United States Declaration of Independence

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 21 September 2016

United States Declaration of Independence

When asked to symbolize the United States of America with one, solitary document, one might immediately think of the Declaration of Independence. This powerful and sacred document not only represents America, but is also one of main reasons this great country exists. America has prided itself on being the “land of the free;” a place for people to have “unalienable rights,” in which they can pursue “happiness,” and are free from unjust oppression.

Thomas Jefferson created the Declaration of Independence because the founding fathers and he were diligent and determined to obtain America’s freedom, liberty, and independence from Great Britain. Jefferson paved the way for freedom when he wrote this document; however, freedom was not granted to all. One might say that the Declaration of Independence is a very controversial piece of history because it dismisses many different groups from pursing liberty. At that time, white males were the only citizens who were permitted to seek freedom and gain independence.

Women were not integrated in this historical document. Because of their isolation, women endured poor treatment and went through immense difficulties to acquire liberty. In 1848, Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote the Declaration of Sentiments in hopes that the interpretations of the American beliefs of freedom and liberty can change and be reused for different purposes. When Stanton wrote this document, freedom still existed but the idea of it was distinctive from that of Thomas Jefferson and the founding fathers. Independence was the desire to coexist not break away.

While both the Declaration of Independence and the Declaration of Sentiments exhibit the exact same framework and have similar, if not, the exact same language, the Declaration of Sentiments includes a different meaning of freedom, is non-violent, and contains a list of resolutions. While the Declaration of Sentiments and the Declaration of Independence have many similarities, they also have significant differences in meaning. The first sentence in both pieces start out using precise language; however, the two have different requests.

The Declaration of Sentiments is requesting, “a position different” from what has been given to them and are declaring one that they are entitled to by nature and by God. This document is demanding that women have a different role in society that is not separate from men, but that is equal to men. The Declaration of Independence, on the other hand, is requesting a total “separate and equal station” from their current political bands and is declaring to obtain political bands that they are entitled to by nature and by God.

The Declaration of Independence is requesting a total separation from Great Britain so that they can live independently with equal representation in the world. Women were not fighting for self-determination from Britain; they were fighting for freedom in their own country. Because of this, the meaning of freedom was distinctive from that of the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration of Sentiments emphasizes women’s coexistence with men, “evidently her right to participate with her brother. ” This document was created in a different time.

In 1848, the idea of freedom was not the same as it was in 1776 for the founding fathers. Women wanted to live peacefully, but also equally with men. However, in 1776, America and its citizens wanted to live independently from Britain and be seen as an equal country. The Declaration of Independence emphasizes America’s partition from Britain and wanted to “utterly dissolve and break off all political connections” with them. Elizabeth Cady Stanton wanted to gain sympathy and arousal from America, and in order to do this she used similar wording as the Declaration of Independence.

Stanton used one of the most famous and powerful lines from the Declaration of Independence to not only make a statement, but to also show what kind of free will she and her women colleagues wanted. Doing this, she drew connections between women and the rest of American society. The Declaration of Independence contains one of the most influential lines in America’s history: “we hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal. ” To this day, this statement is forever acknowledged throughout the country.

The use of the word “men” emphasizes the equality between the King and white males. The Declaration of Sentiments uses this famous statement and adds, “We hold these truths to be self evident that all men and women are created equal. ” The addition of “women” emphasizes the equality between two groups of people, male and female. Including women into this very profound and significant account changes the way people interpret freedom. Instead of liberty for just one group of people, The Declaration of Sentiments is declaring that women be a part of the freedom as well.

