The Declaration of Independence

by Thomas Jefferson

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What values does the Declaration of Independence advocate to encourage separation from Great Britain?

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The human values articulated in the Declaration of Independence increased its appeal to the public.

One of the most striking features of the Declaration of Independence was how it took a political issue and elevated it to a level that any person could appreciate. The document's opening line of "When in the course of human events" suggests that there are times when every person must make a conscious choice to be free or enslaved.   This appeal is further enhanced with language and values such as "all men are created equal" and that individuals are are able to enjoy "certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."  In this inclusive language, the document appeals to the "everyman" colonist in Colonial America.

The values in the Declaration of Independence speak to a human condition where people are forced to evaluate the conditions in their own lives.  While the context of the Colonial America cannot be overlooked, the document's appeal transcends this political condition.  In suggesting that there are certain rights "endowed by the creator," the Declaration of Independence enabled people to think about values that should guide their own lives.  It forced them to realize that what was happening between them and Great Britain is not a way for human beings to live. This made the document appealing on a personalized and relatable level. The document was able to connect to the most common person in Colonial America because they acknowledged and embraced its values of freedom and choice.  For this reason, the document was extremely important in moving people to action.

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