Conflicts on the Declaration of Independence

Essay by proud_poserUniversity, Bachelor's September 2004

download word file, 2 pages 4.3

The Declaration of Independence is widely misinterpreted. Historians like Bancroft tend to write about how it was a great stride for mankind, separating ourselves from Britain and their unfair obligations. He, and others, wrote about the "sophisticated philosophies" about our natural rights and happiness. What people don't realize, is that the document is not much more than a brilliantly worded piece propaganda.

Thomas Jefferson managed to justify the 'Founding Fathers' actions during the revolutionary war and their motivations for it in this document. He masks the economic motivations by saying that humans have natural rights; life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. An example would be a quote from Lincoln: "This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing Government, they can exercise their 'constitutional' right of amending it or their 'revolutionary' right to dismember or overthrow it."

It sometimes seems that the 'revolutionaries' created this ideal, but in reality, they were just one of the first to put it that plainly. Notice I said 'one of the first', not 'the first'. That's because they got the idea not only from living that way for 150 yrs., but from other countries like Scotland, Greece, and England.

Another fact historians tend to disagree on is the date it was signed on. Every elementary school student knows that on July 4 we celebrate Independence Day because that was the day The Declaration of Independence was signed. What they don't know is that the last person to sign it was on Aug. 2. July 2-4 were the days it was

debated and voted on. July 4th was simply the day that the last vote was made. After serious debating and revising of the document, congress finally decided to accept it.