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The declaration of independence in global perspective, by david armitage.
The Declaration was addressed as much to "mankind" as it was to the population of the colonies. In the opening paragraph, the authors of the Declaration—Thomas Jefferson, the five-member Congressional committee of which he was part, and the Second Continental Congress itself—addressed "the opinions of Mankind" as they announced the necessity for
. . . one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them. . . .
After stating the fundamental principles—the "self-evident" truths—that justified separation, they submitted an extensive list of facts to "a candid world" to prove that George III had acted tyrannically. On the basis of those facts, his colonial subjects could now rightfully leave the British Empire. The Declaration therefore "solemnly Publish[ed] and Declare[d], That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be, FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES" and concluded with a statement of the rights of such states that was similar to the enumeration of individual rights in the Declaration’s second paragraph in being both precise and open-ended:
. . . that as FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which INDEPENDENT STATES may of right do.
This was what the Declaration declared to the colonists who could now become citizens rather than subjects, and to the powers of the earth who were being asked to choose whether or not to acknowledge the United States of America among their number.
The final paragraph of the Declaration announced that the United States of America were now available for alliances and open for business. The colonists needed military, diplomatic, and commercial help in their revolutionary struggle against Great Britain; only a major power, like France or Spain, could supply that aid. Thomas Paine had warned in Common Sense in January 1776 that "the custom of all courts is against us, and will be so, until by an independence, we take rank with other nations." So long as the colonists remained within the empire, they would be treated as rebels; if they organized themselves into political bodies with which other powers could engage, then they might become legitimate belligerents in an international conflict rather than treasonous combatants within a British civil war.
The Declaration of Independence was primarily a declaration of interdependence with the other powers of the earth. It marked the entry of one people, constituted into thirteen states, into what we would now call international society. It did so in the conventional language of the contemporary law of nations drawn from the hugely influential book of that title (1758) by the Swiss jurist Emer de Vattel, a copy of which Benjamin Franklin had sent to Congress in 1775. Vattel’s was a language of rights and freedom, sovereignty and independence, and the Declaration’s use of his terms was designed to reassure the world beyond North America that the United States would abide by the rules of international behavior. The goal of the Declaration’s authors was still quite revolutionary: to extend the sphere of European international relations across the Atlantic Ocean by turning dependent colonies into independent political actors. The historical odds were greatly against them; as they knew well, no people had managed to secede from an empire since the United Provinces had revolted from Spain almost two centuries before, and no overseas colony had done so in modern times.
The other powers of the earth were naturally curious about what the Declaration said. By August 1776, news of American independence and copies of the Declaration itself had reached London, Edinburgh, and Dublin, as well as the Dutch Republic and Austria. By the fall of that year, Danish, Italian, Swiss, and Polish readers had heard the news and many could now read the Declaration in their own language as translations appeared across Europe. The document inspired diplomatic debate in France but that potential ally only began serious negotiations after the American victory at the Battle of Saratoga in October 1777. The Franco-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce of February 1778 was the first formal recognition of the United States as "free and independent states." French assistance would, of course, be crucial to the success of the American cause. It also turned the American war into a global conflict involving Britain, France, Spain, and the Dutch Republic in military operations around the globe that would shape the fate of empires in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Ocean worlds.
The ultimate success of American independence was swiftly acknowledged to be of world-historical significance. "A great revolution has happened—a revolution made, not by chopping and changing of power in any one of the existing states, but by the appearance of a new state, of a new species, in a new part of the globe," wrote the British politician Edmund Burke. With Sir William Herschel’s recent discovery of the ninth planet, Uranus, in mind, he continued: "It has made as great a change in all the relations, and balances, and gravitation of power, as the appearance of a new planet would in the system of the solar world." However, it is a striking historical irony that the Declaration itself almost immediately sank into oblivion, "old wadding left to rot on the battle-field after the victory is won," as Abraham Lincoln put it in 1857. The Fourth of July was widely celebrated but not the Declaration itself. Even in the infant United States, the Declaration was largely forgotten until the early 1790s, when it re-emerged as a bone of political contention in the partisan struggles between pro-British Federalists and pro-French Republicans after the French Revolution. Only after the War of 1812 and the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815, did it become revered as the foundation of a newly emergent American patriotism.
Imitations of the Declaration were also slow in coming. Within North America, there was only one other early declaration of independence—Vermont’s, in January 1777—and no similar document appeared outside North America until after the French Revolution. In January 1790, the Austrian province of Flanders expressed a desire to become a free and independent state in a document whose concluding lines drew directly on a French translation of the American Declaration. The allegedly self-evident truths of the Declaration’s second paragraph did not appear in this Flemish manifesto nor would they in most of the 120 or so declarations of independence issued around the world in the following two centuries. The French Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen would have greater global impact as a charter of individual rights. The sovereignty of states, as laid out in the opening and closing paragraphs of the American Declaration, was the main message other peoples beyond America heard in the document after 1776.
