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American Declaration of Independence and the French Declaration of Rights Few political documents have affected the world quite like the American Declaration of Independence or the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen The repercussions of each have had a profound effect on world history up to this point But why did these documents have such an effect The answer lies in the common philosophical backgrounds of the two The writings of Rousseau Locke and Montesquieu all contained ideas that were later used by Thomas Jefferson and the National Assembly to compose the two documents Rousseaus ideas of a social contract which states that the general will and the people were sovereign and if a king abuses the liberty of the people they have a right and a duty to dissolve the current government and create a new one McKay 581 were central to both documents Jefferson had Rousseaus ideas in mind when he wrote the Declaration of Independence The history of the present King of Great Britain George III is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these statesa prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant is unfit to be the ruler of a free peoplewe thereforesolemnly publish and declare that these United Colonies areindependent states Jefferson 1-2 The reasons such as suspension of colonial legislatures impressment of American sailors and the importation of mercenaries Jefferson 2 given for the dissolution of the political connections that the American and British people have held for over 100 years all relate to the Kings tyrannical tendencies and the peoples right to choose a different government The edict also states that although petitions of grievances were issued the King turned a deaf ear The Declaration of the Rights of Man is not only built on the social contract but also on
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