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POLI 325D1 (17)
Lecture 4

Lecture 4- Declaration of Independence.pdf

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McGill University
Political Science
POLI 325D1
Harold Waller

Colonial AmericaAm inherited some of the landmark developments in pol thinking from Britainie Magna Carta 1215ie Habeas Corpus Act 1679ie Bill of Rights 1689tradition of common lawprecedents set by English jurists notion of individuals and their rightsbecame one of the corner stones for Am systemMayflower Compact agreement by Pilgrims completed while on the Mayflowerset out some of the principles by which they would govern themselves once they landedexpressed desire to live under the rule of law decided by the people 13 Colonies life3 kinds of colonies at the time1 royal colonies8 of thesegovernor appointed by the king laws had to be approved by the king2 proprietary colonies3 of theseking had granted to a proprietor the ability to choose the governor with the approval of the king3 charter colonies2 of these more selfgovtRhode Island and Connecticutfreelyelected legislatures which chose the governorslaws could not be vetoed by the king this was not popular democracycolonial experience provided the institutional foundation for the Republic after 1776Revolution and Declarationppl of the 13 Colonies began to cooperate in ways they had not in earlier years 177475 establishment of the Continental Congressbrought together reps from all the coloniesSpring 1776 relationships with Br deteriorateddecided it was time to move towards independence no proposal for referendumappointed committee of the congress to draft a constitutionheaded by Jeffersonmain elements of the Declaration of Independence1 equalityall men are created equal endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights2 natural rights adheres to an individual and transcends anything a government might dogovt cannot give or take away these rights3 purpose of govtto ensure and protect these rights4 consentconsent of the governed to the leadership and to govt 5 right of revolutionif a govt is subverting natural rights and not ruling with the consent of the governed the ppl have the right and responsibility to overthrow this govt and start anew other points in the Declarationdiscerning the notion of equality creator with a capital C clearly invokes Godlife liberty pursuit of happiness we hold these truths to be selfevidentdont have to explain where these principles come frombut these were radical ideas in this time frame bill of particularsconclusion not the governing document of Am politics purely to justify revolution and stimulate ppl to join the cause of revoltif you declare independence you must be able to justify itwhen a long train of uses and abusesit is their right it is their duty to throw off such govt and provided new guards for their future and security invokes the word tyrannyarbitrary rule absolute rule encapsulated the evils that govt might get into strong denunciation of the king not of parl free and independent states not countrythe states will remain sovereig
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