Essay On The Declaration Of Independence
Between the American colonies and Britain specifically, if the British government fails to protect the absolute rights of the colonists by denying them life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness, then the British government has breeched its social contract and the consent of the colonies to be governed by Britain may be withdrawn.
Once colonial consent to be governed by the British is withdrawn, that government can be replaced.
I agree with the concept of natural law, that human beings are possessed of certain fundamental rights.
So the question is, to what degree must a government fail in its obligation to society for society to reject that govenment, and the answer to that question is open to debate.The Declaration of Independence acknowledges, however, that a government should not be replaced "for light and transient causes." As such, the Declaration proceeds with a list wrongs which act as evidence of Britain's breech of contract with the colonies and their justification for withdrawing consent to be governed by Britain.While all of the colonial complaints and charges may well have been true, the British government, of course, did not agree with the premises cited in the Declaration.If we accept that government should not be replaced for "light and transient causes," what standard should be used? Without delving into all the specific colonial complaints outlined in the Declaration against the British government, I think they fall short as a justification for treason.I can't help but wonder if the colonies would have been so quick to revolt had Britain simply not imposed a few annoying taxes.
The colonists, however, having concluded that their absolute rights were self-evident and therefore not negotiable, came to a practical and philosophical impasse with the British government.