What were the social, political, and economic impacts of the Declaration of Independence?

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pholland14 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Declaration of Independence was important politically because it stated that the thirteen British colonies in North America should become their own nation.  The Declaration of Independence also states basic freedoms such as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness--other nations seeking their freedom from an imperial power have modeled their own views after our own.  The Declaration of Independence was also important politically in that no one was sure how our revolution would end.  Revolutions often end in a restoration of the current regime--the English Revolution came full circle when Charles II was asked to return from exile.  The Declaration of Independence was important politically in that it stated our valid reasons for separation and in its measured tone--this was not something that the Americans took lightly.  

Economically, the Americans were leaving the mother country due to unfair taxation.  The Founding Fathers were not sure how to collect taxes if the revolution was successful.  They were not sure if America would be a confederation of states or have a federal system of government.  What the Founders did acknowledge was that the current system of Britain taxing the Americans without their input was intolerable and sending troops to ensure the revenues were collected was even worse.  The Declaration of Independence was more about principles than economic gain because many of the Founders actually lost fortunes during the revolution and the period immediately thereafter.  


Socially, the Declaration of Independence was important.  It galvanized colonists who only thought of the revolution as a riot of Northeastern merchants.  People would continue to read the document in public every Fourth of July for years to come.  The Declaration also stated something that had already been happening naturally for decades before this--Americans wanted to have their own culture independent of British customs.  

mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Declaration of Independence had several economic, social, and political impacts. Politically, the most significant impact was the colonies were stating they were no longer under British control. Of course, this would lead to war. However, it also meant the colonies were free to make agreements with other countries. The colonies could no longer depend on the British for various things. We now had to do everything ourselves.

Economically, the colonies needed to develop their own economic system. They had to develop a financial system, pay their debts, create trade policies, and develop industries. Two impacts of the war that followed the Declaration of Independence were the colonies were deeply in debt and had serious financial problems. Inflation was a concern and money was not worth much. Each state had its own currency, and other states didn’t trust that currency. We had serious economic problems after the Revolutionary War.

Socially, the colonies were now free to develop their own ways of life, free from British influence. The beginning of American ways of life occurred after we won the Revolutionary War. We implemented ideas such as freedom of religion and freedom of speech. Our revolution also became a model for other countries.  People in other nations looked to the Declaration of Independence for guidance in their movements for freedom.

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