The Declaration of Independence The Enlightenment applied to the colonies
The Enlightenment • 16th/17th Century European (and American) intellectual movement • Attempted to apply logic and the scientific method to all aspects of society • Key figures: Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Isaac Newton.
The Enlightenment • Englishman Thomas Hobbes developed the idea of a “social contract” • Social contract: idea that govt. is responsible to its citizens • citizens give up some rights to have other rights protected by the govt. • He said even kings should be responsible to their citizens.
John Locke • One of the major influences on Thomas Jefferson when he wrote the Declaration of Independence. • Locke wrote that people have a fundamental right to their “life, liberty and estate (property)” • How does TJ adjust this phrase for the Dec.? Why do you think he did so?
The Declaration of Independence • Served two major purposes: • Listed our grievances (complaints) against the British govt. • Though TJ really just blamed King George III • Proclaiming ourselves independent from the British Empire • TJ claimed that there was a natural right to revolt when govtsbroke their social contract
The Declaration of Independence • From the list of grievances, answer the following questions: • #11: What war did the British fight in the 1750s in North America? (hint; one of its opponents was France) • #14: In what document would this idea be dealt with later? • #17: Name at least one tax “Act” that the colonists protested (“the ________ Act,” etc.) • #18: (toughy) Identify the Bill of Rights Amendment that now guarantees us a trial by jury. • Pick 2 other grievances listed and “translate” them into modern, everyday English.
Impact of the Declaration • Many countries that became independent after us have borrowed/plagiarized major parts of the Declaration • Various minority groups in the U.S. (racial/ethnic groups, women, homosexuals) have used the Dec. as support for their argument for more rights.