More than half of the 192 countries now represented at the United Nations have a founding document that can be called a declaration of independence. Most of those countries came into being from the wreckage of empires or confederations, from Spanish America in the 1810s and 1820s to the Soviet Union and the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s. Their declarations of independence, like the American Declaration, informed the world that one people or state was now asserting—or, in many cases in the second half of the twentieth century re-asserting—its sovereignty and independence. Many looked back directly to the American Declaration for inspiration. For example, in 1811, Venezuela’s representatives declared "that these united Provinces are, and ought to be, from this day, by act and right, Free, Sovereign, and Independent States." The Texas declaration of independence (1836) likewise followed the American in listing grievances and claiming freedom and independence. In the twentieth century, nationalists in Central Europe and Korea after the First World War staked their claims to sovereignty by going to Independence Hall in Philadelphia. Even the white minority government of Southern Rhodesia in 1965 made their unilateral declaration of independence from the British Parliament by adopting the form of the 1776 Declaration, though they ended it with a royalist salutation: "God Save the Queen!" The international community did not recognize that declaration because, unlike many similar pronouncements made during the process of decolonization by other African countries, it did not speak on behalf of all the people of their country.
Invocations of the American Declaration’s second paragraph in later declarations of independence are conspicuous by their scarcity. Among the few are those of Liberia (1847) and Vietnam (1945). The Liberian declaration of independence recognized "in all men, certain natural and inalienable rights: among these are life, liberty, and the right to acquire, possess, and enjoy property": a significant amendment to the original Declaration’s right to happiness by the former slaves who had settled Liberia under the aegis of the American Colonization Society. Almost a century later, in September 1945, the Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh opened his declaration of independence with the "immortal statement" from the 1776 Declaration: "All men are created equal. They are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness." However, Ho immediately updated those words: "In a broader sense, this means: All the peoples of the earth are equal from birth, all the peoples have a right to live, to be happy and free." It would be hard to find a more concise summary of the message of the Declaration for the post-colonial predicaments of the late twentieth century.
The global history of the Declaration of Independence is a story of the spread of sovereignty and the creation of states more than it is a narrative of the diffusion and reception of ideas of individual rights. The farflung fortunes of the Declaration remind us that independence and popular sovereignty usually accompanied each other, but also that there was no necessary connection between them: an independent Mexico became an empire under a monarchy between 1821 and 1823, Brazil’s independence was proclaimed by its emperor, Dom Pedro II in 1822, and, as we have seen, Ian Smith’s Rhodesian government threw off parliamentary authority while professing loyalty to the British Crown. How to protect universal human rights in a world of sovereign states, each of which jealously guards itself from interference by outside authorities, remains one of the most pressing dilemmas in contemporary politics around the world.
So long as a people comes to believe their rights have been assaulted in a "long Train of Abuses and Usurpations," they will seek to protect those rights by forming their own state, for which international custom demands a declaration of independence. In February 2008, the majority Albanian population of Kosovo declared their independence of Serbia in a document designed to reassure the world that their cause offered no precedent for any similar separatist or secessionist movements. Fewer than half of the current powers of the earth have so far recognized this Kosovar declaration. The remaining countries, among them Russia, China, Spain, and Greece, have resisted for fear of encouraging the break-up of their own territories. The explosive potential of the American Declaration was hardly evident in 1776 but a global perspective reveals its revolutionary force in the centuries that followed. Thomas Jefferson’s assessment of its potential, made weeks before his death on July 4, 1826, surely still holds true today: "an instrument, pregnant with our own and the fate of the world."
David Armitage is the Lloyd C. Blankfein Professor of History and Director of Graduate Studies in History at Harvard University. He is also an Honorary Professor of History at the University of Sydney. Among his books are The Declaration of Independence: A Global History (2007) and The Age of Revolutions in Global Context, c. 1760–1860 (2010).
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Declaration of Independence
Thomas Jefferson is considered the primary author of the Declaration of Independence , although Jefferson's draft went through a process of revision by his fellow committee members and the Second Continental Congress.
HOW THE DECLARATION CAME ABOUT
America's declaration of independence from the British Empire was the nation's founding moment. But it was not inevitable. Until the spring of 1776, most colonists believed that the British Empire offered its citizens freedom and provided them protection and opportunity. The mother country purchased colonists' goods, defended them from Native American Indian and European aggressors, and extended British rights and liberty to colonists.
