The Declaration of Independence
The Declaration of Independence suggests that it comes a time when it becomes very important for a united people to do away with political practices that have tied them up and move into a new political dispensation that promises freedom as per the way the laws of nature and the nature’s God dictates.
In summary of the first two paragraphs below, I would like to mention that the Declaration of Independence and its resolutions were purposely drafted to proclaim to the whole world the reasons why the American states were declaring Independence. It stated in details the kind of conditions that the people of America were living in and the new direction they were anticipating to take.
The Declaration of Independence goes ahead to mention that governments are normally put in place and mandated to protect the interests of those governed. Whenever any of these instituted governments seek to do the opposite of what their powers dictate, then it is the responsibility of the people to modify or to abolish it in order put in place one that will be able to serve them appropriately. This came during a time when the leadership of America led by the King of Great Britain had injured, oppressed, and violated the rights of the American people to a point that they could not take it anymore. Therefore the need for change thus arose. This clearly showed the intents of the authors who believed it were time for freedom, change of government and governance style.
It was just a formal process of justifying something that had already been achieved a few days earlier. The Declaration of Independence was therefore geared towards uniting the people to move away from the old systems that had discriminated them to a new system that promised hope, equality and justice.
In the Declaration of Independence, the authors raise to our attention some five truths that they believe to be self evident. These truths are that, “all men are created equal; they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights; these rights comprise of life, liberty and the search for happiness; to secure these rights governments are instituted among men and deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it and to institute new government”. Declaration of Independence goes ahead to mention that the purpose and mandate of governments are normally to protect the interests of those governed i.e. is must protect the unalienable rights of the people, and all the related processes, paperwork, rules, and regulations. Court rulings should also protect the unalienable rights of the people in a way that reflects the principles of justice.
To be able to understand why these truths were considered to be self evident truths, it is important to mention that self evident truths are truths that do not need to be proved and are self explanatory. This argument is based on the fact that it is human nature to live as per the values that seem to look clear to our minds (Burgan, 2000).
It is very common to find that when most people are not in agreement, they tend to defend their moral actions by making references to moral principles and values that are known to be basic. The Declaration of Independence proves to be an admirable venture considering the fact that it provides a good platform for governance based on self evident truths that it describes as the foundation for morality. It is very right to say that self evident truths are truths that seek to impact positively on human beings. For example, when we look at the self evident truths as mentioned in the Declaration of Independence, we find that these are not things that we just like or those that maybe our culture approves, they are objective truths that we strongly and permanently hold in our minds and guide the way we reason. They are some of the very few truths that all human beings in their right minds would agree on. These self evident truths are based on the political theory of the good, right and valid. This theory is centered on the principle of the normative, ways of living a good life, and what is considered to be morally upright. It acts as a guide towards the institutionalization of a social and political system that is civilized, correct and seeks to enhance justice (Burgan, 2000).
The social contract theory was first exposed in detailed by Hobbes. It is a theory that is associated with modern moral and political theory and John Locke is one of the commonly known proponents of the theory. In arguing for the social contract theory, he strongly believes on the right of the people to revolt against their leadership. These arguments were very instrumental on the democratic revolutions that followed in the USA. He continues to argue that, the state of nature, the natural human environment and behavior, can be best described as a state of complete liberty for one to rightfully carry out his/her daily endeavors the way he/she sees fit.
In the globalized world it is a common agreement that all men are equal as created by God himself, who bestowed in them some unalienable rights. These rights are; the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as mentioned by the authors of the popular Declaration of Independence. This idea raised in the Declaration of Independence that God gave every man equal right was to symbolize that all men were at per or rather one level and that no man had a right to consider him or herself to be superior to another i.e. no man was alienable. This was an avenue that gave the common man a voice and power to refuse any person of any kind who claimed authority over him without his or her consent. This was simply as a result of the fact that all human beings were equal and therefore no person had the right to claim authority over another. This ideology of equality, over time has proved to be a vital factor in ensuring a peaceful and unified coexistence of people within a specified society. It is worth noting that governments are supposed to be institutionalized with powers from the consents of those who are governed (Burgan, 2000).
In the Declaration of Independence, it is very important to note that those rights were specified as alienated because they were not just postulates but realities that are regarded as truths.
The Declaration of Independence was based on liberal ideas surrounding human rights issues that were guided by the idea of natural law and acted as a contract philosophy that seek to define how man was supposed to be governed. In political circles the Declaration contained the most admirable phrases stating that “all men were created equal and that they were created by their creature endowed with certain unalienable rights”. These rights as earlier mentioned were the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. With this in mind therefore, the Declaration stated that the government was to be instituted with power derived from the consent of the people, to protect their interests (Burgan, 2000).
The origination of the concept of unalienable rights in the Declaration of Independence was from the American governmental philosophy. This is a concept that is based on the American belief that they are of a divine origin. Without this belief on a divine being, Americans believe that there is no moral basis to support the fact of this concept. This rights that America believes are given by a supernatural being are also referred to as natural rights. This is because of the belief that they are acquired under the laws of nature and are therefore a gift from God that no person has a right to deprive anyone (Burgan, 2000).
In the Declaration of Independence, there are also those rights that were collectively held by the people that encouraged autonomy. The people were entitled to privacy, self-determination, and the inherent worth of each and every person. The Declaration of Independence suggests that in our daily lives, we should be able to industriously support other people in making complete independent decisions. It is an ethical obligation of each and every person to protect the interests and Independence of other people should anybody or a group of people attempt to undermine it (Johnson & Ridley, 2008).
As I had earlier mentioned, the Declaration of Independence goes ahead to mention that the purpose and mandate of governments are normally to protect the interests of those governed. Whenever any of these instituted governments seek to do the opposite of what their purpose and powers dictate, then it is the responsibility of the people to exercise their revolution right. The impact of this is that the rights, happiness and interests of the people are secured. The Declaration of Independence came during a time when the leadership of America led by the King of Great Britain had injured, oppressed, and violated the rights of the American people to a point that they could not take it anymore. There was therefore a great need for change from the oppressive kind of governance that was evident in America. The purpose of government as specified by the Declaration of Independence therefore offered equal opportunities, respect and justice. The people of America could now be able to live with self dignity and respect. The governments were elected and mandated with power and authority with the consent of the people. As a result of this together with the revolution rights of the people, the decision making capabilities were limited to the laws governing the country. Poor and un-inclusive decisions by government could lead the people to exercise their revolution rights and throw a government out of office (Burgan, 2000).
With all these in mind therefore, the Declaration made a valuable case for the above conditions. It is evident that the British government violated the rights of the Americans and treated them unequally. This was by making them pay taxes unlike the British and more worse, passing these laws without their consent.
It is evident that Americans were living in oppression, segregation, discrimination, and injustice. They were not accorded equal rights and were therefore made to look inferior to the British. The need for change of government and laws of governance was therefore necessary and that’s the reason why I believe that the Declaration of Independence was timely and very necessary.