The history of United States dates back in years where some of the founding fathers sacrificed a lot in terms of their resources just to ensure peace and justice. One of the defining moments in the history of United States was 4 July 1776. This was a time when some thirteen states declared their freedom from the British rule, which was considered brutal. We shall be focusing on the events that led to the declaration of the independence and the people who have been a source of inspiration to the history of America. Thesis: Thomas Jefferson and the founding fathers adopted the Lockean Philosophies to help create the declaration of independence and ensure peace, stability and economic growth.
Declaration of independent is a document that was adopted by United States concerning thirteen of its colonies. They had been under the British rule for quite some time and were not enjoying the full rights of independence. By the time they were declaring themselves independent, they were at war with the British government of what was termed as poor governance and leadership. The states were made to pay taxes yet they were not enjoying the fruit of what they were paying for. Instead of them being granted equal opportunities, they were harassed and made to go to war. It is after such consideration that they decided enough is enough. In the document, they highlighted what they felt were issues that were facing them, which the British government had failed to address. They were hence forcefully walking out of it and declared their readiness to defend their rights.
Among some key pioneers of the declaration was Thomas Jefferson who is vividly remembered for his statement “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” ( Armitage, 17). By this statement, Jefferson recognized the fact that the thirteen colonies have been under the oppressive rule of the British government and were not being accorded the rights they deserved as citizens. The evidence was proved by the way leadership was handled and the fact that the lives of the citizens in such states had not improved. They were mainly used to pay taxes to the British government, money that they did not know how it was being used or spent. It was evident on who held key government positions and the difference between the kinds of life that the other colonies lived in comparison to what the thirteen states were living.
Locke remains to be one of the great philosophical influences of the time. His philosophical thoughts on the legal rights and laws helped shape the independence of America. He made people realize that they had the power to change the way they were being governed by resisting a particular rule. His influence are highlighted in what is commonly referred to natural laws and natural rights. He highlighted some of the issues that were addressed by the thirteen colonies and the reason why a human being has a right to a certain lifestyle. Locke recognized the fact that as long as a person has been born, their rights begin (Grant, 89). There is nothing that should hinder them from obtaining the happiness that they need to get from life. He recognizes the fact that despite the differences displayed by humans, they have particular rights, which should not be disputed in any way.
Natural law, as observed by Locke are those that automatically come to a person by the virtue of them being born in a particular society or culture. They are meant to abide by such rules as they are defined by their communities and hence obtain all that is comes with them. These ones are not disputed and require one to live in accordance to the norms of the society. Such laws cannot be amended as they have been followed by other generations. This are the rights that a person grows to adapt to them and become part of their lives. Looking at natural law and legal laws, we realize that the natural ones cannot be changed; however, the legal laws can be changed by change of government or by amendment. Such power lies both in the hands of the people and the government of the day.
Legal laws on the other hand are defined by a certain political system. Unlike natural laws, which will follow a person to the latter end, natural laws will keep changing depending on the type of government (Divine, 67). Such laws become binding as long as a particular governmental system is in place. This became one major area of influence to the Americans as they adopted the declaration of independence. They realized that in as much as they were born with a certain culture, they were not subject to an oppressive government. A person has the power to determine his or her natural rights because of the freedom of movement and expression they have had. They can rebel against them if they feel they do not fully address their needs. Locke recognized the fact that the government belonged to the people and that the laws that were implemented had to be in line with their demands. They therefore had a right to influence the way the government should be run by not consenting to it. By consenting, Locke implied that the people had a right to choose the leaders they wanted and even change them at will.
Armitage, David. The Declaration of Independence: A Global History. Harvard: Harvard University Press, 2008.
Divine, Robert. America, past and present, Volume 1. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1991.
Furgang, Kathy, Thomas Jefferson of Virgi –Lib: Framers of the Declaration of Independence Series, Framers of the Declaration of Independence Series. New York: The Rosen Publishing Group, 2002.
Grant, Ruth. John Locke's Liberalism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991.