The document first lists the reasons for writing the Declaration.
Protection of Natural Rights
If a government fails to protect people’s rights, the people have a right to reject it, and create another.
Grievances Against the King
King George has violated colonists rights and ignored their petitions.
Therefore, the colonies declare their independence from Great Britain.
The Declaration of Independence has four parts: the preamble, the Declaration of Natural Rights, the List of Grievances, and the Resolution of Independence. The Preamble states why the Declaration was written. The document will explain to the world the reasons why the colonists feel impelled, or forced, to separate from Great Britain.
People set up governments to protect their basic rights. These rights are unalienable; they cannot be taken away. The purpose of government is to protect these natural rights. When a government does not protect the rights of the people, the people must change the government or create a new one. The colonists feel that th3e King’s repeated usurpations, or unjust uses of power, are a form of despotism, or tyranny, that has denied them their basic rights.
The List of Grievances details the colonists’ complaints against the British government, and King George III in particular. The colonist have no say in determining the laws that govern them and they feel King George’s actions show little or no concern for the well being of the people.
The colonist refuse to relinquish, or give up, the right to representation, which they feel is inestimable, or priceless.
The king has refused to allow new legislators to be elected. As a result, the colonies have not been able to protect themselves against foreign enemies and convulsions, or riots, within the colonies.
The king has tried to stop foreigners from coming to the colonies by refusing to pass naturalization laws. Laws for naturalization of foreigners are laws that set up the process for foreigners to become legal citizens.
The king alone has decided a judge’s tenure, or term. This grievance later would result in Article 3, Section 1, of Constitution, which states that federal judges hold office for life.
Forced by the king, the colonists have been quartering, or lodging, troops in their homes. This grievance found its way into the Constitution in the Third Amendment.
The king has taken away the rights of the people in a nearby province (Canada). The colonists feared he could do the same to the colonies if he so wished.
The king has hired foreign mercenaries, or soldiers, to bring death and destruction to the colonists. The head of a civilized country should never act with the cruelty and perfidy, or dishonesty that the king has.
The colonists have tried repeatedly to petition the king to redress,or correct, these wrongs. Each time, they have been ignored by the king or punished by new laws. Because of the way he treats his subjects, the king is not fit to rule a free people.
The colonists have appealed to the British people. They have asked their fellow British subjects to support them. However, like the king, the British people have ignored the colonists’ requests.
The Resolution of Independence boldly asserts that the colonies are now “free and independent states.” The colonists have proven the rectitude, or justness, of their cause. The Declaration concludes by stating that these new states have the power to rage war, establish alliances, and trade with other countries.