The Declaration of Independence

by Thomas Jefferson

Start Free Trial

What support did Thomas Jefferson pledge in the Declaration of Independence's Preamble?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In the Preamble to the U.S. Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson writes about how he will provide the facts to a candid world. He talks about the injustices that the king of Great Britain, King George III, has committed against the colonies. Thomas Jefferson says that since the colonists want independence, they need to show the world the seriousness of these injustices. Governments should not be thrown off and revolted against for "light and transient causes" but for great evils. He states that it is the people's "right, it is their duty to throw off such Government." The colonists have endured this kind of abuse from the British government, and he provides support for this claim by listing these wrongs. In the end, he is hoping that the world will agree with his argument and support the colonists. So, in a broader sense, the support Thomas Jefferson provided was to the colonists; by attempting to convince the rest of the world to agree with him, he helped support the colonists' cause.

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Jefferson says that he and the other members of the Continental Congress (the document was of course a joint statement) would, out of a "decent respect to the opinions of mankind," would declare the reasons, or "causes" that the colonists were declaring their independence. The causes were both ideological--Jefferson spends the next paragraph explaining the social contract theory that the revolutionaries cited in support of independence--and pragmatic. While the most famous part of the document is the statement of principles, namely that "all men are created equal," Jefferson devoted far more of the document to a series of accusations against King George. These ranged from his refusal to approve laws that were beneficial to the colonies to his alleged incitement of Native Americans against the revolutionaries after 1775. The idea was that this "long train of abuses" justified separation from the mother country, which was a big step to take.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial