Between the American colonies and Britain specifically, if the British government fails to protect the absolute rights of the colonists by denying them life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness, then the British government has breeched its social contract and the consent of the colonies to be governed by Britain may be withdrawn. Once colonial consent to be governed by the British is withdrawn, that government can be replaced.
The Declaration of Independence acknowledges, however, that a government should not be replaced "for light and transient causes." As such, the Declaration proceeds with a list wrongs which act as evidence of Britain's breech of contract with the colonies and their justification for withdrawing consent to be governed by Britain.
While all of the colonial complaints and charges may well have been true, the British government, of course, did not agree with the premises cited in the Declaration. The British government did not recognize that citizens have absolute rights. As such, it did not require consent to govern and could, in fact, govern in whatever manner it saw fit. The colonists, however, having concluded that their absolute rights were self-evident and therefore not negotiable, came to a practical and philosophical impasse with the British government.
Based upon the assumptions, the argument, and the evidence promulgated in the Declaration of Independence, the colonies openly withdrew their consent to be governed by the British and declared themselves "free and independent states" under a newly formed government.
Would I have signed the Declaration of Independence? Do I believe the colonies were justified in breaking from England? This is a very close decision, but I would not have signed the Declaration. I do not, however, argue strongly against those who supported it.
I agree with the concept of natural law, that human beings are possessed of certain fundamental rights. I believe that government should exist for the...
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