July 4th, 1776 was one of the most if not the most life changing day in the history of the United States of America.
Thomas Jefferson, a man who was a firm believer in democracy, scholar, and writer composed what is known as the Declaration of Independence. In the beginning of this document, Thomas Jefferson clearly states that the purpose of this document was to declare the ending of their political ties with Britain and then goes on to say the reasons for why they wanted to do so. All of the reasons came back to the conclusion that the Colonists wanted equality, and as long as they were being controlled by Britain that would not happen. Therefore, they wrote the Declaration of Independence in order to become their own country. The most important part of the Declaration of Independence is the sentiments.
Here Jefferson states the rights that a person should have, and not ever be stripped of. He starts this section of the document by stating “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” Jefferson then goes onto explain the three unalienable rights that should be given; which are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. Another thing that was important to the Colonies was their form of government. He talks about how the people should choose who represents them in government, and that the government’s job is to positively help the people to be the best that they can be. Jefferson finishes by saying “The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these states.
” And then goes on to give examples of economic, political, and social situations in which King George did not treat the colonies equally. Economically, Britain was very unfair to the Colonies. One of the facts that Jefferson listed was that Britain “cut off our Trade with all parts of the world.” Britain wanted to keep a strong “leash” on the Colonies thus prohibiting them from trading with other countries and prevent the Colonies from getting any type of power or authority and also so that they were the only country to be receiving some materials that no other country may be getting through trade. Another wrong doing Jefferson identified was for “imposing Taxes on us without our consent”. For example, the Stamp Act.
England put direct taxes on goods and services within the Colonies, and in order for the Colonies to survive they needed to trade those goods. It was almost as if they were being taxed to simply live. Another example is the Townshend Duties, which is when the British began to indirectly tax any good imported from England. But when the Colonists exported goods to England those goods were never taxed. This goes back to Equality and proves that the Colonist’s rights were being violated and equality was a big problem.
Politically, the Colonists were dishonored just as much as they were economically. A really good point Jefferson indicated was that England was “suspending our own Legislatures and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.” This meant that the British Parliament could do whatever it pleased, and with the Colonists, as if the people in the Colonies were slaves. According to (www.founding.com) “The charge also refers to an act of the British Parliament in 1767 punishing the colony of New York for failing to provide for the maintenance of British troops stationed there.” So essentially, the Colonists were being wrongfully treated after the British established the Quartering Act which allowed the British to stay in a Colonist’s house. This not only violated their Life, but also their liberty. Liberty is having the say of free choice, and if they attempted to turn away a British soldier they would receive terrible consequences. Thus proving that the Colonist’s unalienable rights were violated. Socially, the Colonists were treated poorly.
Jefferson noted that the British “has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.” This practice was a violation of the principle that government derives its just powers from the consent of the Colonies. Also, standing armies can cause danger and fights to break out between the soldiers and the Colonists. For example, the Boston Massacre, if King George had not ordered soldiers to watch over the Colonists that event may have been prevented. Also Jefferson says “our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.” By this Jefferson meant that without choice, Colonists had to go against their will and to fight their own country.
That definitely violates a Colonist’s liberty by violating choice, and free will. As you can see the British violated the Colonists socially as well. In Conclusion, the Declaration of Independence was written because the Colonists wanted to break away from Great Britain for violating their unalienable rights which were Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. The Colonists were taken advantage of and mistreated not only economically but politically and socially as well. The Colonists were also not treated equally and therefore stated that they wanted to be separated from Great Britain forever.