What is the Declaration of Independence? What does it say about governments? How does it justify what the revolutionaries were trying to do?

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The Declaration of Independence is a statement about the role of government and a list of grievances against Britain. It stated that Britain had repeatedly violated the proper role of government and had trampled on the people's inalienable rights; therefore, the people had a right and a responsibility to overthrow...

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The Declaration of Independence is a statement about the role of government and a list of grievances against Britain. It stated that Britain had repeatedly violated the proper role of government and had trampled on the people's inalienable rights; therefore, the people had a right and a responsibility to overthrow this government.

Jefferson, borrowing heavily from the political philosopher John Locke, stated that everyone had a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Jefferson also stated that these rights could not be taken away since they were not bestowed by the government, but by God. Jefferson states that the people have a right to alter or abolish the government should it trample on the rights of the people; however, in the next paragraph he mentions that this action should not be taken lightly since the people have to establish a new government that will defend their rights.

Most of the document lists the American people's complaints against Parliament. These complaints include trials with juries and taxation without representation. Jefferson also states that the colonists had repeatedly asked Parliament to stop and acknowledge the people's basic rights. Since their voice went unheard, Jefferson says that the people have a right to declare their own right to self-govern.

Jefferson makes a clear argument. He says what government should be in its relationship with the governed. He says that Parliament has violated its end of the bargain repeatedly. Jefferson closes by stating that the colonists' ultimate goal is self-governance.

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