Explain the 4 parts of the Declaration of Independence.What is the Preamble, Declaration of Natural Rights, List of Grievances, and Resolution of Independence?

Quick Answer

The Declaration of Independence is separated into four sections. It begins with the Declaration of Natural Rights which discusses the "natural" rights all people are born with. This is followed by the Preamble in which the colonists justify their right to rebel. Next is the List of Grievances which lists all of the ways in which King George III failed to protect the rights of the colonists. The document ends with the Resolution of Independence which officially declares that the colonies are separating from England and becoming an independent country.

Expert Answers
mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are four parts to the Declaration of Independence.  

The first part is the Preamble section.  In the Preamble section, the writers explain that if a group of people want to dissolve their government, they need to tell the world why they want to do this.  

The section section lists the rights that all "men" have.  These rights, called natural or unalienable rights are rights which can't be taken away or given up.  They include the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  The government has a responsibility to protect these rights.  When a government fails to do, the people must abolish that government and replace it with one that will protect those rights.  The decision to abolish a government should not be taken lightly and should occur only after repeated violation of the rights of the people have occurred.

The third section, which is the longest part of the Declaration of Independence, lists all of the complaints the people had against the British government, specifically the King of England.  In the section, the Declaration of Independence lays out all of the transgressions of the King (and the British government) against the colonists.

The fourth part states that the colonists have declared themselves free from the rule of the British government.  In this section, the United States of America is born.  It is followed by the signatures of the delegates of the Second Continental Congress.

Those are the four sections of the Declaration of Independence and what each section represents.

bmrasmussen eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Declaration of Independence does indeed have four parts.

The parts come in this order:

FIRST, the preamble basically says why the Continental Congress wrote the Declaration of Independence.  It states that when it becomes necessary because of injustice, a group of people should be able to state their grievances and take action.  The preamble is the first item in a document almost 100% of the time - thus, it is called the PREamble, or "explanatory stuff that comes first".  Other words for a document's preamble are "preface", like we have in books, or "introduction", like when a speaker is introduced before his speech.

SECOND, the Declaration of Natural Rights states that all human beings were given certain rights by their Creator and that the government should protect these rights.  

THIRD, the List of Grievances, gives a run-down of all the rights that the Continental Congress believed the British government, and King George III in particular, has violated.

FOURTH and last, the Resolution of Independence says what the Continental Congress has decided to do about all the aforementioned things.  In this section, the United States informs Britain that it has decided to become its own country.  

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As you say, the Declaration of Independence has these 4 parts.

The first part is the declaration of natural rights.  It says that people have these rights by the fact that they are human.  These are not rights that the government gives them -- they have them automatically because they are people.

Then you have the preamble.  It gives the reasons why the colonists think they have the right to rebel.  It says that if their government doesn't protect their rights, they have the right to rebel.

The third section gives all the ways that (Jefferson claims) the king has failed to protect the colonists' rights.  This ties in to the previous section and gives the specific things the king has allegedly done wrong.

Finally, the fourth section comes out and says "so now, because of this stuff, we are our own country."

For more analysis of the Declaration of Independence, check out this video: