Connecting the Declaration of Independence and What is the Third Estate

The Declaration of Independence, drafted by Thomas Jefferson and signed in 1776 is unquestionably one of the most well-known and significant documents in American history. It spoke against British control and tyranny at that time. Jefferson pens, “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” (Blaisdell 63-64) Jefferson then lists several of “His” (The King of England) transgressions and the overarching aspiration to form a state separate from England and all of the injustices that have been performed under English rule. He states, “A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of free people” (Blaisdell 66) and declares the freedom of the respective colonies.

Emmanual Joseph Sieyes brings forth similar emotions in his work, What is the Third Estate? Sieyes speaks out against “the privileged” when he writes, “’No matter how useful you are, ‘they said, ‘no matter how able you are, you can go so far and no further.’”(Blaisdell 72) Sieyes urges his fellow people to rise up against the wide-ranging umbrella of limitations and stresses the importance of reaching the estate’s full potential. He argues the Third Estate “contains everything that pertains to the nation” (Blaisdell 74) and questions why the estate is not something greater. These documents have inherent parallels and pose comparable points and questions, with Sieyes and Jefferson aiming for a similar goal.