Jeremy Keeshin Great Issues Document Analysis 1.

In the vehement documents detailing opinions at the time before the American Revolution and independence from Britain, the authors use the words “slaves” and “slavery” to describe the relation between the two entities. This verbiage is interesting as it demonstrates the way that the authors and many of the colonists at that time viewed the British relation. Their usage of the words “slaves” and “slavery” is as far away from free as they could get. They viewed the British control of the colonies as that; a relation with complete control on one end and few perks on the other. In Document 5, John Dickinson’s Letters say, “Great Britain can order us to come to her for necessaries we want, and can order us to pay what taxes she pleases before we take them away, or when we land them here, we are as abject slaves as France and Poland can shew in wooden shoes, and with uncombed hair.” This is detailing how England has absolute control over the colonies, comparable to how a master has complete control over his slave. Likewise in the Second Continental Congress they say they would “die freemen rather than live slaves.” This means that the general feeling in the colonies is very passionately against the controlling means England uses on the colonies. 2. The Americans in these documents are developing their own sense of a concept of liberty that differs from the British. The continually reemphasized point is that taxation without representation is inherently unjust, and the way that Britain tries to oversee America from three thousand miles and an ocean away is simply inefficient. In the First Continental Congress they said that they did not feel bound whatsoever by Parliament’s laws. Later they go on to say how all Americans should get their natural rights, and that the King has no right to keep an army in the colonies at a time of peace. The First Continental Congress Declaration and Resolves also brings up the point of the separation of the branches of government. These documents outline many foundations of the new American perception of liberty. 3. These significant documents develop a sense of America by establishing and reaffirming basic principles. America is a getaway from all of Britain’s ills. If one could not find religious freedom in Europe or specifically Britain, one would charter a “long term vacation” to America. America is a separate unit where THE LAW IS KING and not vice versa. It is a land separate from Britain and other nations because, as Thomas Paine puts it, there is no case in nature where a satellite exists larger than its primary planet. America is about fairness, and in the case where it does not exist; it is about the quest and persistence to achieve this fairness. All these documents address the current wrongs and a meaningful way to correct them. That is what America is about. It is about the fact that authority is not always right and that there are multiple ideas that could be plausible improvements. These documents set out a new way to circulate ideas and influence the rest of the population.

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