In return, colonists traded primarily with Britain, obeyed British laws and customs, and pledged their loyalty to the British crown. For most of the eighteenth century, the relationship between Britain and her American colonies was mutually beneficial. Even as late as June 1775, Thomas Jefferson said that he would "rather be in dependence on Great Britain, properly limited, than on any nation upon earth, or than on no nation." 
But this favorable relationship began to face serious challenges in the wake of the Seven Years' War. In that conflict with France, Britain incurred an enormous debt and looked to its American colonies to help pay for the war. Between 1756 and 1776, Parliament issued a series of taxes on the colonies, including the Stamp Act of 1765, the Townshend Duties of 1766, and the Tea Act of 1773. Even when the taxes were relatively light, they met with stiff colonial resistance on principle, with colonists concerned that “taxation without representation” was tyranny and political control of the colonies was increasingly being exercised from London. Colonists felt that they were being treated as second-class citizens. But after initially compromising on the Stamp Act, Parliament supported increasingly oppressive measures to force colonists to obey the new laws. Eventually, tensions culminated in the shots fired between British troops and colonial militia at Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775.
Despite the outbreak of violence, the majority of colonists wanted to remain British. Only when King George III failed to address colonists' complaints against Parliament or entertain their appeals for compromise did colonists begin to consider independence as a last resort. Encouraged by Thomas Paine ’s pamphlet, “Common Sense,” more and more colonists began to consider independence in the spring of 1776. At the same time, the continuing war and rumors of a large-scale invasion of British troops and German mercenaries diminished hopes for reconciliation.
While the issue had been discussed quietly in the corridors of the Continental Congress for some time, the first formal proposal for independence was not made in the Continental Congress until June 7, 1776. It came from the Virginian Richard Henry Lee, who offered a resolution insisting that "all political connection is, and ought to be, dissolved" between Great Britain and the American colonies.  But this was not a unanimous sentiment. Many delegates wanted to defer a decision on independence or avoid it outright. Despite this disagreement, Congress did nominate a drafting committee—the Committee of Five (John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Robert Livingston, and Roger Sherman)—to compose a declaration of independence. Thomas Jefferson, known for his eloquent writing style and reserved manner, became the principal author.
Podcast: The Declaration of Independence and The Committee of Five
As we approach 250th anniversary of American Independence in 2026, explore more about the Committee of Five — five delegates from five colonies—John Adams of Massachusetts, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, Robert Livingston of New York, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, and Thomas Jefferson of Virginia— selected to draft the document we know as the Declaration of Independence.
As he sat at his desk in a Philadelphia boarding house, Jefferson drafted a "common sense" treatise in “terms so plain and firm, as to command [the] assent” of mankind.  Some of his language and many of his ideas drew from well-known political works, such as George Mason's Declaration of Rights. But his ultimate goal was to express the unity of Americans—what he called an "expression of the american mind"—against the tyranny of Britain. 
Pressured by the news that a fleet of British troops lay off the coast of New York, Congress adopted the Lee resolution of independence on July 2nd, the day which John Adams always believed should be celebrated as American independence day, and adopted the Declaration of Independence explaining its action on July 4.
The Declaration was promptly published, and throughout July and August, it was spread by word of mouth, delivered on horseback and by ship, read aloud before troops in the Continental Army, published in newspapers from Vermont to Georgia, and dispatched to Europe. The Declaration roused support for the American Revolution and mobilized resistance against Britain at a time when the war effort was going poorly.
The Declaration provides clear and emphatic statements supporting self-government and individual rights, and it has become a model of such statements for several hundred years and around the world.
PRINTING AND SIGNING THE DECLARATION
Contrary to popular belief, the Declaration of Independence was not signed on July 4th, the day it was officially adopted by the Continental Congress.
On the evening of July 4, 1776, a manuscript copy of the Declaration of Independence was taken to Philadelphia printer, John Dunlap. By the next morning, finished copies had been printed and delivered to Congress for distribution. The number printed is not known, though it must have been substantial; the broadsides were distributed by members of Congress throughout the Colonies. Post riders were sent out with copies of the Declaration, and General Washington, then in New York, had several brigades of the army drawn up at 6 p.m. on July 9 to hear it read. The Declaration was read from the balcony of the State House in Boston on July 18 but did not reach Georgia until mid-August. Twenty-five original copies of what is referred to as the "Dunlap Broadside" are still in existence.
