Free «Declaration of Independence as Seen Through the Lenses of Karl Marx, John Locke and Jean Rousseau» Essay Sample

In order to appreciate this discourse, one needs to go back to the beginning and understand the origins of the declaration of independence. The declaration of independence both historically and ideally embraces these tenets. The origins of the Declaration of Independence are disputed but generally it is worth noting that the American Revolutionary war was not just an arms war but an ideological one. The war that culminated in declaration of independence by the founding fathers was about asserting the value of humanity and the equality thereof. Marxism called for the abolishment of the aristocracy that Karl Marx believed was responsible for the suffering of the poor. One of the most important statements ever put forward in the declaration of independence and one that Karl Marx would have interrogated is this that

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“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”. (Declaration of Independence, 1779, article 2)

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Marxism is founded on the belief that bourgeois (upper class citizens) take from the poor and destitute and create capitalism which thrives on enriching the already rich and impoverishing the poor. Marxism believes that it is the duty of the proletariats (middle class citizens) to even the scores and eliminate the class differences by empowering the poor and closing the socio-economic gap.. Although it would be important to note that while the present day America is capitalist in her pursuit of economic empowerment, the ideals and philosophy of Marxism is communist in nature. Karl Marx therefore would have exercised caution in the usage of the word “pursuit” which presents unlimited and unbridled opportunity or chance to elevate oneself above the rest regardless of whether that means creating “social classes”; the very thing Marxism was fighting against.

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Rosseus chose rather to study and appreciate the different sides of the social sphere of human interaction. Rosseus understood the complexities of human social grooming and chose to affirm that the social differences in society were not a disease in need of a cure but rather different facets that added color to the whole. Rosseus (1950) believes that the primary force of the society is vested in the individual. That the individual does not have to give up his civil liberties and privileges for the sake of the rest of the community should be a choice only the individual should make (Rosseus 1950, p. 14).

Rosseus claims that the society should pursue self-preservation but not at the cost of the individual civil liberties envisioned in the social contract. Rosseus also believes that the social contract only exists to provide what individual force cannot achieve in singularity in the interest of preserving what is already an individual’s unalienable natural rights. In the light of the Declaration of Independence, therefore, all humanity is entitled to self-preservation within the collective good of the people.

Locke, on the other hand, believed in the right of the people to give and disposes governments of power in consistence with the will of the people. According to Locke “A state of equality wherein all power and jurisdiction is reciprocal, no one having more than another...” (Locke, 19 cap II, no. 4) Locke would consider the Declaration of Independence as more than a statement of independence but a document ratified by the will of the people to be governed by the people of their choice only accountable to the people. Locke would endorse the principles of equality before the law as envisioned in the Declaration of Independence without reservations. 

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