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Word Count: 1,118
Power and The Declaration ofIndependence There are many abstractions in the Declaration ofIndependence These abstractions such as rights freedomliberty and happiness have become the foundations of Americansociety and have helped to shape the AmericanIdentity Power another abstraction that reoccurs inall the major parts of the Declaration of Independence playsan equally important role in shaping Americaidentity One forgets the abstraction of power becauseit appears in relation to other institutions thelegislature the King the earth and the military Theabstraction of power sets the tone of the Declaration andshapes the colonists conception of government and societyPower in the Declaration of Independence flows from distinctbodies within society such as the King the legislature themilitary and the colonists The Oxford English Dictionary defines power as theability to do or effect something or anything or to act upona person or thing OED 2536 Throughout the agesaccording to the dictionary the word power has connotedsimilar meanings In 1470 the word power meant to havestrength and the ability to do something With allthair strang poweir OED 2536 Nearly three hundredyears later in 1785 the word power carried the same meaningof control strength and force power to produce aneffect supposes power not to produce it otherwise it is notpower but necessity OED 2536 This definitionexplains how the power government or social institutionsrests in their ability to command people rocks colonies todo something they otherwise would not do To make the peoplepay taxes To make the rocks form into a fence To make thecolonists honor the King The colonialists adopt thisinterpretation of power They see power as a cruel force thathas wedded them to a King who has a history of repeatedinjuries and usurptions The framers of the Declarationof Independence also believe powers given by God to thepeople must not be usurped The conflict between thesespheres of power the colonists believe justifies theirrebellion The uses of the word power set the tone of theDeclaration
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