Discussion 1

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Discussion Question – Discuss the “self-evident” truths upheld in the Declaration of Independence and the “unalienable Rights” and how they set in motion the various movements to follow in the history of America’s journey toward true democracy.

peer review 1
Before the Declaration of Independence the King of Great Britain had an absolute Tyranny over the States. In The Declaration of Independence which was drafted in 1776 by Thomas Jefferson all of these injustices were addressed and to be denounced. Thomas Jefferson expressed the thoughts of the American minds as stated in our readings. 
The self-evident truths are: men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights. Among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.  It is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government to affect their Safety and Happiness. Until this point the King of Great Britain had a history of repeated injuries and usurpations. 
Many facts were submitted to a candid world. One of those rights was the Rights of Women. Women were basically second class citizens. Rules of profession, voice of women in government, owning property, education and even self-respect made a woman willing to lead a dependent and a life without pride. Even with this in the declaration the situation did not change until the year of the international revolution. July 13, 1848 four women announced a convention to address women’s rights. The 1776 Declaration was read. These women made additions to the preamble with matter of fact points and solutions. All men and women are created equal is one of the self-evident truths.
Throughout our history prudence will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes as stated in our readings. It is our duty as citizens to hold the truths of the Declaration and our government accountable. 
The Declaration of Independence paved the way for many changes in our history. Throughout the years we have many people to thank for being persistent in what is rightfully ours. These people have given us in America the freedoms that we all enjoy and should hold dear and sacred. 
Reference
Zinn, Z. T. (2008). American Protest Literature. First Harvard University Press.

peer review 2
It appears to me that the self evident truths and unalienable rights were both thorough but incredibly vague. Apart from being straightforward with “all men are created equal”, which in itself was not completely universal, I can see how several movements were backed on the protester’s interpretation of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”. Just as long as they stood on an issue and could justify it as something falling under those “rights”, along with the desire to be on the right side of history, they could make a argument for their case. Not only that but in the Declaration of independence it does state ” that to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among men” so it is a government’s duty to uphold and protect those rights. It also states that “any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it”.
One could say that the founding fathers, specifically Thomas Jefferson, were leaving that to be interpreted as an invitation for reform and progress. As such I can also see why there could be an instant, if not inevitable, clash in that interpretation. Especially with the “pursuit of happiness”. What if my pursuit of happiness causes someone else to be unhappy? What if my pursuit disrupts someone else’s pursuit? Who gets the priority to go ahead of the other? You have the right to persuit but is actually obtaining happiness a right? And at what point does the appointed government intercept? Should that be an extension of their power? All that is constantly under debate one way or another. Life and liberty appear to me as almost tokens nowadays. You have the right go be alive, appealing to a higher power perhaps. And liberty? You have the right to freedom, with limits. Of course, at that time, those two rights were demanded in response to the struggles of the colonies under British rule.

Zinn, Z. T. (2006). American Protest Literature. Harvard University Press.

– Diana Ramirez

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