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Difference Between Declaration of Independence and the Constitution

Declaration of Independence vs the Constitution

The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are very different in their intents and interests.

The Declaration of Independence is only a statement that proclaims that the 13 colonies were independent states and no longer under British rule. It declares that the United States of America is a free and independent nation. The Constitution is the basis of the U.S. government. The Constitution is termed as the supreme law of the country.

While the Declaration of Independence proclaimed to the world that the U.S. is an independent country, the Constitution laid out guidelines and rules on how the country should run or work.

Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, and it was edited by the Continental Congress. The Congress unanimously adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.

The Declaration of Independence lays out the government’s philosophy that all the citizens are equal and entitled to certain inalienable rights including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It also says that the government that does not have the people’s consent or that tramples on the citizen’s rights is illegitimate. The Declaration also lists a series of charges against the King of England about how he had trampled on the rights of the citizens.

The Constitution declares that there will be a Congress, a President, and a Supreme Court. It also lays down the powers of each institution and how each of them should be formed. The Constitution also details the rights of the citizens. The Constitution was written in 1787. It was written by a convention of all the states which was called for the purpose of recommending changes in the old government. The Constitution, after getting approval from the states, came into effect in 1789.

Summary:

1.The Declaration of Independence is only a statement that proclaims that the 13 colonies were independent states and no longer under British rule.
2.The Constitution is the basis of the U.S. government. The Constitution is termed as the supreme law of the country.
3.Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, and it was edited by the Continental Congress. The Congress unanimously adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.
4.The Constitution was written in 1787. It was written by a convention of all the states which was called for the purpose of recommending changes in the old government. The Constitution, after getting approval from the states, came into effect in 1789.


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2 Comments

  1. This misses a major point.

    The Declaration also spelled out a radical and revolutioanry departure from the Divine Right of Kingship style of rule of the European monarchies in that no longer were the people the subjects of a king “ordained by God” to rule over them without their consent, but that the people themselves posessed the right from God (or by existence for the atheists) to rule themselves instead by their consent. It made government not thrust upon the population by another in monarhcial form, but upon themselves by democratic consent in republican form.

    It also spelled out the right of the people to tell their government what to do instead of the other way around, and it turned government from master of the people to its servant. “Serf-us” to “service”, to coin a phrase.

    (Unfortunately, it has devolved from that since then, and the people have forgotten who works for who anymore!)

  2. Agreed, missed the point but not surprising, that’s what a public education will do to you.

    Beyond what tannim said, the DOI (Declaration of Independence) laid the foundation of what government must do, protect our unalienable rights, what we must do when government is bad, suffer violations of those rights until it is insufferable and then alter or abolish government. It is our “Duty” according to the DOI.

    The gap between what the Constitution says, esp the pre-ratified version of it, and the DOI is significant. The Constitution does not link itself to the ideas of the DOI except for a brief homage in the preamble where it implies that the People are agreeing to everything the Constitution says. The original Constitution doesn’t address protecting the “Rights of the People” that the DOI talks about, that comes in the Amendments, aka “The Bill of Rights” added after the States refused to sign. It was written, my opinion, to create a central superstate that could eventually consume the States.

    The original USA government was the Confederacy of States in Perpetual Union and it treated each State like a country, more like the EU of today. That was transformed into the Constitution in 1789 or so after complaints that a confederacy was not strong enough. Ironically, when the South left the Union and returned to a Confederacy (as some States were promised was their right before signing the Constitution) the Southern Army almost won in the early days of the Civil War.

    The Constitution is really about how to setup a government and not about the People or the Country. It was written by the current politicos of the time to make a government that fit them, not necessarily the People. And they gave themselves powers that the people never had, further divorcing themselves from any link to the People they allegedly received their powers from. Some of those extraordinary powers, like the regulation of interstate trade, have made Government incredibly more powerful and dangerous. More so because the Government, as lawmakers, is supposed to be self-regulating which has not worked out very well.

    So I would say that there are significant differences between the DOI and the Constitution. The first is what was promised, what the ideal was, and the second is the compromise delivered.

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