By July 9 all thirteen colonies had signified their approval of the Declaration, and so on July 19 Congress was able to order that the Declaration be "fairly engrossed on parchment. . .and that the same, when engrossed, be signed by every member of Congress." Timothy Matlack is believed to be the person who printed this version of the Declaration. On August 2nd the document was ready, and the journal of the Continental Congress records that "The declaration of Independence being engrossed and compared at the table eas signed."
In time, 56 delegates would sign the “original” engrossed version (including several who had not been present on July 4th).
Following the signing, it is believed that the document accompanied the Continental Congress during the Revolution and remained with government records following the war. During the War of 1812, it was kept at a private residence in Leesburg, Virginia, and during World War II it was housed at Fort Knox. Today, the original document is kept in the National Archives in Washington, D.C.
THE LEGACY OF THE DECLARATION
Before Americans were American, they were British. Before Americans governed themselves, they were governed by a distant British king and a British Parliament in which they had no vote. Before America was an independent state, it was a dependent colony. Before Americans expressed support for equality, their government and society were aristocratic and highly hierarchical. These transformations were complex, but the changes owe a great deal to the Declaration of Independence of 1776, what has been properly termed “America’s mission statement.”
AN AMERICAN PEOPLE
In its opening lines, the Declaration made a radical statement: America was “one People." On the eve of independence, however, the thirteen colonies had been separate provinces, and colonists' loyalties were to their individual colonies and the British Empire rather than to each other. In fact, only commercial and cultural ties with Britain served to unify the colonies. Yet the Declaration helped to transform South Carolinians, Virginians, New Yorkers and other colonists into Americans.
A NEW SYSTEM OF GOVERNANCE
The Declaration announced America's separation from one of the world's most powerful empires: Britain. Parliament's taxes imposed without American representation, along with King George III's failure to address or ease his subjects' grievances, made dissolving the "bands which have connected them" not just a choice, but an urgent necessity. As the Declaration made clear, the "long train of abuses and usurpations" and the tyranny exhibited "over these States" forced the colonists to "alter their former system of Government." In such circumstances, Jefferson explained that it was the people’s “right, it was their duty,” to throw off the repressive government. Under the new "system," Americans would govern themselves.
CLOSER TO EUROPE
America did not secede from the British Empire to be alone in the world. Instead, the Declaration proclaimed that an independent America had assumed a "separate and equal station" with the other "powers of the earth." With this statement, America sought to occupy an equal place with other modern European nations, including France, the Dutch Republic, Spain, and even Britain. America's independence signaled a fundamental change: once-dependent British colonies became independent states that could make war, create alliances with foreign nations, and engage freely in commerce.
The Declaration proclaimed a landmark principle—that "all men are created equal." Colonists had always seen themselves as equal to their British cousins and entitled to the same liberties. But when Parliament passed laws that violated colonists' "inalienable rights" and ruled the American colonies without the "consent of the governed," colonists concluded that as a colonial master Britain was the land of tyranny, not freedom. The Declaration sought to restore equal rights by rejecting Britain's oppression.
THE "SPIRIT OF ‘76"
The principles outlined in the Declaration of Independence promised to lead America—and other nations on the globe—into a new era of freedom. The revolution begun by Americans on July 4, 1776 would never end. It would inspire all peoples living under the burden of oppression and ignorance to open their eyes to the rights of mankind, to overturn the power of tyrants, and to declare the triumph of equality over inequality. Thomas Jefferson recognized as much, preparing a letter for the fiftieth anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration less than two weeks before his death, he expressed his belief that the Declaration
be to the world what I believe it will be, (to some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all.) the Signal of arousing men to burst the chains, under which Monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings & security of self government. the form which we have substituted restores the free right to the unbounded exercise of reason and freedom of opinion. all eyes are opened, or opening to the rights of man. the general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth that the mass of mankind has not been born, with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of god. these are grounds of hope for others. for ourselves let the annual return of this day, for ever refresh our recollections of these rights and an undiminished devotion to them. 
- Allen, Danielle S. Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality . New York: Liveright Publishing, 2014.
- Armitage, David. The Declaration of Independence: A Global History . Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2007. An examination of the Declaration of Independence from a global perspective.
- Boyd, Julian P. The Declaration of Independence: The Evolution of the Text . Issued in conjunction with an exhibit of these drafts at the Library of Congress on the two hundredth anniversary of the birth of Thomas Jefferson. Washington: Library of Congress, 1943. Reprinted 1945, 1999. Contains facsimiles of the known extant drafts of the Declaration.
- Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Principles of Freedom: The Declaration of Independence and the American Revolution . This extensive site includes an excellent timeline of the creation and signing of the Declaration.
