Essay on Thomas Jefferson And The Declaration Of Independence

1219 Words Jul 1st, 2015 null Page
Thomas Jefferson, along with the second Continental Congress, used great care to ensure that both words and the ideas professed in the Declaration of Independence were precise and symbolic. Upon examination of the list of King George III’s grievances committed against the American colonies appears the term “our constitution.” The reference to “our constitution” is not to a singular written constitution as it may be understood today; it is much more complex. The Continental Congress’ reference to “our constitution” denotes the American interpretation of an assemblage of principles, customs, laws, both common and natural, and precedents blending ideas from their mother country, classical Republicanism, European Enlightenment, and Protestant Christianity; made of written and understood ideals it reflected America’s understanding that government is based on the consent of the governed and should be limited in a way to protect the rights of its people.
As of early July 1776, America had not yet written a unified plan for government, or a singular constitution. However, there was a clear consensus of what government ought and ought not to be. Most of the individual colonists drew their understanding of constitution from the English constitution as described in Herman Belz’s Constitutionalism and the American Founding. Belz quotes Lord Bolingbroke, “by constitution we mean… that assemblage of laws, institutions and customs, derived from certain fixed principles of reason,…

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