The Enlightenment andtheDeclarationofIndependence
The “Enlightenment”, a period in Europe in the 17thand 18thcenturies saw the development of new ideas about the rights of people and their relationship to their rulers.John Locke was an Enlightenment philosopher whose ideas, more than any other’s influenced the American belief in self-government.
All people are free,equal, and have “naturalrights” of life, liberty,and property that rulerscannot take away.
All original power resides in the people, and they consent to enter into a “social contract” among themselves to form a government to protect their rights. In return, thePeople promise to obey the laws and rules established by their government, establishing a system of “ordered liberty.”
Government’s powers are limited to those the people have consented to give to it. Whenever government becomes a threat to the people’s natural rights, it breaks the social contract, and the people have the right to alter or overthrow it.
IDEAS OF JOHN LOCKE
English immigrant to AmericaWrote influential pamphlet,Common SenseChallenged the rule of the American colonies by the King of England.Common Sensewas read and acclaimed by many American colonists and contributed to the idea of independence from Great Britain.
“We hold these truths to beself-evident thatall men are created equal, that theywereendowed by their Creatorwith certainunalienable Rights , that amongtheseare Life, Liberty, and the pursuit ofHappiness.”
“That to secure these rights,Governments are institutedamong Men, deriving their just powersfrom Theconsent of the governed.”
“That whenever any Form of Government becomesDestructive of these ends,it is the Right of thePeople Toalter or abolish it, and to institute new Government….”
THOMAS JEFFERSON AND THEDECLARATION Of INDEPENDENCE
The Declaration of Independence
The Key Ideas
The key principles of the Declaration of Independence increased political, socialand Economicparticipation in the American experience over a period of time.
Political Participation(equality)Extending thefranchise (vote)Upholding due process of lawProviding free public education
Social Participation(liberty)Abolishing slaveryExtending civil rights to womenandother groups
Economic Participation(pursuit of happiness)Regulate the free enterprise systemPromote economic opportunityProtecting property rights