- DuPont, Christian Y. and Peter S. Onuf, eds. Declaring Independence: The Origin and Influence of America's Founding Document: Featuring the Albert H. Small Declaration of Independence Collection . Charlottesville, Va.: University of Virginia Library, 2008.
- Ellis, Joseph J., ed. What Did the Declaration Declare? Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 1999.
- Gerber, Scott Douglas. The Declaration of Independence: Origins and Impact . Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2002. A useful book discussing documents which influenced the Declaration, and also other documents influenced by the Declaration.
- Hazelton, John H. The Declaration of Independence: Its History . New York: Dodd, Mead, & Co., 1906. Reprinted 1970 by Da Capo Press. In-depth look at the creation of the Declaration of Independence. An appendix contains transcriptions of contemporary letters and annotations on the various drafts and changes to the Declaration.
- Maier, Pauline. American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence . New York: Knopf, 1997. An excellent scholarly overview of the creation of the Declaration.
- National Archives. America's Founding Documents. " The Declaration of Independence ." The National Archives presents a rich set of material on the Declaration, including transcripts and articles on the creation and history of the Declaration.
- Milestone Documents In The National Archives. The Declaration of Independence . National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C., 1992. Focuses on the history of the engrossed parchment after 1776.
- The Declaration of Independence read by Jefferson interpreter Bill Barker
- Thomas Jefferson Foundation. The Monticello Classroom. "Jefferson and the Declaration of Independence" . An article written for elementary- and middle-school-level readers.
- Look for more sources in the Thomas Jefferson Portal on the Declaration of Independence
July 4th Speakers at Monticello
- ^ Jefferson to John Randolph, August 25, 1775. Transcription available at Founders Online.
- ^ Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789 , ed. Worthington C. Ford et al. (Washington, D.C., 1904-37), 5:425 .
- ^ Jefferson to Henry Lee, May 8, 1825. Transcription available at Founders Online.
- ^ Enclosure with Jefferson to Robert Walsh, December 4, 1818, in Ford 10:120n .
- ^ Jefferson to Roger Chew Weightman, June 24, 1826. Transcription available at Founders Online.
- Declaration of Independence by Binns (Engraving)
- Declaration of Independence Desk
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Text of the Declaration of Independence
Note: The source for this transcription is the first printing of the Declaration of Independence, the broadside produced by John Dunlap on the night of July 4, 1776. Nearly every printed or manuscript edition of the Declaration of Independence has slight differences in punctuation, capitalization, and even wording. To find out more about the diverse textual tradition of the Declaration, check out our Which Version is This, and Why Does it Matter? resource.
WHEN in the Course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the Separation. 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 to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient Causes; and accordingly all Experience hath shewn, that Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security. Such has been the patient Sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the Necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The History of the present King of Great-Britain is a History of repeated Injuries and Usurpations, all having in direct Object the Establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid World. He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public Good. He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing Importance, unless suspended in their Operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them. He has refused to pass other Laws for the Accommodation of large Districts of People, unless those People would relinquish the Right of Representation in the Legislature, a Right inestimable to them, and formidable to Tyrants only. He has called together Legislative Bodies at Places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the Depository of their public Records, for the sole Purpose of fatiguing them into Compliance with his Measures. He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly Firmness his Invasions on the Rights of the People. He has refused for a long Time, after such Dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the Dangers of Invasion from without, and Convulsions within. He has endeavoured to prevent the Population of these States; for that Purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their Migrations hither, and raising the Conditions of new Appropriations of Lands. He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers. He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the Tenure of their Offices, and the Amount and Payment of their Salaries. He has erected a Multitude of new Offices, and sent hither Swarms of Officers to harrass our People, and eat out their Substance. He has kept among us, in Times of Peace, Standing Armies, without the consent of our Legislatures. He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power. He has combined with others to subject us to a Jurisdiction foreign to our Constitution, and unacknowledged by our Laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation: For quartering large Bodies of Armed Troops among us: For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from Punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States: For cutting off our Trade with all Parts of the World: For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent: For depriving us, in many Cases, of the Benefits of Trial by Jury: For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended Offences: For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an arbitrary Government, and enlarging its Boundaries, so as to render it at once an Example and fit Instrument for introducing the same absolute Rule into these Colonies: For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments: For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with Power to legislate for us in all Cases whatsoever. He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us. He has plundered our Seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our Towns, and destroyed the Lives of our People. He is, at this Time, transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the Works of Death, Desolation, and Tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and Perfidy, scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous Ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized Nation. He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the Executioners of their Friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands. He has excited domestic Insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the Inhabitants of our Frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known Rule of Warfare, is an undistinguished Destruction, of all Ages, Sexes and Conditions. In every stage of these Oppressions we have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble Terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated Injury. A Prince, whose Character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the Ruler of a free People. Nor have we been wanting in Attentions to our British Brethren. We have warned them from Time to Time of Attempts by their Legislature to extend an unwarrantable Jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the Circumstances of our Emigration and Settlement here. We have appealed to their native Justice and Magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the Ties of our common Kindred to disavow these Usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our Connections and Correspondence. They too have been deaf to the Voice of Justice and of Consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the Necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of Mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace, Friends. We, therefore, the Representatives of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World for the Rectitude of our Intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly Publish and Declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be, Free and Independent States; that they are absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political Connection between them and the State of Great-Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.
