AMERICAN TRADITIONAL LITERATURE 4
ThomasJefferson: The Declaration of Independence
Inthe Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson outlined the thingsthat a large number of Americans believed pertaining to their rights.He stated that people have the right to be free, seek happiness andto live. Individuals have rights that can never be taken away fromthem, and argued that the colonies must be free so as to safeguardthe rights of the colonists. Further, if governments do not safeguardthe citizens’ rights, the later have are entitled to forming a newgovernment (Perkins, 2009). In essence, the colonists are entitled toseparate themselves from the king and establish their own government.
ThomasPaine: Common Sense
ThomasPaine uses the text to argue for the independence of the UnitedStates. Pain starts by distinguishing the society from thegovernment. Government is an institution that is solely aimed atprotecting individuals from their vices, while the society iseverything good and constructive that individuals join together toattain. Governments exist so as to safeguard life, property andliberty, in which case they should be judged based on the extent bywhich they attain these goals. People living together in a certainplace, eventually develop connections to each other making lawsinevitable (Perkins, 2009). In essence, people are happier when theymake the rules that govern them. He refutes the notion that Americahad developed under British rule and states that it has changed andmatured in which case it would develop more on its own than undercolonialism. Further, he states that it is unnatural to have kingsand subjects, as all people were born equal.
BenjaminFranklin: Poor Richard’s Almanac
Thealmanacs were a collection of sayings, a large proportion of whichwere the original thoughts of Benjamin Franklin. He cautionsindividuals against allowing anything to sway them to do anythingthat they know to be wrong so that they can live happily. Further, hestates that drink does not eliminate problems rather it only watersthem. On the same note, he states that being ignorant is not asshameful as being unwilling to learn.
Perkins,G(2009). TheAmerican Tradition in literature,12th ed.New York: McGraw-Hill