Rebellions have been inspired by a
declaration or group of people that dare to take a stand against their
government or the society that they live in. Once the “Declaration of Independence” was written, people around the world
began to change their ideas about government and society. These new ideas led
to more global connections. Not only did the American Revolution launch a new
beginning for the American people, it also started the process of the world becoming
more globally connected through the spread of new ideas and trade. In the case
of the American and French revolutions, the “Declaration of Independence” was the document that inspired the
people to create change.
On July 4th, 1776, the “Declaration of Independence” was approved.
After being taxed and taken advantage of by Britain many times, the colonists
desperately wanted change. The Continental Congress chose Thomas Jefferson to
draft a document that explained how the colonists felt. The paper that he wrote
was the first of
a series of
documents written about new ideas for government and society. It stated the
specific ways in which the King of England had wronged the colonists, and their
intention to break away and form their own country. The document outlined what
the colonists wanted to improve when they had their own country. For example,
they wrote that they were leaving Britain and the King “For cutting off our
trade with all parts of the world” (Declaration of Independence). The colonists
intended to create new trade routes and relations as soon as they were free of
Britain’s rule. They believed that the British were hindering their ability to
become a wealthy and powerful nation. They write about “certain unalienable
Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”
(Declaration of Independence). The colonists were some of the first people to demand
their rights in an official document. By declaring rights such as these, they
inspired other people around the world to claim their rights and eventually
make their own global connections.
As a new nation, America was free
to create new trade routes and relationships which opened up connections with
countries all over the world. America sent many ships to trade in China. One such ship was
named the Empress of China. The Americans traded ginseng, furs, cotton, and
some cash for tea, silk, and chinaware. Ginseng was one of the most valuable
goods the Americans had to offer, because the Chinese used it for its medicinal
properties. Prior to the American Revolution, the ginseng was collected in
North America to be sold by the East India Company. The British took advantage
of the resources in America to make money. After the colonists officially broke
away from Britain, they were able to sell the ginseng in China and add to their
own wealth. This trade helped America prosper, and it also helped them to
create strong global connections. One voyager on the Empress of China wrote, “Here
national rivalries were temporarily suspended in favor of a united front of
mutual courtesy…” (Empress of China). By “here,” the mariner was referencing
the port in Canton. Once the sailors reached China, they were able to put aside
the fact that they were from different nations and they conducted peaceful
trade that benefitted everybody involved. Although breaking away from Britain
was difficult at first, America managed to make the best out of the situation
and grow tremendously as a country.
In addition to helping the United
States create more trade relations, the “Declaration
of Independence” inspired the “Declaration
of the Rights of Man” and the “Declaration of the Rights of Women and
Citizens” in France, which later led to the French Revolution. Written
about a decade after the Declaration of Independence, it is clear that both of
these documents were inspired by the Americans. Both French documents stated
that everybody has the right to form their own opinions and have freedom of
speech and religion. The “Declaration of
the Rights of Man” states that “No one shall be disquieted on account of
his opinions, including his religious views, provided their manifestation does
not disturb the public order established by law” (DORM)
These ideals were
fairly new at the time, and publishing them was a bold move. By declaring these
rights, the French people were making a statement against their government. The
Declaration of Independence and the entire American Revolution inspired the French
to take the first step in becoming a part of a more connected world.
Prior to the writing of the American
Revolution, most countries were disconnected from each other. They relied
mostly on the resources from their own land to survive. After the Declaration of Independence, the
Americans connected people around the world through trade. They also inspired
other countries to demand rights so that they could be a part of the global
world. Once countries around the world were connected, goods were available to
more people. Ideas about society and government were spread from one country to
the next. This exchange benefited people all over the world because countries
established more stable governments and became more technologically advanced.
At the time it was written, the Declaration of Independence had a huge impact
on the world, and it continues to inspire people today.
Independence.” Document, 1776.
the Rights of Man.” Document,
De Gouges, Olympe.
“Declaration of the Rights of Woman and Citizen.” Document, 1791.
Swift, John W., et al.
“The Voyage of the Empress of China.” Print out, Historical Society of Pennsylvania.