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Critical Analysis 2 - Essay Example

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In the Declaration, Jefferson presented American political thought in a concise and clear manner. The document was the instrument for…
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Critical Analysis 2
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Download file to see previous pages Some rationalist ideas and the remnants of Puritan ideas are seen in the Declaration of Independence.
Thesis Statement: The purpose of this paper is explain three examples of Rationalist and remnants of Puritan ideas in the Declaration. Whether Puritan ideas seem to be in conflict with Rationalist elements will be investigated.The works of Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, John Locke and Thomas Hobbes will be referred to.
Rationalism is a philosophic belief in natural rights which is perceived and applied by individuals with the help of reasoning powers (Hill 74). Puritanism, on the other hand, is marked by rigid beliefs on living a pure life devoid of indulgence, and a Christian life in the quest of Godliness and the establishment of the truth of God. The period of Enlightenment (1650 to 1800) believed to be an age of rationalism, evolved from the humanistic changes in religious beliefs of the earlier period and the emergence of puritanism. Puritanism began with Protestant reforms in the early sixteenth century to purify the Church and society of corruption and dogma (Cody & Landlow, 1988). Puritanism was the philosophy of life “which was carried to New England by the first settlers in the early seventeenth century” (Miller & Johnson 1).
Thomas Jefferson’s concept of rationality included the belief in natural rights and an innate moral sense common to all people. One example of rationalist idea in the Declaration is Jefferson’s attack on the practice of slavery in the first draft of the Declaration of Independence. He stated that slavery did not follow the natural law of right to freedom which was a basic human right (Hill 82).
Another example of a rationalist idea is that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” (U.S. History 2009). This should mean equal treatment of Africans with white settlers. However, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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