In order for the founding fathers and for Elizabeth Cady Stanton to express why they were requesting freedom, although different from each other, they had to explain the oppression they each endured. The Declaration of Independence outlines, “ the patient sufferance of the colonies,” giving a list of wrong doings the King had done to America. By giving a list of unjust treatment the King had done, America and its citizens felt as though they had a right to live independently from Britain. Using this outline, the Declaration of Sentiments outlines, “ the patient sufferance of women under this government. Instead of listing reasons why the colonies have suffered, Stanton, uses similar wording to show the unreasonable treatment women had faced by their own government in America. By putting this in The Declaration of Sentiments, Stanton highlights that women are actual American citizens who are suffering from horrific treatment by their own country. This exhibits a unique kind of freedom cause that is different from the Declaration of Independence freedom cause. Both documents aim its grievances at two distinctive people; however, the documents use the same word, “He,” to describe this person.

The Declaration of Independence described the King as their oppressor by exclaiming certain judgments such as, “He has refused his assent to laws the most wholesome and necessary for the public good” and “He has obstructed the Administration of Justice. ” The Declaration of Sentiments uses the exact same technique, but the word “He” is not used to address the King; it is used to tackle all men in general, “He has compelled her to submit to laws, in the formation of which she had no voice. ” “He” is used in a similar way, but is evidently describing two different groups of people.

The writers of these documents were concerned with two different kinds of freedom: political freedom and marital freedom. The founding fathers were conscientious and concentrated on America’s political freedom from Great Britain. The Declaration of Independence makes America’s political fight obvious by including proclamations such as, “He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt out towns, and destroyed the lives of our people. ” The fight for political independence is apparent in this one line because it is explaining how Britain is forcibly destroying the United States of America against the citizens will.

While, in the Declaration of Sentiments, the husband is described as the tyrant. This document includes statements such as, “He has made her, if married, in the eyes of the law, civilly dead. ” These two documents were published at exceptionally dissimilar times: times had changed. In 1848, American citizens were no longer being oppressed by Britain and no longer yearning for political freedom; however, they were being oppressed by their husbands and were in desperate search for marital equality.

The use of violence is significantly present in the Declaration of Independence; however, in the Declaration of Sentiments violence is non-existent. The Declaration of Independence contains very explicit and intense language. Even though the Declaration of Sentiments models the Declaration of Independence, Stanton does not contain any violence or threatening assertions. The Declaration of Independence states, “Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it. This strong and threatening statement is replaced by, “it is the right of those who suffer from it to refuse allegiance” in the Declaration of Sentiments. Stanton turns this very aggressive statement into a less intimidating one. Doing this also, concurrently, changes the meaning of freedom. Instead of wanting to break away, the Declaration of Sentiments shows that women want a different kind of liberation. Women did not want to start war, but wanted to raise concern about the treatment they were undergoing. Whereas, the Declaration of Sentiments mentions no act of war or aggression, the Declaration of Independence includes war.

Stanton writes that women, “insist that they have immediate admission to all the rights and privileges as which belong to them as citizens of the United States. ” The Declaration of Sentiments was requesting for women to have the same kind of basic rights that was amongst the population of men. Submissive words such as “insist” illustrates women’s undesired to have vicious confrontation with men. The Declaration of Independence not only contains hostile language but also contains threats of war. “Hold them as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war. Including this statement created a sense of triumph for American citizens. However, the addition of war makes the document much more serious as well.

The Declaration of Independence made it exceedingly well known that America would go to all ends of the Earth to gain emancipation and liberty from Great Britain. America would go to all costs and measures to see independence through. Because of this, the Declaration of Independence has more of an edge than the Declaration of Sentiments. This crucial difference creates a distinctive connotation for the word freedom and illustrates that uring diverse times in history, freedom and all its meanings, can be interpreted in differing ways. Meaning simply this: The Declaration of Independence went to all measures in order for America to be independent and separate from Britain, while the Declaration of Sentiments took a more peaceful approach to gain the same equalities that men had. The final sentences and thoughts to both of these documents are yet another illustration to how the Declaration of Independence and the Declaration of Sentiments hold immense variation.

