Independence Day (part 1 of 4)

Declaration of Independence

Header of the Declaration of Independence

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

~Declaration of Independence, 1st sentence

The Declaration of Independence opens with a synopsis of the intent and justification of the declared separation from Great Britain. Thomas Jefferson, the primary author of the Declaration, noted the established relationship with the British crown, but declared that certain events justified the severing of this relationship. The founding fathers were not like the rebels of the French Revolution, which would begin some thirteen years later. Rather, these men had long petitioned the British government for grievances–many of them enumerated in the Declaration itself–but felt ignored as their rights were violated by British soldiers and magistrates. Ultimately, they believed that they were no longer being treated as British citizens. In this opening sentence, Jefferson appealed to the “Laws of Nature” and “Nature’s God” as justification for permanent separation from Great Britain.

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