The Declaration of Independence – Tolerances, Appeals and Declaring Independence

250px-Congress_voting_independenceNow that they’ve stated the Proper Form and Role of Government and their Grievances towards the King, they demonstrate how they have desperately sought other ways to resolve this problem.  Then, having explained how it should be, what is wrong and what they’ve tried to do about it – they justifiably throw off the chains of the King.

“In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.”

They have plead their case to King and Parliament, only to be injured further and again.  A ruler who is clearly a Tyrant is not fit to rule a free people.

“Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence.

They’ve told the people of Britain over and over that something has to be done.  They appealed to them as kin to group together in Britain and lobby the King to stop.

“They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.”

The people of Britain completely let them down, doing nothing to help the situation.  Now, their friends and loved ones will be held as a part of their nation – if we’re at war with Britain, we’re at war with our friends and families too.

“We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States;”

Note the Authority that is stated here.  The letter is written by Representatives, assembled in Congress (indicating they’ve come to an agreement on this letter) declare Independence in the Name of the People of the Colonies and by the Authority of the People of the Colonies.  They are demonstrating the role of government they just laid out – this government is acting to defend the three rights of the people and they have been selected and given power to do so by the People.

Note also the final sentence: the United Colonies (they are acting as one) declare themselves to be Free and Independent States.  Here again is this concept of Independent States that we don’t really see anymore today.

“that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

What are they saying that Independent States can do? Full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, all other acts and things which Independent States may of right do.  Notice how they address Britain – “the State of Great Britain”.  They are declaring that each state in the United Colonies is equivalent in power and rights as Britain is.

By this time, of course, the Revolutionary War had technically already been underway since “The First Shot of the Revolution” also known as “The Shot Heard Around the World” had been fired at the Battle of Lexington and Concord April 19, 1775.

There are four Sections to this Series:

How well do you know the Declaration of Independence?
Introduction and Principles of Government
The Grievances
Tolerances, Appeals and Declaring Independence