The topic for this essay contest was, “How Can Americans Maintain the
Spirit of Freedom Enshrined in The Declaration of Independence?”
by Robert Roberson III
West Hernando Christian School
The American spirit is usually something you hear a lot about. America’s sense of pride and nationalism is what in a way makes up the ideals of this country. Some key examples of the American spirit would be when America created its own government, The Constitution. However, one of the earlier examples is The Declaration of Independence. To truly understand how America’s ideals have carried over to today, we must start from one of its points of origin America declaring independence from Britain.
The Declaration was what lead to the Revolutionary War during this era. At the time the 13 colonies that would become America were under the heel of England. England passes many acts on America such as taxes on tea, the Stamp Act that taxed all legal documents and commercial documents, and just about any form of paper. There was also the Quartering Act in which families were forced to house and feed British soldiers. Naturally, this ignited a burning primal fury in Americans! Many people moved to colonies for freedom and opportunity. In the colonies, people had their own lives and developed their own identities. These ideals are relevant to this day.
One of the final straws for colonists was that they had no representation in the British Parliament. This led to statements like “taxation without representation is tyranny.” The parliament kept on passing more acts, similar to the Stamp Act, Tea Act, Quartering Act, etc. These were named the Intolerable Acts. People in the 13 colonies eventually rebelled when more acts were passed as they felt that their voices weren’t heard.
Writers and many radical individuals spread ideas that encouraged the ideals of America starting their own government and separating from England. One example is Thomas Paine’s common sense it advocated for the government over monarchy and coaxed a lot of colonies in joining in the struggle for America’s independence. He directly inspired The Declaration of Independence. Enlightened thinkers like John Locke helped set the tone for the connection between the government and the people, he also talked about natural rights, rights that can’t be taken away. This is one of the ideas that helped create the Bill of Rights. Such a great awakening of ideals bolstered many Americans to fight against England.
When congress met up during the beginning of the already armed conflicts brewing, they had to agree to a mutual decision. And that decision was to procure the Declaration of Independence to Britain. This was put together by a few well-known colonists like Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and the main author of the document Thomas Jefferson. This was the buildup of all the colonies’ grievances and frustration and their burning desire to be independent and rule themselves. These are ideals that led to document make up America’s very foundation.
Now that you know a little about the history of how the Declaration was created let’s talk more about how we can keep those ideals. One of the ways we can keep the spirit alive is by sticking together despite our differences. People united is a powerful thing that is how America gained its freedom. Another form of the American spirit is through our system of government democracy a form that gives the people representation. We have a lot of say in the government through electing members of the government, raising awareness of certain issues through speech, and sometimes protest. If people never banded together, we would probably still be under England’s boot as colonies, we wouldn’t get certain rights and fair treatment. Throughout American history, it is unity that has led to change so we as people shouldn’t let our fears and beliefs of what’s going on in this world divide us. We should never forget what our forefathers fought for, opportunity, freedom, and unity the very thing that started America!