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Referat: The American Declaration of Independence

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Short report: The American Declaration of Independence

- want to tell sth. about Declaration of Independence

- subdivided lecture in 4 parts:
1) why I’ve chosen this topic
2) History of D. of I.
3) meaning for today’s systems
4) new constitution of USA after D. of I.
1) – chosen this topic because it’s an important part of world history
- and belongs in my opinion to general knowledge
- further reason: this was a topic before in English lesson
- remembered that it was interesting but I couldn’t remember of really one act
in revolutions and sth. like that
2)- now tell sth. about events before D. of I.
- colonies had self-government but didn’t have representatives in British government
- with the time Britain Parliament needed more and more money because there were war in Europe between Great Britain and France
- so demanded aid from the colonies
- they wanted the colonists to pay taxes and fees for goods
- in fact there first was Sugar Act in 1764
- in Sugar act Britain imposed import duties on sugar, textiles, coffee, wine and so on
- next there was Stamp Act in 1765
- now colonists had to pay fees for issue of documents, also for newspapers, publications and playing cards
- but colonists defended themselves against these fees and it came to revots
- so British Parliament gave away and Stamp Act was abolished in 1766
- but financial problems of reat Britain weren’t solved yet and so they decided to impose duties on glass, lead, colours and paper with Townshend- Duties in 1768

- result of these laws:
> so called “Boston massacre” between citizens and British forces in March 1770 in which five Bostoner were killed without an obvious reason
- now all duties were abolished apart from tea- taxation
- because of that “sons of liberty” (colonists dressed up like Indians) threw in night of 16th December in 1773 all tea from ships into ocean , the so called “Boston Tea Party”
- at this time colonists demanded “No taxation without representation” and wanted to send representatives who had a say in English Parliament
- Britain reacted with punishment and closed Boston harbour and sent more soldiers to America
- result were a revolutionary war between 1775 & 1783
- on the 4th of July in 1776 D. of I. Was signed
- people no longer felt as Europeans but as Americans
- finally war was brought to an end with “Peace of Paris” in November in 1783
and Britain acknowledged independence, freedom and sovereignty of the states
3 – with D. of I. A fight against economical and political restriction was finished
- was an important step into our modern life because new ideas were considered
- for example the human rights
- want to read an extract of the Declaration of Independence
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness […]
That these United Colonies are Right out to be Free and Independent States.”
- becomes apparent that for first time all human has the same rights because God has made them equal
- but although sounds so very fantastic, new and democratic but there was problem that this wasn’t guilty for the big group of slaves
- they were too important for economy so that they didn’t have the same rights although they were humans
4) American system of government was established by the Constitution in 1787
- representatives from the former colonies met in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in order to create new form of government
- decided that government should have three branches , each with its own separate powers
> legislative branch
> executive branch
> judicial branch
- Legislative branch
- headed by Congress and makes the laws
- divided into two chambers
~ House of Representatives
~ Senate
- people elect 435 representatives for two years for the House of Representatives
- also elect two senators for each state, and one third of the senators are elected every two years for a 6-year term
- members of both chambers recommend bills to deal with important issues facing the nation
- once a bill passed both chambers it’s sent to President who must sign it before become a law
- Executive branch
- headed by President and enforces laws
- President and his administration make sure that laws are carried out as they were meant by Congress
- President and Vice President are elected for four years and they are supported by a Cabinet which consists of Secretaries
- these Secretaries are appointed by President
- President also has job to decide the nation’s economic and foreign policies
- is America’s commander-in-chief of the armed forces > has the control over the military in times of war and peace
- found an interesting definition of office of President
Americans don’t want a president to become too powerful: […] The nation definitely prefers a President who is a man of the people, a rather ordinary person with whom they can identify. But the nation doesn’t want this man to be ordinary. They only want extraordinary ability and uncommonly gifted leadership, but they also want him to be better than they themselves are – to be someone they can look up to and respect.”
- Judicial branch
- headed by Supreme Court and interprets the law
- decides if the laws are constitutional or not
- Supreme Court is highest court in the land so that its decisions are final
- consists of a Chief Justice and eight other Justices and they’re appointed for life by President
- representatives who wrote the constitution were afraid that one person or branch of government might get too powerful because of the long fight against their lack of independence
- so decided to make system of “checks and balances”
- they made sure that each branch of government could control the other branches
- President can check Congress by vetoing or rejecting laws it passes
on other hand Congress can remove President if enough members feel that he isn’t doing a good job
-Congress also has right to remove members of Supreme Court can declare laws Congress made unconstitutional
- members of Supreme Court appointed by President but on other hand Supreme Court can declare President’s actions unconstitutional
- you can see that this system can be fair
- writers of constitution also decided that people should determine as well legislative branch as a big part of executive branch but not judicial branch because there sympathy would be arrived by giving unfair an unconstitutional reasons
- finally we can say that War of Independence and its D. of I. Were more or less successful because they’ve arrived their targets and they are today still active in USA and in other states

General knowledge > Allgemeinwissen
Revolt > Aufstand
To give away > nachgeben
To abolish > (ein Gesetz) verabschieden
Issue > Ausstellung
Lead > Blei
Right to a say > Mitspracherecht
Restriction > Beschränkung
To consider > berücksichtigen
Pursuit > Streben
Main duty > Hauptaufgabe
Branch > hier: Gewalt
Bill > Gesetzesentwurf
To enforce > Geltung verschaffen
Commander-in-chief > Oberbefehlshaber
Checks and balances > gegenseitige Gewaltenkontrolle
To veto > sein Veto einlegen
To appoint > ernennen
Meine Stichpunkte zu einem 10 Minuten Vortrag als Vorbereitung zur mündlichen Prüfung. Die Informationen stammen hauptsächlich aus einem Geschichtsbuch und spiegeln in kurzen Schritten die Ereignisse wieder, die im Zusammenhang zur Entstehung der USA stehen. (1243 Wörter)
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