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BASIC DOCUMENTS AFFECTING AMERICAN SOCIETYThere are three basic documents which affect American society almost daily in day to day affairs They are the Declaration of Independence the Constitution the Bill of Rights EachThe sentiments in favor of independence from England was growing in the AmericanColonies during the last days of 1775 The opening battles of the revolution at Lexengtonand Concord and at Bunker Hill had already taken place when in January 1776 Tom Painepublished his pamphlet Common Sense The pamphlet was a violent attack on monarchyand on king George 111 and was a strong plea for an immediate declaration of indepen-dence It sold more than one 100000 copies within three months and led to a major increaseThe rights that Declaration cites such as the right to life are defined as natural rights givento man by God and not privileges granted by the government The government is duty bound to protect and nurture these rights or else the people may overthrow itConstitution of the United States is the supreme law and plan of the government The Cons-titution was described the then British Prime Minister William Gladstone as the mostwonderful work ever struck off at one time by the brain and purpose of man The oldest written constitution still in use among the major nations it has had great influence on constitutions later adopted by other countriesThe principle of limited government as enshrined in the Constitution was applied in severalways Devolution of power among the component States and the Federal government provedforerunner for such federal structures throughout the democratically elected governments inMany of the rights contained in the Bill of Rights were developed in England during the Middle Ages as attempts to limit the power of the king These are the ten amendments tothe Constitution Several of the rights such as freedom of speech of the press and of religion are considered necessary for the citizens to enjoy maximum freedom Others suchas those of assembly and petition
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