Declaration of Independence | Primary Source Essentials
How does the Declaration of Independence support the principles of individual liberty and self-government? In this rapid-fire episode of BRI’s Primary Source Essentials and Declaration of Independence summary, learn the arguments made by the American colonists as they sought to free themselves of British control.
Declaration of Independence
On June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee brought what came to be called the Lee Resolution before the Continental Congress. This resolution stated “these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states ...” Congress debated independence for several days.
Rights and the Declaration of Independence
The Declaration of Independence, based in part on the philosophy of John Locke, was an "expression of the American mind". Going back to Magna Carta, British nobles had petitioned the monarch demanding limits to his power. But Locke argues and the Declaration of Independence asserts that legitimate government is based on the consent of the governed. Locke's ideas were too democratic, too revolutionary for his time in England, but a century later they had a firm hold in the American colonies, and in 1776 they were the basis of the original and most fundamental American statement of rights, the Declaration of Independence.