One can say that the endings are different because the Declaration of Independence uses brutal and threatening language and the Declaration of Sentiments does not; however, the discrepancy comes from how the language and meaning work together to express each groups wants and needs. With the use of violent language, Thomas Jefferson and the founding fathers are conveying their desire and the rest of the country’s desire to end all ties with Britain and to become an independent country, no matter what the cost. That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown. ” This statement is aggressive and because of this, the meaning changes. This is what truly differentiates this document from the Declaration of Sentiments. If the Declaration of Independence contained no violent or aggressive language, it would probably be an entirely different document and would portray an utterly different meaning. The violent language works together with the meaning to convey the important message.

In the final thoughts of the Declaration of Sentiments, Elizabeth Cady Stanton is expressing her wants and her follower’s wants, but with a different approach. Similar to the Declaration of Independence, the Declaration of Sentiments conveys its message by using both language and meaning to express the groups wants and desires. Stanton uses peaceful language to make her and her follower’s ideas visibly understood. In the Declaration of Sentiments, meaning and language worked together to transmit that women wanted equality with men and not separation.

As the Declaration of Independence uses brutality to demonstrate how the citizens of America were going to obtain their requests, the Declaration of Sentiments uses persistence and diligence. “But we shall use every instrumentality within our power to effect our object. We shall employ agents, circulate tracts, petition the State and National legislatures, and endeavor to enlist the pulpit and the press in our behalf. ” This use of language changes the meaning of the message.

If the Declaration of Sentiments used aggression and cruelty, similar to the Declaration of Independence, its message and meaning would probably be exceedingly different from what it was intended to be. One of the most palpable differences between these two documents is that the Declaration of Sentiments includes a list of resolutions, while the Declaration of Independence does not. As each document comes to an end to utter their last and final thoughts, the Declaration of Sentiments goes on to give resolutions to how women’s struggles and poor treatment can be settled.

The fact that this document was emphasizing coexistence with men and not separation from men, the addition of these resolutions simply exemplifies how this very act of living humanely together can become a reality. There were several resolutions in this document including, “Resolved, That women is man’s equal-was intended to be so by the Creator, and the highest good of the race demands that she should be recognized as such. ” The inclusion of these resolutions embodies the documents meaning even further. Although, the Declaration of Independence does not include a list of resolutions, its resolution is clearly stated in the final paragraph.

Thomas Jefferson and the founding fathers were fighting for separation from Britain, not for equality with Britain. Because of this, the only “resolution” for the Declaration of Independence was this, “That all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved. ” Although, the Thomas Jefferson did not include this statement into a list of resolutions, he didn’t have to because it was already perfectly written in the conclusion. Stanton wrote a list of resolution because women were not fighting to gain specific rights.

Women wanted equality in every sense of the word. In order to make it absolutely evident which equalities women desired, the list of resolutions did the job. In conclusion, as historical times change, interpretations of freedom and equality change as well. Freedom and equality will always be freedom and equality but even so, are left open to different interpretations for many unique groups of people. Even though, the Declaration of Sentiments uses the exact same framework and includes similar language to the Declaration of Independence, the Declaration of Sentiments expresses a diverse idea of reedom, uses a different method of expression, and contains a list of resolutions. During 1776, America was enduring great oppression under a King who lived thousands of miles away, which led Thomas Jefferson and the founding fathers to long for independence from Great Britain. During 1848, women were facing unjust treatment from their fellow citizens, which caused Elizabeth Cady Stanton and her follower’s to desire the same equalities as men. Because each group voiced distinct ideas of independence, each document presented their argument in a different way.

Thomas Jefferson used vehement language with his desire to break away from Britain to construct his message, while Elizabeth Cady Stanton used persistent and non-violent language, together with her aspiration for equality, to make her message clear. The Declaration of Sentiments includes a list of resolutions as well. These resolutions explicitly clarify exactly what kinds of rights women longed for. The Declaration of Independence and the Declaration of Sentiments are truly important pieces of American history, in which their distinct differences portray a dissimilar freedom cause and origin.


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  • University/College: University of California

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 21 September 2016

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