The Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of Independence (1776, July), in which the thirteen colonies:  New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, signed the completed Declaration of Independence and formally separated from Great Britain, was the colonists’ reaction to King George’s III new policy of control over all of British North America.  Upon gaining new land from France following the French and Indian War, King George and the Parliament enforced a firm command of the colonies and ended one hundred years of salutary neglect.  With the Sugar Act, Stamp Act, Townshend Acts, Tea Act, Quartering Act, and Intolerable Acts the colonists began to abandon their previously peaceful methods of protest such as petition, boycott, and committees and turned to violence.  In September of 1774, twelve of the thirteen colonies met in Philadelphia to discuss the fact that the Intolerable Acts were unconstitutional.  The colonists defended that they had the same civil rights as the English and that they would boycott all English goods.  Tensions continued to mount between the colonies and Britain, and as a result, the Congress vowed to meet again in May of the following year in the event that no agreement had been reached.

In June of 1776, Thomas Jefferson, along with, Richard Henry Lee, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Robert Livingston, and Roger Sherman, drafted The Declaration of Independence (Klos). The Declaration of Independence opened with a preamble that described the reasons that the colonists had taken steps to overthrow their ruler in order to declare independence.  The document clearly outlined a numbered 27 abuses that the colonists had suffered under British rule since 1763, the end of the French and Indian War.  The declaration listed the fact that the king had incorporated a tyrannical authority in the place of a representative government.  Furthermore, the colonists stated that they felt that the involvement of the Parliament had resulted in the destruction of self-rule.  Finally, the colonists argued that the king had taken specific actions to abandon the colony and leave no choice for the colony but to wager war.  The colonists claimed that in refusing to protect the colonies’ borders and in confiscating American ships, Britain was attempting to destroy America ( these strong accusations the thirteen colonies proceeded to wager war on their motherland, and so was the beginning of The Revolutionary War.

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