Montesquieu Take Up Arms Analysis

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1. Declaration of the Causes and Necessities of Taking Up Arms In this document, Thomas Jefferson begins with saying that if God intended for people to be slaves, he would have made it so. However, the British government, with lust for power, has overlooked this simple truth and is infringing on the rights of the colonists. For these reasons, he explains the need for the call to arms. The men in charge of the colonies came from Great Britain to seek civil and religious freedom, and gave Britain immense success and prosperity. The colonies also helped immensely in the recent war, and due to this relatively easy victory, the sovereign decided to change policy and is seeking to use our money without consent, quarter soldiers during peace, and …show more content…
When Jefferson says that the colonists have tried to end the merciless despotism being imposed upon them, it is reminiscent of the Baron de Montesquieu’s The Spirit of Laws, in which he says despotism is detrimental to political well-being, and that it can be avoided by having checks of power, which were integral in the formation of the United States government later on. A statute that was passed by Parliament that Jefferson was lamenting was a statute that detailed how all laws made by Parliament were to be followed by everyone in all cases. Montesquieu warned against this kind of concentration of power, and believed that power should be spread throughout classes, and that legal orders should have unequal rights and privileges to prevent anyone one group from becoming too powerful. A bit of Voltaire is present in this document as well, in the fact that Voltaire believed that there should be distinct classes with different social and economic …show more content…
The most prominent is John Locke, when Jefferson says that “certain unalienable rights [are endowed by their Creator], that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” When Locke wrote it in his Second Treatise on Civil Government, it was originally life, liberty, and property, but Jefferson changed it because the fact that slaves were property was not appealing to him. Locke also believed that if a government overstepped its bounds, the people could abolish or change it, which Jefferson is in agreement with. Another belief of Locke was a government by the people. Another prominent thinker was the Baron de Montesquieu, and he believed that in order for tyranny and abuse of power to be avoided, checks of power should be made to control the government. He was fiercely opposed to despotism, as stated in his Spirit of Laws, and the behavior of the British government in those days would have displeased him greatly, which Jefferson recognized and

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