Declaration of Independence- Constitution

Introduction

King George III was in charge of the British Monarch when Britain’s power was unmatched (Brooke, 1972). New lands were discovered and the empire set up colonies virtually everywhere in the world. Thomas Jefferson in making the case for American independence listed a number of abuses by the King on the colonies that he believed gave impetus to the struggle for American independence (Bernsten, 2005, p. 78).

Jefferson said that the abuses had been aimed at the colonies for purposes of establishing tyrannical government in North America. Some of the abuses that King George is accused of committing involve taxation with little representation, the sugar act, the tea act, and the quartering act.

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Abuses

Jefferson listed 27 abuses that the thirteen colonies suffered under the monarchy. The first twelve abuses dealt with the denial of the colonies of the right to establish representative governments. He did so by the rejection of the laws proposed by the colonies.

The king directed the dissolution of colonial bodies of representation and in their place took the ministers. He also increased his meddling in the judicial process as well as the rights of the colonies. He was also accused of exalting the power of the military over civilian besides forcing civilians to support the military (Bernsten, 2005, p. 98).

Thirteen to 22 abuses describe in detail the use of parliament by the King to destroy the colonies’ right to independence. Parliament under the Kings guidance enacted laws that were unfriendly to the colonies according to Jefferson. The taxes levied taxes that discouraged trade, quartered troops, and levied taxes without colonial authority approval. Some of the legislations had taken away judicial freedom and the right to be tried by a jury.

The other five abuses according to Jefferson included the use of military force by the King on the colonies. The King unleashed his army and hired mercenaries on the colonies, destroyed the colonies ships and assets and kidnapped the citizen and forced then to compulsory British military service.

Amendments

In the new republic, the American constitution sought to prevent the occurrence of such acts by pursuing the doctrine of the separation of power. The doctrine advocates for the separation and independence of the legislature, executive judiciary branches of government (Pendergast, et al. 2001, p. 100).

This was done primarily to stop the abuse of power as had been witnessed during King George’s time. The drafters of the constitution envisioned the system as one that would have introduced them necessary checks and balances that were crucial for the prevention of abuse of power.

The first ten amendments addressed the issues that had led to the abused witnessed during King George’s time (Pendergast, et al. 2001, p. 80). These included the freedom of religion, press, assembly, and petition. There was also the right to posse’s arms, lodging soldiers in private homes, resumption of jury trials, reservation of power to the states, no unreasonable search and seizure, no cruel punishment and the enumerated rights.

Role of ethics

The US constitution is hyped as the greatest document that human beings have ever written (Williams, 2004, p. 35). It could not be great were it not for the ethics that governed the process and the people involved. The founding fathers of the nation including Adams and Jefferson were guided by principles that were characterized by selflessness.

Ethics ensured the documents that were drafted were all-encompassing and applied to all of the United States. Ethics also helped in guiding the foundling fathers to avoid the mistakes that had been committed the King.

References

Bernsten, J.T. (2005). Thomas Jefferson. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Brook, J. (1972). King George III. London: McGraw-Hill.

Pendergast et al. (2001). Constitutional Amendments: Amendments 18-26, and the un-ratified amendments. New York: UXL.

Williams, J. K. (2004). The U.S. Constitution. New York: Compass point books.

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