If you're seeing this message, it means we're having trouble loading external resources on our website.

If you're behind a web filter, please make sure that the domains *.kastatic.org and *.kasandbox.org are unblocked.

Main content
Current time:0:00Total duration:9:54

Video transcript

we've been discussing this amazing 2nd paragraph of the Declaration of Independence we've gotten through what passes for the first two sentences they use all sorts of weird punctuation here and now they're going on to say that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends it's the right of the people to alter or abolish it and to institute new government laying its foundation on such principles as organizing its powers in such form as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness and just to make sure because they're the writing in a very uh yeah they get a bit ornate and they're ornate and they added that first set it's a whole lot it's very clear but this sentence is a little bit order when they write that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends they're talking again of the life liberty and the pursuit of happiness right in other words in other words if you have a king who's taken away people's life liberty and the pursuit of happiness so this is I talking about the English government not just the Parliament but the king nail has become destructive of these unalienable rights that was supposed to protect yeah and that we did form a new government to affect their safety and happiness right but most importantly it's the right of the people to alter or abolish it in other words they're saying something that is not yet been quite accepted by history which is if you're a people and you don't like your government you can overthrow it we hadn't had that many revolutions you know in the past 200 years leading up to that and this is the beginning of an age of revolution where people say oh yeah we have the right to abolish our government whoa that's a holy now people doing it not another king not another ruler that's why history is other Kings exactly most of history I mean for the hundred years leading up to this document France and England have been fighting each other the kings of England have been trying to supplant the kings of France and there's been a hundred years war it's been in you know the American Revolution sort of a part of that but something different happens here is not one king trying to overthrow another King it's the right of the people to up polish and institute a new government to protect their own safety and happiness the next sentence prudence indeed will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes that basically is saying you know you shouldn't go around doing this all the time you have to have a really really good reason because it's not as if just because you're kind of annoyed at your government you should overthrow it and this is why they have a pretty long document ahead of them this is just the first to power day and this is important this I guess reminds us of what this whole document is for this is to communicate with the rest of the world and as you mentioned also France like that that look you know we're not we're not crazy folks here we recognize this is a serious thing we're doing that we don't take this lightly that's what that tenant says exactly which is you shouldn't do it just for light and transient causes we're going to have to show you that we've got some real good reasons to do it and that's what it goes on to say especially like while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are customs in other words these are powerful words sort of saying that you know these are the type of things you really have to raise up arms against and so then let's go to the Senate okay and I find this one really interesting it's a kind of a less famous part of it but it says and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they're custom so that it's really saying that normally men even when their rice start to get imposed they kind of just go along you know it's kind of like a frog when boiling water they're just kind of live with it but but this but when it gets too bad yeah that's when you have to take up arms and you're right that's the whole point of that is that experience has shown we kind of just go along with bad Kings just like we go along with good Kings you know but this is special this is different with their secondary and that's why they start the next sentence with the word but it's sort of this is the but this is different senator why is it different but when a long train of abuses and usurpations usurpations means hey they're taking away our powers pursuing invariably the same object evinces a desire to reduce them under absolute despotism in other words what's happened is the king and his Parliament have decided to reduce it so that they have all the powers the taxing without our consent that doing all sorts of things they're quartering troops in our homes that's when they say it goes on to say it is their right in other words the right of us our people it is their duty to throw off such government and to provide new guards for their future security I mean think about that how often had that been happening before yeah yeah especially for for the people to do it right I mean we very rarely have had a people led rebellion to say you've usurped you these usurpations usurped our rights there's been a long train of abuses and you've reduced us to absolute despotism actually Jefferson when he writes that phrase has an even you know grander Fraser's or that's right everything else and Franklin says I think we're going a bit overboard here let's just say reduce them under absolute despotism which means you've taken away all of our rights you've become a despot No then you know it's been he goes on to say such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies in other words we've been pretty patient upright you put on a tea tack you put on a paper tax you put on a Stamp Act you haven't you taxation without representation you haven't allowed us to be part of the Parliament voting on our own taxes so we've been pretty patient of these things and such is now the necessity which constrains them meaning constrains us the people of the United States to alter their former systems of government and now is when they set up what is going to be the rest of the document they attack the king the history of the present King of Great Britain that we have them up there George the third you know there is yes okay looking kind of nice like yeah I'm not only worst of all I might get some bows myself right right definitely like a royal person but the history of this present King of Great Britain is history of repeated injuries and usurpations they all have all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these states now you know what I think they were overstating it a bit I mean I'm not trying to be kind to King George here but what they did is they tax the t-they taxes and they were using the tax revenues to help support the colonies I think Parliament felt that well you could argue a little bit that we're taxing without getting your consent but I think they would say hey wait absolute Tyranny you know injuries and repeated injuries and usurpations they're going too far and there was a lot of people at least half the people in the colonies that kind of agreed with English they were still loyal and so what they do Jefferson Franklin and Adams and the people writing this is they say we're going to have to show you while we're using this strong language it's a wonderful sentence to me to prove this let facts be submitted to a candid world that's what this declaration is we are going to give you all the facts and try to prove it's been absolute Tyranny that we've been suffering and they work themselves up into convincing themselves and probably the rest of it to be fair to them you know probably in 1774 or even march of 1775 they might have felt like that but now blood there was bloodshed now right I have been killed and now of course people are definitely going to be much more passionate about want you I mean yeah I guess you could you know sense it in your own sense of history once people start fighting they get themselves a bit worked up I could absolutely absolutely and it's British troops on American soil it's American families American fathers were dying and that's how they could imagine they would start to see these things right it starts to get out of hand without their intention the Continental Congress didn't declare a war back in 1775 you have a bunch of militia people in Lexington and Concord getting all riled up by Paul Revere yeah because the British are coming to take some of the munitions out of the out of the Arsenal's in Lexington and Concord so he's writing and saying the British are coming and then the militiamen come out and suddenly up in Massachusetts is revolution that even most of the people in the Continental Congress weren't quite ready for has begun to happen and you know do you I mean you sunset one thing spit and then and then after this they go on and list that's the rest of the document the rest of the Declaration is just line after line of the King has done this the King has done that and most importantly as you see in this the history of the present King of Great Britain they're revolting now against the king not just the Parliament that has voted these taxes but they're saying it's a king himself that were rebelling against and that's what made it a true revolution rather than just trying to get rid of the Parliament which is temporary fascinating