True purpose of The Declaration of Independence
On July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress met at the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia to adopt a statement that would threaten their lives, and make history.
Although the colonies had been at war with England for more than a year when the Declaration had been adopted, the document set the framework of the colonies to be known as 13 newly independent sovereign states, and collectively, the United States of America.
While many may view the purpose of the Declaration of Independence to be singular – to announce the separation from England and explain the reasoning – one historian reveals a second, and possibly even more important objective.
In an article on the Smithsonian’s website, Larry D. Ferreiro writes, “without the need to stake its success on two prospective allies, one of the United States’ most important founding documents would never have existed.”
Ferreiro writes that the colonies did not need to announce their separation from Great Britain, it was already made well aware by the war. However, the colonies knew they were in trouble in trying to face one of the world’s leading militaries, and they needed assistance.
The Declaration was aimed toward France and Spain who each had their qualms with Great Britain. And if this were the true purpose, it definitely worked.
Within a year, France signed a treaty with America, putting them at war with England. And a year after that, Spain joined the fight, although not officially announcing a treaty with the United States.
Ferreiro writes that what the Declaration was really saying, in modern words is, “We have staked everything on winning this war. Without a military alliance, there is no hope that we can continue. Now, please come to our aid.”
Regardless of its purpose, the Declaration of Independence is treasured for what it did, as well as what it represents. It has become a part of our nation’s history, as well as world history.
A librarian with the Mohave Museum of History and Arts, Cathy Kreis, shared her opinion on how important the Declaration of Independence was, and how remarkable it was that men from such different walks of life, could come together to create it.
“Without reading the history of its origins, or the document itself, most people will be unaware of the great diversity of men involved, time and effort involved to meet together and high level of anxiety and urgency to get things right,” Kreis said. “Differences in age, economic status, means of making a living, life experience and cultural/national background. In spite of all that, they united and carved out a place in history for themselves, to benefit us! Why wouldn’t we want to celebrate?”