Colgate University Libraries


Bianca Gross


The time period of the American Revolution, beginning in 1776, sparked an ideological awakening within the British colonies of America. “‘The struggle for liberty, Adams suggested to Jefferson, ‘was in the Minds of the People, and this was effected, from 1760 to 1775, in the course of fifteen Years before a drop of blood was drawn at Lexington.’”131 In the strokes of Thomas Jefferson’s pen, this founding father put into words the political ideology that had been on the minds of the American people for decades. As stated in the Declaration of Independence, the American colonists desired to become their own separate nation apart from the monarchial authority of Great Britain. In the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson articulated the concerns of the American people by stating that “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.”132 Jefferson continued by stating that the English government had neglected to respect the unalienable rights of the colonists, and thus the American people were forced to sever ties with the English 131 Douglas R. Egerton, Death or Liberty: African Americans and Revolutionary America. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009, 271. 132 Jefferson, Thomas. “The Declaration of Independence.” United States Congress (Philadelphia, 1776). crown. Through his words, Jefferson was declaring that Americans were being denied their rights as English citizens. Therefore, the American colonists would build a new nation based on the ideals articulated in the Declaration of Independence. A common rhetoric used by colonists in order to proclaim their need for separation from the crown was that the Americans were slaves of the English monarch and needed to be free.