American Revolution
Declaration of Independence
Benjamin Franklin

What are the parts of the Declaration of Independence?

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April 14, 2015 8:53AM

There are five parts of the Declaration of Independence, according to the National Archives' description on its website. But many historians have critiqued the document and some feel that it could be looked at as having three, four or even six parts. In view of the discrepancy on what, in one sense, is just a matter of opinion, I will go with the National Archives' opinion of five and leave it to readers to form their own opinions as to how many parts there are. The parts are: 1. The Introduction. This is the opening paragraph; a single sentence beginning with "We the People..." It is sometime erroneously referred to as the Preamble, probably because the opening paragraph of the US Constitution is referred to as the Preamble to the Constitution. 2. The Preamble. The second paragraph, which begins with "We hold theses truths to be self-evident. The Preamble sets the logic al argument that people have rights, that people form governments to secure those rights and when a government becomes destructive of those rights, the people have a right and a duty to throw off that government. 3. The Indictment of King George III. The list of wrongs the King has done to show the ways in which the King has abused the rights of the colonists. 4. The Denunciation of the British people. A statement announcing not only the separation of colonial government from British government, but colonial people from British people. 5. Conclusion. The Declaration of Independence from the King and his British peoples is the only logical conclusion to be taken from the above. What could lead to the different opinions on the number of parts. For one, the "Introduction" is mistakenly called the Preamble, the way the first paragraph of the Constitution is called. Admittedly, calling the second paragraph the "Preamble" seems wrong, but that is what the National Archives says. Some split the last two paragraphs into "Conclusion" and "Declaration" instead of calling both just the "Conclusion". Some combine the indictment of the king and the denunciation of the British peoples as one section.
The Declaration of Independence contains a preamble, a declaration of rights, a bill of indictment, and a formal statement of independence. It was written by Thomas Jefferson.