Thursday, September 21, 2017

Independence by J. T.

  1. In Dr. Joanne Freedman’s lecture, Independence, Freeman explains that The Declaration of Independence was an expression of the American Mind. Freeman argues that Independence was not the sole purpose of The Declaration of Independence; the purpose was to disclose the charges made against the king. Joanne explains that before The Declaration of Independence, there was a lot of talk about the ideas of Independence, from Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, to each individual colony writing their own declaration of Independence. Freeman provided evidence of events, from The Olive Branch Petition; which was asking the king for reconciliation, to the Prohibitory Act. Dr. Joanne also provided quotes from the American colonist about their opinions on separating from the king, and their ideas to form a new government.

  1. The purpose of Freeman’s lecture is to acknowledge that The Declaration of Independence was not just about the rights of the colonist, and independence was not a spur of the moment idea, it was talked about all over the colonies, from the ordinary citizens of the colonies to the continental congress. In Joanne’s lecture we heard the voice of the American colonist, we also heard the voices of the inhabitants of the colonies. Joanne quoted, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. Joanne did express how the colonist felt in reaction to the king’s prohibitory act, but the king’s voice was missing in this account. The voice of women was missing, and the voice of  slaves was missing.   

  1. In class we discussed, that the purpose of The Declaration of Independence was to let other countries, like Spain and France know that the 13 colonies were Independent from England. This document was also to draw charges against the king, for mistreatment, and for misrepresentation. We also discussed that the king had practically disowned the colonist. And because England wasn’t governing them anymore, the colonies had to come up with their own form of government, which resulted in writing The Declaration of Independence. In class we also read over Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, where we got an understanding of the first idea’s of independence. Paine claimed that the king, and Britain were using and mistreating the colonies. Paine argued, that the colonist should end their ties with England and become their own Independent states.  

  1. One of the historical questions we addressed in class was, why slavery was left out in The Declaration of Independence. When Jefferson had first drafted The Declaration of Independence, he mentioned that slavery was the king’s fault and made several charges blaming the king for slavery and for attempting to free the slaves. In class we drew conclusions about the south and how southerners didn’t want the mention of slaves to be in the document. In class we discussed, how slaves were given freedom if they ran away and survived the war fighting in the british army. In our class discussion we talked about the accounts between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams about writing the draft of The Declaration of Independence. John Adams believed he was obnoxious and not as popular as Jefferson. We discussed that because John Adams was from MA, the people in the colonies wouldn’t appreciate him writing the document opposed to Jefferson who was from Virginia and a better writer.

  1. A few questions that still leave me pondering are, What was it like for the soldiers fighting in the war, who knew they could lose everything? What struggles did the ordinary people of the colonies go through during the war, and What was it like for a slave to be enslaved during this time of revolution and a fight for American Independence?