U. S. History
This paper seeks to introduce the topic by relying on the Secondary source of the American History. Additionally, the Submission will then highlight some of the essential and crucial facts to appreciate regarding the Declaration of Independence and the American constitution. After setting the background and the context of the topic, this submission will then move to compare and contrast the Declaration of independence with the American Constitution with the Secondary Source of information and lastly give a conclusion based on the contrasts as shall be highlighted in the course of looking at all of the three sources of American History as shall be reviewed hereunder.
The Declaration of Independence was dated and signed on the 4th of July 1776 by John Hancock who was the President of Congress and 55 other Continental Congress. There were union forces by those who wanted the United States of America to be a single state while there were proponents that various states be independent. This ideological difference was the significant cause of the Civil war that occurred during that period. The Declaration announced that Thirteen American colonies which were at war with the British were now independent. John Adams who was a leader then, convinced the committee that was in charge of drafting the declaration to allow Thomas Jefferson to draft the Original Declaration of Independence. The declaration was fundamentally a formal explanation as to why the congress had voted on the July 2nd to be independent from Britain. After Congress had ratified the Declaration of Independence, copies of the same were distributed to the members of the public.
The need for the Declaration of Independence was necessitated by the long standing war of the thirteen colonies had with the British Empire. Since Britain had been at war just a few years before, their resources were depleting and they needed to enforce the increased taxation rates so that the colonies could also pay the price for the war that Britain had engaged in. The said war had not only depleted Britain’s resources, but also plunged Britain into deep debts. Britain enacted and enforced particular legislation with the aim of getting increased revenue from the colonies. This legislation included the Stamp Act of 1765 and the Townshend Act of 1767.
A number of colonies developed negative attitudes towards the British Empire because some of them had no one representing them in the Parliament. As such, they felt like since they had no direct representation in parliament, the empire had no rights to collect revenue from them by way of taxing them; it is from this point that a number of colonies started their own forms of rebellion. After passing of the Stamp Act of 1765 and the Townshend Act of 1767, some colonies began to question the British Parliament’s jurisdiction over them. The position of the British was clear that the British Parliament was a supreme authority and had power over the colonies. As such, according to them the British had power to enact legislation that would directly affect the colonies. The issue of the British Parliament’s authority was slowly developing into a crisis and there was one particular instance where the colonies felt pushed against the wall by the British was when the British Parliament passed Coercive Act in 1774 which they believe that the said legislation was passed to punish the Boston Tea party of 1773 and felt that the particular legislation was even a violation of the American Constitution .
The efforts by the British parliament to suffocate the colonies were shot down by King George III and the prime minister who wanted to tone down on the issue of the supremacy of the British parliament because they knew the same issue brew as a potential conflict. Many States were already hoping that they would soon attain independence from the British, even though no one stood up and advocated for the same. Some colonists were still hoping that the Colonies and the British would reconcile despite the acts of rebellion by some of the colonies; though mostly the indirect forms of rebellion. In 1775 the king rejected the congress’ second petition for independence and further made an official proclamation of Rebellion and indicated that he was going to seek foreign assistance to suppress the rebellion. This act was already seen by some parliamentarians as a driving factor to independence for the Americans and they warned of the same.
In 1776, the British parliament passed the Prohibitory Act which had an effect of setting up a blockade along American ports and declaring American ships as enemy vessels. There was a growing support for the declaration of independence as news that the British had hired German mercenaries to supress the colonies was spreading fast in the colonies. There was pressure on congress from various quarters of the colonies for congress to declare Independence but it seemed as though congress lacked the power and authority to do so. Some delegates in congress had been urged by the states they represented not to vote for Separation from Britain.
When it became unclear as to what actions the Congress would take, delegates decided to take the opinions of the Americans which were to act according to their instructions and for the exercise it was clear that the Americans wanted to be separated from the British and there was overwhelming support for the colonies to be separated from the British. North Carolina became the first colony to authorize its delegates to vote to be separated from the British and to vote for Independence while some colonies were reluctant to endorse their delegates to vote for independence. That notwithstanding, the push for independence was slowly gathering momentum and it was just a while before it was in full force. There were concerns that some colonies were reluctant to push for independence because they had no proper government structures and they were urged to adopt new government structures in order move in unison with the other colonies that were pushing for independence.
