Analysis and Effect of the Declaration of Independence


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This is an excerpt from the book History of The American People by Muzzey.

Analysis of the Declaration (pg 127)
The declaration of Independence is the most important document in our history and one of the most important in the history of the world. it is the birth certificate of the American nation. The declaration may be divided into three parts.

1- It asserts that "all men are created equal," that they are "endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights," among which are "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," which it is the purpose of all governments to secure; and that "whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it."

2- it submitted "to a candid world" a list of twenty-seven arbitrary and tyrannical acts of George III aimed against the liberty of his American subjects as a proof that he was "unfit to be ruler of a free people"

3- it closed with the ringing words: "We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of American, in General Congress assembled ... solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of right out to be free, and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain is, and out to be totally dissolved. ... And, for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."

The Effect of Declaration
The Declaration of Independence put an end to the inconsistency of the colonial position. It changed the struggle on the part of American from one of armed resistance to the unlawful acts of a sovereign still acknowledge, to open war against the foreign king and states. It also cleared the air. Until the Declaration was published to Tories (of Loyalists), who numbered tens of thousands in colonies and included many men of wealth and influence, had been champions of one side of the hotly debated question as to whether the abuses of the king's ministers justified armed resistance or separation. But after the Declaration their loyalty to the king of Great Britain became treason to America. As traitors they were accordingly treated - their property confiscated, their utterances controlled, and their conduct regulated by severe laws in every one of the new states. Again, the Declaration was an important token of diplomacy, because it was only as a nation fighting for its independence and the consequent disruption of the British Empire, that the American colonies could get that aid from foreign powers, especially France, which eventually enabled them to win the war. Finally, the Declaration put spirit into the American army by giving it a cause supremely worth fighting for. In a general order of July 9, 1776, Washington had a Declaration read to his army in New York, whither he had moved after compelling Howe to evacuate Boston in march. "General hopes," said the order "that this important event will serve as an incentive to every officer and soldier to act with fidelity and courage, as knowing that now the peace and safety of this country depend (under God) solely on the success of our arms."


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