Why did the Declaration of Independence have a major influence on people throughout the world?

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mkoren's profile pic

mkoren | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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The Declaration of Independence had a major influence throughout the world.  Other countries have modeled their fight for independence based on this document.

This document is a road map for countries wishing to seek independence from their rulers.  It explains that if a country wants to become independent, it needs to explain why it wants to do this.  It goes on to explain what rights all people should have (natural rights), what government’s job is regarding those rights (protect those rights), and what people should do if the government doesn’t fulfill its obligation to the people it is governing (getting rid of the government.)  Finally, it indicates that people need to list and explain what things the government has done (or failed to do) that are causing them to seek independence. Of course, it explains that a country must actually declare its independence.

There are reasons why our Declaration of Independence has been modeled so often.

cbchambers2015's profile pic

cbchambers2015 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

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The Declaration of Independence gave citizens around the world the inspiration they needed to begin, reignite, or commit to their own revolutions. Imagine being an aspiring athlete or musician and witnessing the underdog defeat the defending champion in a major competition. Essentially, many countries around the world saw the impossible transpire when the American colonists organized their own governments and eloquently listed the offenses of the British crown.

Until then, citizens may have felt trapped by governments they viewed as oppressive, but the example set by American colonists suggested that perhaps citizens could and should have the freedom to voice displeasure with their governments. Perhaps citizens should have the right to expect political changes that benefited the whole rather than a select few at the top.

Countries such as Czechoslovakia (now two independent nations), Vietnam, Austrian Netherlands, France and others made allusions to or explicitly cited parts of the American DOI in their own quests towards independence. In a word, the Declaration of Independence provided countless people around the world with an outline to freedom, and the results of the Declaration of Independence gave people hope of achieving it.

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