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Declaration Of Independence In 1776 Essay

1340 words - 5 pages

A turning point is a major historical event that has led to important political, social, and economic changes. There has been many turning points throughout time and American history, civilizations are constantly changing and adapting to new situations. The signing of the Declaration of Independence was a major turning point in the history of America, because it changed the course of American history drastically and let to the United States independence from Britain.
The signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 established the foundation for the basic natural rights of all Americans, which are still relevant today. The Declaration was a statement of grievances against the British, which “announced to the world the unanimous decision of the thirteen American colonies to separate themselves from Great Britain” (Azerrad). The Declaration was written by one of the founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson's ideas for the Declaration were heavily influenced by ideas of enlightenment thinkers, such as John Locke. John Locke's ideas include: natural born rights, the social contract, and consent of the governed. Natural born rights were crucial in the forming of America because they declared Americans had certain undeniable rights; life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Jefferson states American’s have natural rights in the preamble of the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,” (Declaration of). The social contract states that if the government fails to protect the natural rights, they can be overthrown. Consent of the governed was the idea that the government is only legitimate if the governed people believe and consented to the government ruling. Jefferson states both of these ideas clearly in the preamble. Through John Locke’s influence and Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence, it is evident that the people of America are sovereign.
There were many factors that led to the signing of the Declaration; the biggest contributor was increasing tension between Britain and the American Colonies. During the time of the Revolution, Britain often infringed on the natural rights of the Americans. Acts like the Sugar, Townshend, and Stamp Act increased the taxes on commonly imported goods. According to Kindig, taxed goods included; sugar, molasses, marriage papers, glass, paint, oil, and lead. Colonists viewed the increase of taxes as unfair and believed that Britain had no right to tax them extensively. After the passing of these acts, colonists started to want representation in government. The Quartering Act allowed soldiers to reside in colonist’s properties or homes without consent of the owner....

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