Soon thereafter, congress appointed a committee to prepare a preamble stating reasons for arriving at the resolution that they had reached. In the preamble, the committee stated that the British king had refused to take part in negotiations aimed at reconciling the British with the colonies. Richards Lee presented a motion for resolution before the congress on June 7th and the same was seconded by John Adams as they pushed for congress to declare independence. However, Lee’s declaration met strong opposition by some of the delegates who even though admitted that reconciliation with the King was highly unlikely but they felt that pushing for independence in the circumstances was premature. That notwithstanding, there was still a strong push for the congress to declare independence. Maryland and New York were yet to support the push for a declaration of independence by the congress. Maryland had categorically rejected Adam’s preamble and urged its delegates not to support the push for declaration of independence. In New York, delegates were unable to obtain revised instructions from the members of the colony.
John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Robert Livingstone and Roger Sherman prepared the draft declaration of independence since they were the members of the committee appointed by congress and tasked to do so. The committee chose Thomas Jefferson to draft the declaration in consultation with John Adams who soon thereafter came up with a draft declaration of independence. The document was titled: A Declaration by the Representatives of The United States of America, in General Congress assembled. The document was tabled in congress, edited with an aim of deleting unnecessary wording pending its ratification. Colonies such as South Carolina changed their position and now supported the push for the declaration of independence. The Congress then voted in favour of resolution of independence and on the 4th of July 1776, the Declaration of Independence was ratified and sent to a printer for publication.
In summary, the secondary source of the United States history highlights the factors that led to the creation of the Independent United States government from the colonial perspective. Moreover, it tries to give reasons as to why there was the need for the declaration of independence and subsequently the drafting and enactment of the American constitution which are the primary sources for reference in this topic that this submission not only seeks to review, but also seeks to highlight essential facts and contrast with the primary source. The Declaration for Independence announced that the Thirteen American colonies which were at war with the British were now independent. The declaration was primarily a formal explanation as to why the congress had voted on the July 2nd to be independent from Britain. After Congress had ratified the Declaration of Independence, copies of the same were distributed to the members of the public.
In the Declaration for Independence, the oppressions by the King of Britain was given as the reasons why the Americans opted and pushed for independence. Some of the reasons as stated in the Declaration for Independence are as follows; that the King of Britain frustrated the administration of justice, by refusing to assent laws that sought to create an independent judiciary and that he made judges to decide matters in accordance with his issues. The Declaration for Independence blamed the King of England for setting up a lot of offices in the colonies and sending his officers to go and harass the Americans. The Declaration further blamed the King of England for imposing taxes without the consent of the American people, for cutting off the trade between the Americans and the rest of the world, for abolishing the charters that the Americans had established and for abolishing the laws that they had originally.
The spirit of the Declaration of Independence was that the British had completely oppressed the Americans in every way imaginable. It was an outcry by the Americans not only to the British, but also to the world over. A line in the Declaration for independence appeals to the Supreme Judge of the world and the only way forward for the Americans was as a matter of right to attain independence and be a sovereign state free from all the oppressions of the British.
The preamble of the United States Constitution takes the tone and spirit of the Declaration for Independence and states words to the effect that the States of America come together in peace and defend themselves from external oppressions and come together so as to enjoy the fruits of liberty. The message is that of peace, sovereignty and independence which is what the congress in the 1700’s was fighting for and in deed their labour bore fruits which were freedom, independence and liberty.
Under Article 1 of the United States Constitution, the powers of the congress have been highlighted and they are all aimed at protecting the interest of the United States of America in the same spirit as the Congress in the 1700’s did. The whole structure of the United States Government and the system of the two levels of Government; the Federal Government and the State Governments all stem from the ideas, conceptions and views that were the bone of contention among the then colonies with regards to the issue of independence and governance.
In conclusion, all the sources of History as reviewed and highlighted herein above complement each other and all drive towards the same facts which basically is how the United States of America’s struggle to attain independence and their fight for sovereignty and liberty. Based on the foregoing, the Structure of the Government of the United States of America is a true representation of how exactly the delegates of the 1700’s congress wanted the government to be.
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