The Significance of Communication in the Bill of Rights and Declaration of Sentiments

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Communication is the imparting or interchange of thoughts, opinions, or information by speech, writing, or signs. Communication has played an important role in the development of America. The impact of written communication, such as books, newspapers, and flyers from the 1500s to the 1800s on America’s growth, politics, and society. This period was extremely important to America’s development because it was when Americans were still trying to prove their independence from Great Britain. Many of these written documents played a major role in shaping America as an independent nation. These documents heavily influenced creating our American government and increased the awareness of social movements. Without these documents, America would have been unstructured and undocumented.

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Written communication heavily impacted politics and government during pre-reconstruction America. The Mayflower Compact was a governing document written and signed in 1620 by the male passengers of the Mayflower before they landed in Plymouth. The purpose of this document was to set up a government for themselves in the new world. It set a precedent for other governing documents to follow in the new world and that the government would acquire its powers from the consent of the governed. English philosopher and enlightenment thinker, John Locke, defined what he believed to be the government’s purpose in the “Two Treatise of Government.' It was his response to Robert Filmer’s defense of the idea of divine right of kings. The most significant idea to form from Locke’s work was what he defined as the inalienable natural rights: life, liberty, and property. This idea was used by Jefferson as he drafted the Declaration of Independence. The English Bill of Rights was passed by parliament in 1689, after the overthrow of James II. The purpose of the English Bill of Rights was to limit the power of the monarchs and give parliament political power. Many of the ideas in the English Bill of Rights were continued in various American documents, such as: the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Thomas Paine, English political activist and philosopher, challenged the power of the British government and monarchy through his influential pamphlet, Common Sense published in 1776. It stated the reasons why Americans were rebelling in the first place and it was an instant bestseller with 150,000 copies in circulation. Paine’s pamphlet helped sway people into supporting the patriots, those who favored declaring independence from England. It was so effective because Paine wrote in common language, so everyone could understand. The 2nd Continental Congress adopted Thomas Jefferson's version of the Declaration of Independence, in 1776. The purpose of the declaration was to explain and announce the colonies’ separation from Great Britain. This document united the thirteen colonies and led to their independence from England. It was also significant because it stated that the government existed for the benefit of the people. Five years later in 1781, the Articles of Confederation were established to provide a legal basis for authority that the continental congress was already exercising. The document was not successful, and it created a very weak central government, but the continental congress learned what needed to be done to create a stronger government. Which led to the creation of the constitution in 1787. The overall impact of written communication on the American government was

Written communication helped played an important role in the promotion and growth of social movements in America. Olaudah Equiano was kidnapped and sold into slavery when he was a child. In 1789, he published an autobiography about his life in slavery to expose the true living conditions of slaves. He used vivid descriptions and sensory details to truly illustrate his torture as a slave. Equiano’s autobiography altered the public’s opinion about the slave trade and greatly influenced the abolitionist movement. Judith Sargent Murray was an early advocate in the fight for women's rights. In 1790, she published “On Equality of the Sexes,' an essay that argued that women are just as capable of working and obtaining an education, as men are. Her essay was impactful because she challenged a male dominated society and it helped shape a new ideal for wives as “republican mothers.' It was the movement that promoted the education of women and their importance on upholding the ideals of republicanism. In 1848, the Seneca Falls Convention met to discuss the social, civil, and religious condition rights of women. 

At this convention, the attendees established the Declaration of Sentiments, which demanded equal social status and legal rights for women. This document was significant because it solidified the start of the women’s rights movement in America. Another woman who made history with her writing was Harriet Beecher Stowe, an american abolitionist and author. In 1852, she published “Uncle Tom’s Cabin, a fiction novel that portrayed the grim life under slavery. It was so popular that it was turned into a play and musical, which meant everyone had access to read, listen, or watch it. Harriet Beecher Stowe was named the “little old lady who started the civil war” because many Northerners realized how unjust slavery was after reading it, which increased opposition to slavery. In 1859, John Brown, a well-known abolitionist led a raid on Harper’s Ferry in Virginia, in hopes to create an armed slave revolt. He was unsuccessful, but because of the newspapers written about John Brown, the abolitionist movement gained national attention. Not only did these papers create attention, it also influenced the abolitionist movement to become aggressive. All these factors increased tension for the civil war. The overall impact of written communication on social movements was

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