Examination Of The Declaration Of Independence As Both A Historical Document And As Revolutionary Propaganda

494 words - 2 pages

The Declaration of Independence is one of the most renowned and beloved documents in United States history. Even today, people cherish their "unalienable rights" as symbols of America at her best. The Declaration of Independence was a major step towards secession from Britain in the American Revolution, and has had profound influence on the country's development ever since. The grand rhetoric in the first part spurred the formation and maturation of an equitable America, and the specific indictments in the second part attacked Britain's inhibition of that development.The most immediate function of the Declaration of Independence was as revolutionary propaganda. It instilled the sense of unity and common purpose that the ...view middle of the document...

The assertions that "all men are created equal" and are entitled to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" set a precedent for rights movements throughout history. The tradition of owning slaves and later that of racial segregation were eventually thwarted in order to ensure liberty and equality. Also, the fight for Women's Suffrage and Black Suffrage led to today's policy under which all registered American citizens may vote.Likewise, the specific indictments in the second part attacked Britain's efforts to inhibit America's movement towards democracy and equity. In the document, the colonists accused King George III of blocking colonial legislature, a precursor to today's democratic republic. They charge him with "[calling] together legislative bodies at places uncomfortable...for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures," and also of "[dissolving] representative houses repeatedly." George was attacking the colonists' beloved institution of truly representative legislature. The colonists also accused the king of blocking elections, the instruments of representative government. As they said, "He has refused...to cause others to be elected." The colonies felt Britain's heavy hand smothering their budding democracy.The Declaration of Independence was both a liberation from British shackles and a sobering reminder of the responsibilities that go along with independence. America had to struggle not to become as oppressive and overbearing as her mother country. The rights and responsibilities that America gained through the declaration have shaped the United States into the free and equitable democracy we enjoy today.

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