Signed by Order and in Behalf of the Congress, JOHN HANCOCK, President.
Attest. CHARLES THOMSON, Secretary.
America's Founding Documents
Declaration of Independence: A Transcription
Note: The following text is a transcription of the Stone Engraving of the parchment Declaration of Independence (the document on display in the Rotunda at the National Archives Museum .) The spelling and punctuation reflects the original.
In Congress, July 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
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 to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Robert Treat Paine
Back to Main Declaration Page
The Declaration of Independence
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The Declaration of Independence is arguably one of the most influential documents in American History. Other countries and organizations have adopted its tone and manner in their own documents and declarations. For example, France wrote its 'Declaration of the Rights of Man' and the Women's Rights movement wrote its ' Declaration of Sentiments '. However, the Declaration of Independence was actually not technically necessary in proclaiming independence from Great Britain .
History of the Declaration of Independence
A resolution of independence passed the Philadelphia Convention on July 2. This was all that was needed to break away from Britain. The colonists had been fighting Great Britain for 14 months while proclaiming their allegiance to the crown. Now they were breaking away. Obviously, they wanted to make clear exactly why they decided to take this action. Hence, they presented the world with the 'Declaration of Independence' drafted by thirty-three-year-old Thomas Jefferson .
The text of the Declaration has been compared to a 'Lawyer's Brief'. It presents a long list of grievances against King George III including such items as taxation without representation, maintaining a standing army in peacetime, dissolving houses of representatives, and hiring "large armies of foreign mercenaries." The analogy is that Jefferson is an attorney presenting his case before the world court. Not everything that Jefferson wrote was exactly correct. However, it is important to remember that he was writing a persuasive essay, not a historical text. The formal break from Great Britain was complete with the adoption of this document on July 4, 1776.
Mercantilism was the idea that colonies existed for the benefit of the Mother Country. The American colonists could be compared to tenants who were expected to 'pay rent', i.e., provide materials for export to Britain. Britain's goal was to have a greater number of exports than imports allowing them to store up wealth in the form of bullion. According to mercantilism, the wealth of the world was fixed. To increase wealth a country had two options: explore or make war. By colonizing America, Britain greatly increased its base of wealth. This idea of a fixed amount of wealth was the target of Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations(1776). Smith's work had a profound effect on the American founding fathers and the nation's economic system.
Events Leading to the Declaration of Independence
The French and Indian War was a fight between Britain and France that lasted from 1754-1763. Because the British ended in debt, they began to demand more from the colonies. Further, parliament passed the Royal Proclamation of 1763 which prohibited settlement beyond the Appalachian Mountains.
Beginning in 1764, Great Britain began passing acts to exert greater control over the American colonies which had been left more or less to themselves until the French and Indian War. In 1764, the Sugar Act increased duties on foreign sugar imported from the West Indies. A Currency Act was also passed that year banning the colonies from issuing paper bills or bills of credit because of the belief that the colonial currency had devalued the British money. Further, in order to continue to support the British soldiers left in America after the war, Great Britain passed the Quartering Act in 1765. This ordered colonists to house and feed British soldiers if there was not enough room for them in the barracks.
An important piece of legislation that really upset the colonists was the Stamp Act passed in 1765. This required stamps to be purchased or included on many different items and documents such as playing cards, legal papers, newspapers, and more. This was the first direct tax that Britain had imposed on the colonists. The money from it was to be used for defense. In response to this, the Stamp Act Congress met in New York City. 27 delegates from nine colonies met and wrote a statement of rights and grievances against Great Britain. In order to fight back, the Sons of Liberty and Daughters of Liberty secret organizations were created. They imposed non-importation agreements. Sometimes, enforcing these agreements meant tarring and feathering those who still wished to purchase British goods.
Events began to escalate with the passage of the Townshend Acts in 1767. These taxes were created to help colonial officials become independent of the colonists by providing them with a source of income. Smuggling of the affected goods meant that the British moved more troops to important ports such as Boston. The increase in troops led to many clashes including the famous Boston Massacre .
