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  • English III Period 2: Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of Sentiments mimics the style used in the Declaration of Independence to highlight the fact that women are American citizens.

Rhetorical analysis of the Declaration of Independence

SparkNotes: The Declaration of Independence (1776): …

The Declaration of Sentiments was written during a time when freedom meant equality among genders.
On July 9 the action of Congress was officiallyapproved by the New York Convention. All 13 colonies had nowsignified their approval. On July 19 therefore,Congress was able to order that the Declaration be "fairlyengrossed on parchment, with the title and stile [sic] of 'Theunanimous declaration of the thirteen United States of America,'and that the same, when engrossed, be signed by every member ofCongress."

The Declaration of Independence: an analysis of the …

(A critique of the slave trade was removed.) Here is the Declaration with line breaks where Jefferson divided it.
Locke claims that legitimate government is based on the idea ofseparation of powers. First and foremost of these is the legislativepower. Locke describes the legislative power as supreme (TwoTreatises 2.149) in having ultimate authority over “how theforce for the commonwealth shall be employed” (2.143). Thelegislature is still bound by the law of nature and much of what itdoes is set down laws that further the goals of natural law andspecify appropriate punishments for them (2.135). The executive poweris then charged with enforcing the law as it is applied in specificcases. Interestingly, Locke’s third power is called the“federative power” and it consists of the right to actinternationally according to the law of nature. Since countries arestill in the state of nature with respect to each other, they mustfollow the dictates of natural law and can punish one another forviolations of that law in order to protect the rights of theircitizens.


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The Declaration of Independence was written during a time when freedom meant political justice and insubordination to the British King.
The concept of an “appeal to heaven” is an importantconcept in Locke’s thought. Locke assumes that people, when theyleave the state of nature, create a government with some sort ofconstitution that specifies which entities are entitled to exercisewhich powers. Locke also assumes that these powers will be used toprotect the rights of the people and to promote the public good. Incases where there is a dispute between the people and the governmentabout whether the government is fulfilling its obligations, there isno higher human authority to which one can appeal. The only appealleft, for Locke, is the appeal to God. The “appeal toheaven,” therefore, involves taking up arms against youropponent and letting God judge who is in the right.

Locke believed that it was important that the legislative powercontain an assembly of elected representatives, but as we have seenthe legislative power could contain monarchical and aristocraticelements as well. Locke believed the people had the freedom to created“mixed” constitutions that utilize all of these. For thatreason, Locke’s theory of separation of powers does not dictateone particular type of constitution and does not preclude unelectedofficials from having part of the legislative power. Locke was moreconcerned that the people have representatives with sufficient powerto block attacks on their liberty and attempts to tax them withoutjustification. This is important because Locke also affirms that thecommunity remains the real supreme power throughout. The people retainthe right to “remove or alter” the legislative power(Two Treatises 2.149). This can happen for a variety ofreasons. The entire society can be dissolved by a successful foreigninvasion (2.211), but Locke is more interested in describing theoccasions when the people take power back from the government to whichthey have entrusted it. If the rule of law is ignored, if therepresentatives of the people are prevented from assembling, if themechanisms of election are altered without popular consent, or if thepeople are handed over to a foreign power, then they can take backtheir original authority and overthrow the government(2.212–17). They can also rebel if the government attempts totake away their rights (2.222). Locke thinks this is justifiable sinceoppressed people will likely rebel anyway and those who are notoppressed will be unlikely to rebel. Moreover, the threat of possiblerebellion makes tyranny less likely to start with (2.224–6). Forall these reasons, while there are a variety of legitimateconstitutional forms, the delegation of power under any constitutionis understood to be conditional.

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Locke talks both of retribution and of punishing only for reparationand restraint. Simmons argues that this is evidence that Locke iscombining both rationales for punishment in his theory. A survey ofother seventeenth-century natural rights justifications forpunishment, however, indicates that it was common to use words like“retribute” in theories that reject what we would todaycall retributive punishment. In the passage quoted above, Locke issaying that the proper amount of punishment is the amount that willprovide restitution to injured parties, protect the public, and deterfuture crime. Locke’s attitude toward punishment in his otherwritings on toleration, education, and religion consistently followsthis path toward justifying punishment on grounds other thanretribution. Tuckness claims that Locke's emphasis on restitution isinteresting because restitution is backward looking in a sense (itseeks to restore an earlier state of affairs) but also forward lookingin that it provides tangible benefits to those who receive therestitution. There is a link here between Locke’s understandingof natural punishment and his understanding of legitimate statepunishment. Even in the state of nature, a primary justification forpunishment is that it helps further the positive goal of preservinghuman life and human property. The emphasis on deterrence, publicsafety, and restitution in punishments administered by the governmentmirrors this emphasis.

The demarcation of the Declaration of Independence was first ..

Locke realized that the crucial objection to allowing people to act asjudges with power to punish in the state of nature was that suchpeople would end up being judges in their own cases. Locke readilyadmitted that this was a serious inconvenience and a primary reasonfor leaving the state of nature (Two Treatises 2.13). Lockeinsisted on this point because it helped explain the transition intocivil society. Locke thought that in the state of nature men had aliberty to engage in “innocent delights” (actions that arenot a violation of any applicable laws), to seek their ownpreservation within the limits of natural law, and to punishviolations of natural law. The power to seek one’s preservationis limited in civil society by the law and the power to punish istransferred to the government. (128–130). The power to punish inthe state of nature is thus the foundation for the right ofgovernments to use coercive force.