The Background and Context Surrounding the Declaration of Independence
Where better to begin internationalizing the history of the United States than at the beginning, with the Declaration of Independence? No document is as familiar to students or so deeply entwined with what it means to be an American. The "self-evident truths" it proclaimed to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" have guaranteed it a sacrosanct place as "American scripture," a testament to the special qualities of a chosen people. Little wonder, then, that it stands as a cornerstone of Americans' sense of their own uniqueness.
The clearest call for independence up to the summer of 1776 came in Philadelphia on June 7. On that date in session in the Pennsylvania State House (later Independence Hall), the Continental Congress heard Richard Henry Lee of Virginia read his resolution beginning: "Resolved: That these United Colonies are, and of right ought 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 ought to be, totally dissolved." The Lee Resolution was an expression of what was already beginning to happen throughout the colonies. When the Second Continental Congress, which was essentially the government of the United States from 1775 to 1788, first met in May 1775, King George III had not replied to the petition for redress of grievances that he had been sent by the First Continental Congress. The Congress gradually took on the responsibilities of a national government. In June 1775 the Congress established the Continental Army as well as a continental currency. By the end of July of that year, it created a post office for the "United Colonies." In August 1775 a royal proclamation declared that the King's American subjects were "engaged in open and avowed rebellion." Later that year, Parliament passed the American Prohibitory Act, which made all American vessels and cargoes forfeit to the Crown. And in May 1776 the Congress learned that the King had negotiated treaties with German states to hire mercenaries to fight in America. The weight of these actions combined to convince many Americans that the mother country was treating the colonies as a foreign entity.
The history of United States dates back in years where some of the founding fathers sacrificed a lot in terms of their resources just to ensure peace and justice. One of the defining moments in the history of United States was 4 July 1776. This was a time when some thirteen states declared their freedom from the British rule, which was considered brutal. We shall be focusing on the events that led to the declaration of the independence and the people who have been a source of inspiration to the history of America. Thesis: Thomas Jefferson and the founding fathers adopted the Lockean Philosophies to help create the declaration of independence and ensure peace, stability and economic growth (Furgang, Kathy, Thomas Jefferson of Virgi). Locke remains to be one of the great philosophical influences of the time. His philosophical thoughts on the legal rights and laws helped shape the independence of America. He made people realize that they had the power to change the way they were being governed by resisting a particular rule. His influence are highlighted in what is commonly referred to natural laws and natural rights. He highlighted some of the issues that were addressed by the thirteen colonies and the reason why a human being has a right to a certain lifestyle. Locke recognized the fact that as long as a person has been born, their rights begin (Grant, 89). There is nothing that should hinder them from obtaining the happiness that they need to get from life. He recognizes the fact that despite the differences displayed by humans, they have particular rights, which should not be disputed in any way.
In conclusion, the Declaration of Independence became a significant landmark in the history of democracy. In addition to its importance in the fate of the fledgling American nation, it also exerted a tremendous influence outside the United States, most memorably in France during the French Revolution. Together with the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence can be counted as one of the three essential founding documents of the United States government.
Divine, Robert. America, past and present, Volume 1. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1991.
Furgang, Kathy, Thomas Jefferson of Virgi –Lib: Framers of the Declaration of Independence Series, Framers of the Declaration of Independence Series. New York: The Rosen Publishing Group, 2002.
Grant, Ruth. John Locke's Liberalism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991.