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Jefferson, Thomas. "The Declaration of Independence".

Summary

The Declaration states the following "self-evident truths": "all men are created equal" and are "endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights". These are "Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness". A government should effect "Safety and Happiness" for the citizens. Whenever the government executes "absolute Despotism", the citizens have the "Right and Duty to throw off such Government".

The Declaration explains the present relationship of Britain and the American colonies and provides examples. The King of Great Britain executes absolute tyranny on the colonies. He obstructs the law-making process, keeps army in America in times of peace, imposes taxes without consent of Americans, takes Americans captive to fight against America, discourages from migration to America, etc.

The repeated petitions from colonies were answered only by repeated injury. That is why the colonies decided for separation. The British will become their enemies in war, but friends in peace. The Assembled Congress appeals to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of its intentions and declares "That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States".

Basics

  • Authors

    Jefferson, Thomas. (1743 - 1826).

    Adams, John. (1735 - 1826).

    Franklin, Benjamin. (1706 - 1790).

  • Full Title

    "The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America".
  • Ratified

    Congress: 4th July, 1776.
  • Form

    Legal document.

Works Cited

Jefferson, Thomas. "The Declaration of Independence". (1776). In: The Norton Anthology of American Literature. Ed. Nina Baym et al. NY: Norton, 1989.

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