The colonists continued to organize themselves. Samuel Adams organized the Committees of Correspondence, informal groups that helped spread information from colony to colony.
In 1773, parliament passed the Tea Act, giving the British East India Company a monopoly to trade tea in America. This led to the Boston Tea Party where a group of colonists dressed as Indigenous people dumped tea from three ships into Boston Harbor. In response, the Intolerable Acts were passed. These placed numerous restrictions on the colonists including the closing of Boston Harbor.
Colonists Respond and War Begins
In response to the Intolerable Acts, 12 of the 13 colonies met in Philadelphia from September-October, 1774. This was called the First Continental Congress. The Association was created calling for a boycott of British goods. The continuing escalation of hostility resulted in violence when in April 1775, British troops traveled to Lexington and Concord to take control of stored colonial gunpowder and to capture Samuel Adams and John Hancock. Eight Americans were killed at Lexington. At Concord, the British troops retreated losing 70 men in the process.
May 1775 brought the meeting of the Second Continental Congress. All 13 colonies were represented. George Washington was named the head of the Continental Army with John Adams backing. The majority of delegates were not calling for complete independence at this point so much as changes in British policy. However, with the colonial victory at Bunker Hill on June 17, 1775, King George III proclaimed that the colonies were in a state of rebellion. He hired thousands of Hessian mercenaries to fight against the colonists.
In January 1776, Thomas Paine published his famous pamphlet entitled "Common Sense." Up until the appearance of this extremely influential pamphlet, many colonists had been fighting with the hope of reconciling. However, he argued that America should no longer be a colony to Great Britain but instead should be an independent country.
Committee to Draft the Declaration of Independence
On June 11, 1776, the Continental Congress appointed a committee of five men to draft the Declaration: John Adams , Benjamin Franklin , Thomas Jefferson, Robert Livingston, and Roger Sherman. Jefferson was given the task of writing the first draft. Once complete, he presented this to the committee. Together they revised the document and on June 28 submitted it to the Continental Congress. The Congress voted for independence on July 2. They then made some changes to the Declaration of Independence and finally approved it on July 4.
Declaration of Independence Study Questions
- Why have some called the Declaration of Independence a lawyer's brief?
- John Locke wrote about the natural rights of man including the right to life, liberty, and property. Why did Thomas Jefferson change "property" to "the pursuit of happiness" in the Declaration text?
- Even though many of the grievances listed in the Declaration of Independence resulted from acts of Parliament, why would the founders have addressed all of them to King George III?
- The original draft of the Declaration had admonitions against the British people. Why do you think that those were left out of the final version?
- Brief History of the Declaration of Independence
- Major Events That Led to the American Revolution
- Biography of Samuel Adams, Revolutionary Activist and Philosopher
- America's Most Influential Founding Fathers
- American Revolution: Boston Tea Party
- American Revolution: The Stamp Act of 1765
- The Root Causes of the American Revolution
- American Revolution: The Intolerable Acts
- Top 10 Things to Know About John Adams
- History and Founding of Virginia Colony
- Continental Congress: History, Significance, and Purpose
- What Led to the Boston Tea Party?
- The History of British Taxation in the American Colonies
- Europe and the American Revolutionary War
- Patrick Henry
- The Founding of the Massachusetts Bay Colony
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Home — Essay Samples — History — Declaration of Independence — An Analysis of the Declaration of Independence and Its Use
An Analysis of The Declaration of Independence and Its Use
- Categories: American History Declaration of Independence
About this sample
Table of contents
Declaration of independence outline, declaration of independence essay example, introduction.
- Introduction to the importance of literature materials in recording American history
- Mention of The Declaration of Independence as a historical document
Summary of The Declaration of Independence
- Overview of the historical context and reasons for its creation
- Brief description of the main tenets of the document
Analysis of the Document
- Discussion of the document as a response to British tyranny
- Influence of Enlightenment ideas on the Declaration
- Role of Thomas Jefferson as the main author and leader
- Highlighting the oppression faced by Americans and the need for political representation
Limits and Exclusions in the Declaration
- Mention of the document's exclusion of women and minorities
- Discussion of their mistreatment and lack of representation
- Recap of the document's significance in recording American history
- Acknowledgment of its influence and limitations
Summary of the Declaration of Independence
The analysis of the document.
