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Declaration of Independence is a historical document that marked founding of a new country, which would use the best patterns of democracy in its structure. This text is not merely a manifesto that was proclaimed but a guideline for the United States to live up to, which was used for the next centuries. It is crucial for today’s generation to go back and recollect the values that were declared in the document, as today’s chaotic world and high pace of living makes people forget about their ideals.
According to the Declaration of Independence of July 4th, 1776, some basic political principles were stated. First of all, it was declared that while all people have rights that are unalienable, governments are created to protect these rights. If there is a situation when a government does not protect these rights, or moreover, when it is destructive, people have the right to establish a new government. Hence, because the British Empire had been aggressive to the colonies, which broke the declared rights, it was quite natural to stop indulging the British government’s needs. Such accusations against the monarchy were named as improper taxation, hampering of legislative and judicial bodies, repression and tyranny. Thus, this justification was used in order to explain the reason of Declaration of Independence.
Although Declaration of Independence considers some rights unalienable such as “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”, it is worth saying that there are other inalienable rights, which were not taken into account in the early stage of the American democracy. Thus, equality is one of the values and rights that should be indispensable but it was not always so in the history of the United States. Although formal abolishment of slavery was implemented, racial inequality lasted for a long time until in the 1960s a movement for equality arose. The same can be applied to gender, sexual orientation, religion, etc. I believe that tolerance to other people is a sign of respect for ourselves, too. So, equal treatment in every aspect of personal and social life is one of those rights, which should be inalienable in a democratic country.
Speaking about the Bill of Rights, it is worth paying attention at a selection of rights that it has. It obvious that while most rights are essential even now, this document is historically determined, too: some of the enlisted sections are no longer so critical today. Speaking about our time, I believe that the first paragraph, which includes such rights is Freedom of Speech, Press, Religion and Petition are a crucial today because it expresses the core values on which the United States are built. If it were not for this first paragraph, the rest ones would not matter because they country would never be what it is. Some other points like, for instance, wearing guns or protection against cruel punishment, were included because they were topical at the moment. Today the license to wear guns is an issue of debate, while cruel punishment is not a major judicial problem.
It is a well-known fact that the newly founded United States took an example of the French republic to create a similar political system. Declaration of the Rights of Man & Citizen (1789) is one of the documents, which served as a basis when drafting the Bill of Rights. While the both documents focus on such values as freedom of speech and justice in courts, there are significant differences between them. It is easy to notice that the French document was still a more liberal one, as it included such statement as the initial one: “Men are born and remain free and equal in rights. Social distinctions may be founded only upon the general good” As has been mentioned before, because of slavery and racial discrimination this claim could not be repeated in the Bill of Rights. Besides, the political stages of democratic development were different in the United States and France. While France’s political system was quite mature and civilized, the United States were a young and “wild” democracy, that was in the initial stage of a long way to maturing. This is why such points as wearing of guns appeared to be more important at the moment than social duties. At the same time, there are some similarities between the French document and the Declaration of Independence regarding the purpose of government and the role of citizens in ruling society. Speaking about The Declaration of the Rights of Woman (September 1791), it actually repeats the most text of Declaration of the Rights of Man & Citizen (1789), but adding an aspect of women’s equality to men, as it was, in fact, the feminist answer to the former document. As for the United States, the theme of feminism arose later in history, so female rights are not mentioned in any of the manifestos.
Overall, the United States passed the trial of time and became a maturely democratic country. Most of the rights declared in the Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence have been successfully implemented. However, while the political system has become quite stable, there is not so much space for the citizens to influence decisions taken by President and the Senate. Even though it is claimed that the role of authorities is to serve the common good, it has not always been this way. For instance, participation in military operations, and especially initiation of military operations, has not been the best illustration of the alignment with the declared values.