Narendran Sairam-Yale April 14th, 2008 Mr.

Richard (Nick) Noble World History

Analysis of The Declaration Of Independence written by Thomas Jefferson


The Declaration of Independence, formally known as the Unanimous Declaration of the thirteen colonies of the United States of America, is the most important document in the history of the United States of America. Written by Thomas Jefferson, this document outlines the reasons for the declaration of the independence of the colonies. These reasons include the ignorance of the king, his excessive use of force, enforcing foreign jurisdiction over the colonies and many others. The reason this document is so important is because it is the first time where where the colonists put their foot down and said, “We are free. Like it or not.” This approach is by far the best because it achieves its purpose of getting the message to the British. Aside from its causes, the writing of the declaration of Independence also had its impacts. It was used as a propaganda tool and also as a tool to unite the colonies. One of the major reasons, according to Jefferson, of the friction between the British and the colonists of the New World, is the ignorance of King George III. The document says, “He has refused assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good:” Laws or rules make up the core of every institution and community and without them there is no community or institution. Had King George actually cared about the colonists, he would have put in place some sort of foundation for a jurisdiction and his failure to do so shows how ignorant and careless King George had been. After talking about his ignorance, Jefferson moves on to say that King George liked to wage war than settle things over an argument. He says, “he has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies and ships of war: 2

he has affected to render the military, independent of and superior to civil power:” These sentences tell the reader about King George's use of force, and the reason its bad is because it disrupts the flow of everything. It forces people to trust no one and the sense of community and peace is lost within a society. Had these unnecessary battles been avoided by the king, it would have been a lot easier to sort out the problems that, later arose between them, but his actions lost him the trust of the colonists. Another major reason that Jefferson stresses on, is the enforcing of foreign jurisdiction. According to him, “he has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitutions, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their pretended acts of legislation, for quartering large bodies of armed troops among us;” Here, he clearly states that foreign laws, that are not completely understood by them, are being enforced upon them. They have also been 'deprived of the benefits of trial by jury,'among other things. This is important because it shows that King George only wanted to colonize this 'New Word' because he wanted to use the space it provided. He used it as a dump yard with absolute control over it. This pissed off the colonists because they got arrested for things they did not believe to be wrong. Jefferson also says that this is the only option left. He says that: “in every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have only been answered by repeated injury.” His argument here is that, “ We tried hard to it diplomatically but you did not acknowledge it. Now we have no choice other than to break away.” And this seems fair because all they want to do is live independently rather than under the rule of someone who does not really care for them. Had the King been a little more considerate, maybe the colonists would not have broken away. Also, later in the document, Jefferson tells the reader that the colonists had already warned


the British to leave them alone. They had told the British that they did not require any help and they did not want to be under their jurisdiction but the British did not pay too much heed to this warning either. This angered the colonists and they began to feel insecure and this is what led to the writing of the declaration of the independence. The above reasons are elaborations of only some of the reasons for the declaration of independence mentioned in the document itself. One reason that is not mentioned but implied by the declaration of independence is the understanding of the society itself. King George III did not fully understand the situation and way of life in the Americas. For example, a war of attrition was completely foreign to him and yet that was the only way the colonists beat the Indians and later the British themselves. If he had understood the atmosphere overseas, he may have been a better supporter of the New World and the declaration may have never been written. The draft that was submitted on June 28th, 1776 had only one reference to God and an entire paragraph devoted to the opinion that slavery was bad. When the final draft was signed by all the 54 delegates on the fifth of July 1776, there was an entire paragraph devoted to God and absolutely no mention of slaves or slave trading. The reason for this drastic change was a opinion based controversy that raged among the thirteen colonies. Many of the thirteen colonies were originally founded for religious freedom and the Continental congress wanted all of the United States of America to offer religious freedom. And so there was a whole paragraph inserted devoted to God and religious freedom. On the rough draft the was also the paragraph about slavery and salve trading. This created problems because the southern states wanted slavery while the northern states opposed it. The problem was that the declaration would have no value unless it was signed by the delegates of all of the thirteen states and so in order to achieve that, the paragraph concerning slavery was removed. Those were the only two major problems that the writing of the declaration of


independence ever faced and they were both solved systematically. So far, the causes of the writing and editing of the declaration of independence have been told. The declaration of independence also had its impacts. The Declaration was used as a propaganda tool. The colonists used it to make sure that everybody, including the British, knew about this act of rebellion. The Declaration also helped to unite the Continental congress. So far, all the 'states' had taken sides but once this document was written the war, went from being a civil war to a war of independence. This was also a call for anyone who disliked Britain to join them, like the French, who absolutely detested the British. All these impacts of the writing and publicizing of the Declaration of Independence helped kick the British out of the Americas thereby achieving its purpose. In conclusion, the writing of the Declaration of Independence was caused by many things. Almost all of these cause include a fault on King George III's part. His ignorance, his use of unnecessary force, his enforcing of foreign jurisdiction on the colonists, the decision of the British to meddle in their business and many others are the causes of the writing of the Declaration of Independence that are mentioned in the document itself. These cause also imply something about the King. They show that he was selfish, careless and did not understand life in the Americas. In addition, the Declaration also had its impacts. It united the states and it was used as a propaganda tool. The changes that were made to the Declaration between the 28th of June and the 5th of July have extremely significant impacts too. The addition of the paragraph about God helped show the religious freedom and the removing of the paragraph about slavery showed the desperate situation they were in. They were ready to sign something the completely opposed to get their freedom. All these thing together helped achieve the purpose of the writing of the Unanimous Declaration of the thirteen colonies of the United States of America which was to drive the British out and gain