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The Declaration of Independence and the Theory of Government

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The authors of the Declaration of Independence used a theory of government to justify their right to revolt from the British crown. This theory of government suggests that a ruler derives his power from the consent of the people, and that the people have a right to change or totally abolish this form of government if it is detrimental to them.

The authors of the Declaration make the claim that the British king has repeatedly oppressed them and completely ignored their petitions of his actions. Not only had they been oppressed by the King, but he had also deprived them of their unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The deprivation of their unalienable rights was certainly cause for abolishment or separation according to their theory of government.

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The Declaration states “He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures” (Declaration of Independence Excerpt), since the power of the king is dependent on the consent of the people, without that he is then unfit to rule. The Declaration also states “He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries” (Declaration of Independence Excerpt). This accusation describes a king whose goal is no longer the betterment of the people, but a goal of improving his own financial status. With this in mind, and many other factors, it is evident that the colonists had the right to independence. A supporter of the British king and Parliament might raise the objection that the colonists are still British citizens under British laws, regardless of their geographical location. While the colonies and Britain are geographically divided by the Atlantic, there was no legal divide to suggest that the colonists would deserve any more freedom o liberties than British citizens living in Britain. Therefore, they have no right to argue for independence or establish additional bodies of government that could suggest opposition to the British crown.

A supporter might also argue that the laws the king abolished, and the legislation that he suspended, had no right to exist anyways, as they are legally no different than the citizens back in Britain. On the other hand, the revolutionaries could argue that not only are they geographically separated, but are also separated in their culture and society, and therefore have different needs and different regulations that apply to them. They may argue that they are not truly British citizens anymore, and after repeated oppression by the British crown, can certainly declare political separation from Britain.


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