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Abstractions in the Declaration of Independence

Abstractions in Power-Writing

There are many abstractions in the Declaration of Independence. These abstractions such as: rights, freedom, liberty and happiness have become the foundations of American society and have helped to shape the "American Identity." Power, another abstraction that reoccurs in all the major parts of the Declaration of Independence plays an equally important role in shaping "America identity." One forgets the abstraction of power, because it appears in relation to other institutions: the legislature, the King, the earth, and the military. The abstraction of power sets the tone of the Declaration, and shapes the colonists conception of government and society. Power in the Declaration of Independence flows from distinct bodies within society such as the King, the legislature, the military, and the colonists. The Oxford English Dictionary defines power as, "the ability to do or effect something or anything, or to act upon a person or thing" (OED 2536). Throughout the ages according to the dictionary the word power has connoted similar meanings. In 1470 the word power meant to have strength and the ability to do something, "With all thair strang *poweir" (OED 2536) Nearly three hundred years later in 1785 the word power carried the same meaning of control, strength, and force, "power to produce an effect, supposes power not to produce it; otherwise it is not power but necessity" (OED 2536). This definition explains how the power government or social institutions rests in their ability to command people, rocks, colonies to do something they otherwise would not do. To make the people pay taxes. To make the rocks form into a fence. To make the colonists honor the King. The colonialists adopt this interpretation of power. They see power as a cruel force that has wedded them to a King who has "a history of repeated injuries and usurptions." The framers of the Declaration of Independence also believe powers given by God to the people must not be usurped. The conflict between these spheres of power the colonists believe, justifies their rebellion. The uses of the word power set the tone of the Declaration of Independence. In the first sentence of the Declaration colonists condemn the King's violation of powers given by god to all men.

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers...

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