaration of Independence of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam was that the nation of Vietnam, tired of foreign occupation, was determined to free itself of the yoke of foreign colonialism and to govern itself free of outside interference.

Ho Chi Minh, the main leader of the Vietnamese independence movement and a devoted Marxist, drew from the declarations of independence of the very foreign powers that were weighing most heavily on his mind. France had colonized Vietnam, along with Laos and Cambodia, in the late nineteenth century and was determined to regain control of its Southeast Asian colonies following Japan's defeat in World War II. The United States and Britain had cooperated with indigenous guerrilla forces throughout the region in the war against Imperial Japan. The Vietnamese guerrillas, the Viet Minh, fought bravely and anticipated independence once Japan was defeated. Their expectation was one of benign interest on the part of the United States if not outright munificence. Ho was also enough of a student of history to appreciate the historical significance of declarations of independence on the part of other nations that had experienced revolutionary eras intended to remove tyrannical regimes. He drew directly from the American Declaration of Independence in the preface to his own text and drew also from the Declaration of the Rights of Man from the French Revolution. These two texts were used for two reasons: one, they reflected universal sentiments (rarely realized), and, two, they emanated from two nations that experienced revolutions, the American Revolution being of particular interest given the dynamics between the British Crown and the North American colonies.

In his Declaration of Independence, Ho borrowed from the American document in specifying a list of grievances. While Jefferson noted the pernicious practices of Britain, such as the stationing of troops in American towns and homes, Ho similarly produced such a list, including the following grievances:

In the field of politics, they have deprived our people of every democratic liberty.

They have enforced inhuman laws; they have set up three distinct political regimes in the North, the Center and the South of Vietnam in order to wreck our national unity and prevent our people from being united.

They have built more prisons than schools. They have mercilessly slain our patriots; they have drowned our uprisings in rivers of blood.

The gist of the Declaration of Independence of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, then, is that the Vietnamese people had suffered the indignities of foreign oppression, were deserving of attaining independence, and were determined to achieve that goal.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The Vietnamese Declaration of Independence was really quite a short document which is modeled largely on the United States' Declaration of Independence.

Like the US Declaration, it has a first section in which it lays out the idea of all people being equal.  It uses words from the US Declaration and rhetoric from France's revolution as well.

The Declaration then goes on to list basic reasons why France's rule has become intolerable to the Vietnamese.  This, too, is like the US Declaration.

The document ends by declaring the country's independence and its determination to keep that independence.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team