To begin with, five assigned readings are incredibly valuable to get the origins and the background of American revolution. It is well known fact that the Freedom of America is based on philosophy, with civil disobedience as the central standpoint. Frankly, five analyzed historical documents can be treated as the map of American rebellion, just from its start. The growth of revolutionary moods and strengthening of independence ideacorresponds the chronology of Acts’ adoption and Paine’s work release:
- The Declaration of Rights of the Stamp Act;
- Declaration and Resolves of the First Continental Congress;
- Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms;
- Thomas Paine Common Sense Act;
- Resolution for Independence.
In this regard, all of five documents are similar with its primary nature – disobedience to civil oppression. However, there are still significant differences between them. Except main messages, these differences are mostly traced with tone and condor that were used to bring the message to the consignee. The temper of each work is helpful to notice the changes of American patriotic views, and colonies’ relationship to Britain authorities during the decade. The first two, “The Declaration of Rights of the Stamp Act” and “Declaration and Resolves of the First Continental Congress”, might be treated as the diplomatic petitions within the legal framework.
It’s important that both of them mostly contain references to British Constitution as the ground to explain own views against discriminative tax policy and other socially-economic burdens. At the same time, two Acts are featured with some kind of sympathy to British Empire: “The members of this congress, sincerely devoted with the warmest sentiments of affection and duty to His Majesty’s person and Government”; “To these grievous acts and measures, Americans cannot submit, but in hopes their fellow subjects in Great Britain will, on a revision of them, restore us to that state, in which both countries found happiness and prosperity, we have for the present”.As the history shows, this approach did not found adequate response from Britain’s monarchy.
It seems that “Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms” became the breaking point in American rebellion history. This Act became middle ground between open confrontation and diplomatic disagreement that was used earlier. In this regard, the crucial message is brought with the next quote: “We fight not for glory or for conquest. We exhibit to mankind the remarkable spectacle of a people attacked by unprovoked enemies, without any imputation or even suspicion of offence. They boast of their privileges and civilization, and yet proffer no milder conditions than servitude or death”. In this part, readers are able to notice indirect reference to irreplaceable natural rights of humans as the basis of society’s structure. This idea had core meaning for next twodocuments, that in difference to previous three are featured with direct and unhidden revolutionary sympathies.
Being similar with theirs’ messages and ideas, “Thomas Paine Common Sense Act” and “Resolution for Independence” are different with the nature. The Resolution became the first official Act, where it was stated that “that United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be totally dissolved”. In tis turn, Paine’s work was a kind of popular-scientific research that had propaganda purpose. However, this work became unprecedented with the impact to strength the idea of colonies’ independence.
To sum up, all of five works had critical meaning for American history. Probably, it is better to say that they captured critical times in American history. The times when the humanity witnessed unprecedented rebellion of democratic and liberal values against oppression and tyranny.
Declaration and Resolves of the First Continental Congress. Web 11February2012. http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/resolves.asp
Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking up Arms. Web 11 February 2012. http://www.nationalcenter.org/1775DeclarationofArms.html
Paine, Thomas. Common Sense.Web. 11 February 2012. http://www.earlyamerica.com/earlyamerica/milestones/commonsense/text.html
Resolution for Independence.Web. 11 February 2012. http://www.lexrex.com/enlightened/laws/resolvefree.htm
The Declaration of Rights of the Stamp Act Congress.Web. 11 February 2012. http://www.nhinet.org/ccs/docs/st-act-c.htm