Law and Politics Questions and Answers

Start Your Free Trial

What does "station" mean in "separate and equal station" in the Declaration of Independence?  

Expert Answers info

David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2017

write11,856 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

What Jefferson means by "separate and equal station" is that the United States has the same right to self-government as other countries, including Great Britain. The United States will be a new nation, but its "station," or status, will be exactly the same as all other nations on earth, however long they've been in existence. Such an assertion stems directly from the fundamental principle of the Declaration that all men are created equal and are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights. The term "separate and equal station" as with the Declaration as a whole, is used by the signatories to endow their break with the British with a certain dignity, demanding that the United States be regarded, not as a colonial outpost, but recognized and respected as a nation in its own right, with all that that entails.

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

esoppelt eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2015

write37 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

The Declaration of Independence was written when Britain’s thirteen colonies in North America declared independence from Britain to become the United States. Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence, opens the document by explaining what the United States hoped to achieve in breaking away from Britain. The United States saw itself as having the same rights as Britain and other countries under the laws of nature and laws of God. The phrase “the separate and equal station” is how Jefferson describes the colonies’ equality to other countries. He is saying that the colonies are equal in station, or status, to Great Britain. This equality is what Jefferson uses to justify the colonies' separation from Britain, along with the list of grievances that follow in the Declaration of Independence.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

pohnpei397 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write35,413 answers

starTop subjects are History, Literature, and Social Sciences

The short answer to this is that the word "station" means something like "status." What this part as a whole means is that if you have a status that is separate (from other countries) and equal (to other countries) you are an independent nation.

You can see this meaning from what the rest of the sentence says.  Basically, what this sentence says is that countries have to give reasons if they are going to break the ties that have connected them to some other country (like the ones that connected the colonies to England) and become their own separate and independent country (this is where the line you cite comes in).

check Approved by eNotes Editorial