The Declaration of Independence can also be described as a brake-up letter because the Americans are telling Britain that they are done with being under their control. The Americans say that they want to become self governed and don't want to be associated with Britain anymore. The British are making decisions and laws that the Americans are against. They believe that Britain doesn't care about them and treat them as one of their own. King George felt like the Americans were trying to break up with him because he thought he was doing a good job. He saw them as a far away part of England and he was thrown off when they presented to him the declaration. King George was offended because the Americans were complaining about taxes and saying that he didn't think about them, but he thought he was helping America succeed. In return for the break up he says he will get back at them by sending soldiers, making it impossible for them to trade and form alliances with other places. America and Britain both are upset about the break up because although it will do them good it will also cause conflicts.
Reading of the Declaration
The preamble states opinions of Enlightenment and relate them to the American colonists' situation. There are three certain phrases that relate to the enlightened ideas. In the preamble it states "Life, Liberty, and the pursuit to Happiness." This would agree with the idea of natural rights. Natural rights say that everybody, no matter who they are should have certain rights. They are rights they are born with and can not be taken away from them. The preamble also declares that there should be consent of the governed. This is Enlightened because it means that who ever has power only has a little more than everybody else. They should be making decisions based off of everybody opinion and not just their own. In the preamble the Americans suggest "Safety and Happiness." This would agree with protecting against the State of Nature. So their is a government set up so that everybody will stay safe. It is not saying that the government has to have complete power, but that the government is protecting everybody rather than hurting them. This means that Britain may have been hurting the Americans with their laws instead of making it better for them. The American believed the British government should have been following the enlightenment philosophy.
The Declaration of Independence is made up of grievances. A grievances is a complaint or resentment, as unjust or unfair act. The Americans included these in the Declaration because they wanted to state all the reasons why they didn't want to be part of England. If they had just written a letter to King George that they were "breaking up with him" it wouldn't have been convincing. They needed to include the grievances because they wanted King George to understand all the bad things that he did that made them want independence. It was also important for the Americans to understand why they were breaking their ties with Britain. If they didn't have good reasons or didn't have any at all they may have realized that they actually needed King George. However, they knew exactly what he had done wrong and they were able to convince everybody by using the grievances. It was the evidence that King George should not rule because he had done wrong. In order to want to go against Britain they needed reasons and the grievances were their reasons. The grievances allowed the Americans to voice their opinions. There are many grievances in the Declaration of Independence, each one stating different facts about an action of King George. Grievance set 7 in our packet states "For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world: For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:" In this grievance the Americans are upset because King George has not allowed them to trade with other people and made them pay taxes without their permission. This made the Americans angry because the British are taking away their natural rights. This means that Britain is not allowing them the right to gain property from other places by trading. It is also taking away associating with other places which should be their right. In Grievance set 6 it argues "He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance. For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us." In this grievance the Americans complain about how the King has sent over many soldiers to take control of their land. This agrees with the Enlightenment idea of the consent of the governed. King George is depriving the Americans of their right to have an opinion. He is not allowing them to have a say on what happens and what laws are being enforced. The Americans were growing more upset with everything that King George took away from them. They had finally agreed that they needed their independence.