Here is a brief video seminar that helps us to understand “nine key concepts everyone should know” about the Declaration of Independence.
Craig Seibert does the teaching, and shares that the nine key concepts can be grouped under three more broad categories:
1. Understanding the basic structure
2. Understanding the 7 component parts
3. Understanding that the Declaration and the U.S. Constitution work together
1. On Understanding the Basic Structure, Seibert points out that there are about 400 words that really set forth the basic principles found in the Declaration. The 400 words are found at the beginning and the end of the document. There are another 1000 words in between the opening and closing sections that detail the abuses of King George III of England that led Americans to declare their independence.
2. Understanding the 7 component parts of the Declaration:
- The reason for the Declaration – opening sentence
- The self-evident truths – second sentence (All men are created equal; People are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; Among those rights are the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.)
- The purpose of government – third sentence (Government exists to secure those rights)
- Reasons for abolishing or altering a form of government – fourth sentence (whenever government becomes destructive of these ends; fails to secure the self-evident truths)
- List of Grievances – over 1000 words – forms the large middle section of the Declaration. The section mentions 25 abuses by England under King George III against the colonies that justified the declaring of independence. The abuses included: Unfair taxation, cutting off trade, abolishing good and helpful laws, making arbitrary laws himself, creating new departments of government designed to harass the people, depriving colonists of trial by jury, protecting his own people that were murders, attempting to establish military rule, hiring mercenaries to kill or harass colonists, capturing and forcing colonists to fight against their fellow colonists or be killed, fostering domestic uprisings in the colonies, disallowing or not hearing any appeals for justice.
- The Declaration Statement
- Rights of United Sovereign States are set forth – (1) All political connection with Great Britain dissolved (2) Declare that the “free and independent States” have the power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce. (3) Affirms that the States can do all other acts and things that independent states do.
- The Pledges – they pledged reliance on God (Divine Providence), and they pledged to each other their “lives, fortunes, and sacred honor”.
3. The Declaration and the U.S. Constitution work together
What a great, brief teaching on the Declaration of Independence. As Seibert says in the video, just by watching this, you now know more about the Declaration of Independence than 90% of Americans.