The Declaration of Independence

Essay by chrissaHigh School, 11th grade April 2004

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The Declaration of Independence can be divided in 4 parts: (1) The Preamble; (2) A Declaration of Rights; (3) A Bill of Indictment and (4) A Statement of Independence. The text of the Declaration is shown below. The notes following each paragraph are not part of the Declaration. They explain the meaning of various passages or give examples injustices that a passage mentions.

In Congress, July 4, 1776. The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States of America.

The Preamble

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

Notes: This paragraph tells why the Continental Congress drew up the Declaration. The members felt that when a people must break their ties with the mother country and become independent, they should explain thier reasons to the world.

A Declaration of Rights

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.

Notes: The signers of the Declaration believed it was abvious that "all men", the signers meant people of every race and both sexes. The rights to "Life" included the right to defend oneself against physical attack and against unjust government, to worship freely, and to form a government that protects liberty. The "pursuit of Happiness" meant the right to own property and to have it safeguarded. It also meant the...