America was one of the British colonies till late 18th century when it was declared a sovereign state, which is independent from its colonial power. Its declaration to be an independent state did not just come automatically, but it was a struggle that took many years. The need for becoming an independent state was ignited by many factors, and most of the factors were forms of oppression to the citizens by the colonial power (Williams, 2002). The process of declaration of independence by the British colonies in America was quite complex and humiliating. It later on led to the states’ representatives to take a bold move, regardless of what would happen to them, to sign on a declaration of independence in 1776 which was centrally to the wishes of King George the III.
The intentions of the authors in writing the declaration were that every colonist state, which was backing the declaration, would sign it to show that it agreed with the issue. The authors also wanted to show the public and the rest of the world the main reasons that were legally justifiable to make them separate from the British Empire. The authors also intended to keep this declaration paper for future references, and that it would be referred to by the future generations. Therefore, it was a good source of history which is still even now read by many scholars.
The political argument that was based on in the signing of the declaration of independence was that natural law taught that people are endowed by God with certain unalienable rights. These rights can be used to alter or do away with a system of government that tends to violate those rights (Essay Tree, 2011). This meant that people would do anything to ensure that the unalienable rights are protected and respected by all means. This political argument was the one that Americans used to reject the British rule because Britain, as the colonial power, violated the natural rights which the citizens deserved to enjoy.
Another political basis that made the Americans to seek independence was that the English constitutional doctrine also supported the colonists’ action. This was evident when William Blackstone commented on the law of England in 1760s which was called “the law of redress against public oppression” (Littlejohn, 1996). This law justified that the Americans were right in resisting the colonial rule since the constitution of the sovereign states allowed them to do so. This law was provided by the natural law of right of the revolution.
The conditions that prevailed in the colonies during the time of declaration of the independence were quite unbecoming since the thirteen colonies and the Great Britain had been at war for almost a year. Their relationship had deteriorated for about seven years since 1763. This war caused the British government to have a big debt, and this was something that made it to enact several acts to increase the taxes from the colonies so that its revenue would rise (National Archives, 2009). The colonies had developed a different conception for the empire. Therefore, they resisted this move by the parliament. There was resistance by the colonies to pay more taxes to the empire because the colonies were not directly represented in that parliament. Therefore, it had no right to levy taxes upon them.
The concept of “self evident” is one of the famous statements in the American history. The author Thomas Jefferson was one of the educated men during the time of the declaration of independence. He was chosen by the congress to write the declaration of independence of the thirteen states which had decided to disengage themselves from the British Empire. Jefferson is meant to have derived the word “self evident” from the ancient American philosophers such as Wawrzyniec Goslicki a philosopher and write and Phillip Mazzei who was a friend to him. However, the origin of this phrase can be traced from the theory of a Scottish philosopher David Hume. He was also influenced by the works of John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau who viewed the state of nature as a birth right freedom (Shmoop University, 2011).
The self evidence truth that Jefferson meant when he was writing the declarations were that; all people are created equal, these men have unalienable rights and that the people have the mandate of taking action to the government when these rights are violated. This statement used by Jefferson meant the idea of the natural rights, which means these natural rights were taken by the society to be sacred and undeniable (Zuckert, 1987). Therefore, nobody had the mandate to withhold or deny these particular rights to any individual. In any given society, individuals do have different abilities. Therefore, if one has the ability to do something more than the other, it does not mean that he uses his superiority to undermine or intimidate the weaker one. Every person’s rights have to be respected regardless of his incapability. Therefore, in simple terms, Jefferson meant that the British colony was using its supreme power to deny the “self evident” or the sacred undeniable rights which are just a gift from God to Americans.
Unalienable rights are the rights which are just natural in their form; therefore, no other person is supposed to deny these rights or violate these rights of another person Natural rights are also known as inalienable rights and they are taken to be universal and self evident (Zuckert, 1987). The idea of natural rights has a long history, which is rooted to the stoics of the late antiquity with the catholic laws of middle ages through protestant reformation up to current enlightening age. This idea was emphasized by John Locke, a social contract thinker, in his social contract theory. He postulated that man’s natural rights were life, liberty and property. His views really influence and provoked the Americans to stand up and form a revolution war against the British rule. Examples of such rights are rights to life, liberty and happiness (Littlejohn, 1996). One is not supposed to take away the life, liberty or happiness of another person. However, from the look of the things, the Great Britain, as a colonial power, had violated these rights. This concept of unalienable rights is based on the natural law, and these are laws that are dictated by nature.
There are other unalienable rights which the Americans claimed to have been denied by the British colonies apart from life, liberty and happiness. These rights were, right to justice where the King had obstructed the administration of justice by refusing his assent to laws to put up the judiciary powers (Hancock, 2011). Right to representation was also denied, where the Americans had no representative in the parliament. They had been also denied the right of movement where the King obstructed the people of America from migration. All these rights meant the Americans to become furious with the rule of the British Empire and wanted to get their independence so as they may live their life as any other men and as per the laws of nature.
Both the natural and the statutory laws state that the government has the responsibility of protecting its people. It should ensure that all the rights that are endowed to the people are not violated by anybody. This responsibility of the government gives it the power to sue anybody who goes against the stated laws. It also affects the process of the government since the government has to put the judicial structures .These structures are the ones to be responsible with dealing with cases arising from this issue of violating the natural rights.
In conclusion, there were several factors that contributed to the declaration of independence by the British American colonies. The factors mainly stemmed from the violation of both the natural and the constitutional laws. The British colonial power found itself in despair when the colonies decided that they were disengaging from it because of the oppression it was causing on their citizens. The British colonial power was in a state of dilemma since both the natural law and the English constitution legally supported the revolution. Later on in 1776, the thirteen colonies signed the declaration of independence from the British Empire.