Power Struggles Present in the Declaration of Independence and The Third Estate

The Declaration of Independence clearly establishes the kind power the United States is looking for through a representation of Britain’s tight control. The Declaration of Independence exemplifies how the king caused “repeated injuries and usurpations” (Blaisdell 64) as well as acted in every way “which may define a tyrant” (Blaisdell 66). The United States is looking for a government that allows power to be given to the people. The authors of this document believe that men are born with certain rights, and in order to protect those rights, the people should have a say in the government. The Declaration of Independence goes on to state that is the “Right of the People” to alter the government if the government were not working or becomes “destructive” in any way (Blaisdell 64). The main intent behind this document is to stray away from the “absolute tyranny,” and create an inclusive government where the people’s voices are heard (Blaisdell 64).

Sieyès argues over power among classes in his What is the Third Estate? He argues that the privileged have set limits to the third estate, stating, “you can go so far and no further” (Blaisdell 72). However, Sieyès points out that it is the third estate that occupies certain jobs that keep society running as it should, therefore, the third state is everything and should have more rights. Sieyès goes on to claim that the privileged do not help society because of its “idleness,” but are granted certain rights because of their place in society (Blaisdell 73). Sieyès continues, stating that nobility has special rights making them “a people apart in the great nation” which forms the separation of powers between the third estate and the nobility (Blaisdell 73). Sieyès believed the nation would be better off without the nobility because the third state held society together.

One thought on “Power Struggles Present in the Declaration of Independence and The Third Estate

  1. The Declaration of Independence lists the numerous grievances committed by the British Crown towards the American colonists, while What is the Third Estate focuses upon the unfair class differences in France. However, it is clear that the injustice mentioned in both documents stems from an unfair distribution of power. In both cases, the ruling class has more rights and freedoms that the general population, which sowed the seeds of rebellion in both the United States and France.

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