The drafters of The Declaration of Independence had several influences in writing this document; including political history influences, cultural influences, economical influences, religious influences, and philosophical influences. All of these components can be seen in the writing of this historical document as well. Just by living in this time, a huge cultural influence from Great Britain was created, the philosophers in that time influenced what our founding fathers believed, the egotism in the monarchy took part in influencing the political history, not being free to be who a person was had religious influence, and the inability to advance in personal growth played an economical role.
Political history influences came from disagreements with the King of Great Britain. “The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these States. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.” This is where they list all the wrong-doings of the King to back-up their statement. The power switching from the monarch to Parliament is another influence, after parliament, the speculative power was not challenged.
The philosophical influences came mostly from John Locke, with the idea of individual liberty and the natural rights to life, liberty, and property. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, 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.” This quote is almost the exact wording of John Locke’s idea of a “natural law”. Locke also created a theory that the people should control the government, instead of the government having unfair power over the people.
The founding fathers had a strong influence by British culture since it was their governing body. The Quartering Act forced citizens to house armies in their homes, and the armies weren’t held accountable for destroyed property or crimes they had committed. A trial by a jury was denied, the only the King was allowed to approve laws, no matter how long it took. “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, and that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such forms, as to them shall seem most likely to affect their safety and happiness.” They believed the government shouldn’t be in total control, but they do still need at least one leader to keep everything in order. They were also greatly influenced by a separation of government. “The separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation,” this is an example in The Declaration of Independence showing that the writers believed in a separation of powers and inquiring opinions of different people before setting laws.
Economical influences included the denial of the power of parliament, forcing them to pay high tax tariffs. “For imposing taxes on us without our Consent,” this is directly related the king forcing everyone to pay high taxes. There were navigation laws that diminished their ability to trade, making it difficult to have any personal gain. “He has combined with others to subject us to a Jurisdiction foreign to our Constitution, and unacknowledged by our Laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation,” again directly connecting with the King having to approve all laws.
Several factors relating to religion also had an influence over our founding fathers. It had been believed that god appointed a king to rule. Thomas Hobbes supported this theory, however he also believed in a separation of powers. Locke, disagreed with this theory from a complete study of the bible. The British government picked the religion that would be followed by everybody, and the people who didn’t follow this were punished; often by death. “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protection of the divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.” This demonstrates the concern for punishing people when they don’t follow the one belief, and is an example of why freedom of religion is listed in our Constitution. It also illustrates their concern that there wasn’t necessarily a “divine right” to the power.
The political history, economical, philosophical, cultural, and religious influences on the writers of The Declaration of Independence can still be seen in the way we operate today. People are free to be of whatever religion they choose without punishment, and everyone over the age of 18; being a U.S. citizen, has the right to vote. These are two rights granted to Americans, that came about due to the influences on our founding fathers. Everyone has a right to a fair trial by a jury, showing a heavy cultural influence that is still in effect today. Several things we witness in our everyday lives can be seen in The Declaration of Independence, and we can then continue to examine the influences that created these events.