The Declaration of Independence included John Locke’s idea of Natural Rights and Rousseau’s Social Contract. These ideas were key in Englightenment thought. The writers of the Declaration of Independence believed that all men are born with certain rights and if they’re taken away, it’s their obligation to rebel. They were clearly influenced by Locke’s ideas which were evident at the beginning of the Declaration of Independence; “all men are born with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” From Rousseau, the writers adopted the idea of popular sovereignty and Republican ideals. They stated that the role of government is to provide protection for society in exchange for certain rights. Essentially, the power is with the people: they consent to the government and have the right to rebel after a series of abuses. Which is exactly what the Declaration of Independence argued.
The Articles of Confederation created an Elite Democracy by only giving power to wealthy, white men. It didn’t allow much input or representation of other groups. As seen in the Articles, only white men with property were given the right to vote. Even so, the “delegates” of the states were elites that voted on behalf of the states like trustees. Back then, there wasn’t direct participation of many people in society (Participatory Democracy) or groups that tried to influence policy (Pluralist Democracy) like there is today, so Elite Democracy was the norm.