GOVT 2301
Week Four
Readings, Notes, and Assignment




The Declarations of Independence

This week I want you to cover the two documents responsible for justifying the decision by the people of the North American colonies and the Mexican state of Texas to declare independence. Here are links to the two documents:

- The Declaration of Independence of the United States of America
- The Declaration of Independence of Texas

I want you to read both thoroughly. Here are additional readings that should help you understand each.

- USHistory.org: The Declaration of Independence Page.
- Wikipedia.
- National Archives.
- The Library of Congress.
- Wikipedia: Texas Declaration of Independence.
- Texas State Library: Texas Declaration of Independence.
- The Handbook of Texas Online: Texas Declaration of Independence.

In essence, these two documents apply the abstract doctrines of John Locke, principally in his Second Treatise of Civil Government (here's the Wikipedia entry), to the realities of 1770s North America and 1830s Texas.

Assignment: I want you--and this applies to both internet and lecture classes--to outline Locke's argument and detail exactly how it was applied to the circumstances in the US (what was to become the US anyway) and Texas. Critically assess its application. Were both sets of colonists correct in making their arguments or were they simply whiners and opportunists?

You'll need to give me 500 words to do a good job. Internet students are to email this to me, lecture students hand it in in class. Since I have no idea when we will actually meet again, and how many people actually have electricity right now, this wont be due until October 6th.