The Declaration of Independence has been described as “The Most Important Document in Human History” by many European scholars. Why exactly is this piece of writing so revolutionary?
The Declaration of Independence not only represents a historical milestone for America as a country free of England, but it is also considered the document that expresses the democratic American spirit. The document that Thomas Jefferson wrote shows the journey that the colonies have taken. The center section of the Declaration of Independence lists the abuses of power that the England monarchies and Parliament are taking. It challenges the accepted structures of inequality that most of mankind was previously used to, which in itself is Revolutionary.
For centuries, humans have lived in governments with highly flawed structure, where economic and political power were based on birth rights. In the English Constitution, for example, it says the royal family has a God-given gift of leadership. However, commoners are also responsible for checking the monarchy. Why would a God-blessed person need to be checked? And even when the commoners do have something to say, their opinions are not valued at all. This makes it impossible to have a working system of checks and balances, and us Americans recognized this.
Thomas Jefferson challenged the idea that, as one aristocrat put it, “Some men are born to rule and some to be ruled.” Jefferson said, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
The Declaration says that every man, no matter what race, gender, or social status, is equal, and all deserve to have a say in government. We are not subjects who live to serve a higher power. We are citizens with unalienable rights, including the freedom of having a say in government. The fact that this is not a common idea makes the Declaration revolutionary.