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Declaration Of Independence - Essay Samples And Topic Ideas For Free
The Declaration of Independence, signed on July 4, 1776, is a fundamental document that proclaimed the thirteen American colonies’ independence from British rule. An essay on this topic could explore the historical context leading to its adoption, its philosophical underpinnings, and its influence on the American Revolution and subsequent world events. Additionally, discussions could delve into its enduring legacy and its interpretation over time. We have collected a large number of free essay examples about Declaration of Independence you can find in Papersowl database. You can use our samples for inspiration to write your own essay, research paper, or just to explore a new topic for yourself.
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Essay About The Declaration of Independence The Declaration of Independence is one of the most important documents in American history. It led to the Revolutionary war and the Americans gaining their independence. However, there is a lot more in the document than the Americans just simply declaring they were going to break away from Britain. The document has three main sections with its own purpose and meaning: The first section stating America’s philosophy, the second section with a list of the American’s grievances, and the third section stating the colonies were now independent. The committee of writers not only wanted to declare the Americans were splitting from Britain but also set down some ideas and beliefs for our soon to come government. This committee of writers consisted of Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Robert Livingston, Roger Sherman. The first section consists of the first and second paragraphs. In these paragraphs, the Americans started with an introduction and stated their philosophy. Much of their philosophy is influenced by the Enlightenment years of the 17th and 18th centuries, where we adopted many ideas from English philosopher, John Locke. The committee starts the introduction of the document by stating that it is necessary that the Americans break away from Britain. They wrote, “it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them to another.” Following this, the committee affirms that we possess certain rights. These are the rights of the committee derived from the writings of John Locke. The committee writes in the declaration, “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. This means that all individuals are born equal and have certain God-given rights. You’re unable to give up your natural rights, even if you want too. The writers thought these rights to be obviously true, so they did not defend them. They go one to state ideas of the social contract that America will now be run the American people themselves, and that we have the right to rebel against Britain. The declaration states, “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government.” The second section focuses on a twenty-seven specific set of grievances against Britain and the king. The committee wrote these to prove that Britain has lost their right to rule by consent. One of the grievances was, “for imposing taxes on us without our consent.” This was written because of the acts Britain placed on the colonies, like the Stamp Act or Tea Act. The writers also added an economic grievance, “For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world.” They wrote this against the British trade policy. The policy was supposed to make the colonies dependent on Britain. Therefore, Britain did not allow the colonies to trade with any other nation. The last grievance I will explain is, “He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.’ After the French and Indian War, the British soldiers did not return to Britain. Instead they stayed in the colonies, where the Americans were required by law to quarter the troops. The soldiers had no real reason to stay in the colonies with the war over. However, Britain kept them there even without the consent of the colonies. Every grievance listed in the Declaration of Independence is a reason why the Americans wanted to break away from Britain. After the listed grievances, the committee writes, “We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury.” This tells us that this was not the first time the Americans have made petitions for these grievances. They made a humble request that Britain would change their laws, but Britain just denied their request. The third section consists of the last two paragraphs. One of the statements in the paragraphs states, “We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.” The committee is telling Britain that they are now considered enemies by the people of the colonies. The last paragraph concludes that the document will serve as a record, that the Americans want complete separation from Britain. The committee writes, “That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved. This tells us that all connections between the colonies and Britain are ended. The colonies are now independent and govern themselves. The committee goes on to write that the colonies now have powers and responsibilities: Going to war, negotiating peace, and forming alliances. The declaration states, “as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which the Independent States may of right do.” Last, the committee concludes the Declaration of Independence saying, “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.” The committee references God in this statement, saying they are trusting in him to protect them. This statement also shows us that the signers of the Declaration fully support the document. They are willing to put their life, money and honor on the line to gain their independence.
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The Many Versions of the Declaration of Independence
Posted: November 8, 2023 | Last updated: November 8, 2023
When we think of the Declaration of Independence, the image that often comes to mind is the parchment with signatures at the National Archives. But did you know there were many different versions created in 1776?
I didn’t realize just how many there were until I visited the first printed version of it at Liberty Hall in Pennsylvania.
The Original Drafts
Thomas Jefferson wrote the original draft of the Declaration of Independence in June 1776. Several rough drafts exist in Jefferson’s own handwriting, showing cross outs and revisions.
These are incredible artifacts that provide insight into Jefferson’s thought process as he drafted one of history’s most influential texts.
Clean copies were made to share with Continental Congress delegates. These drafts are located at the Library of Congress, American Philosophical Society, and other institutions.
The Dunlap Broadside
Late on July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress approved the final text of the Declaration. That night, printer John Dunlap was tasked with printing the first official broadside.
About 200 were made and distributed throughout the colonies the next day. 26 copies of this iconic printing are known to exist today at institutions like the Liberty Hall, Library of Congress, National Archives, and Yale University.
No version was sent to King George III.
Early Newspaper Printings
On July 6, 1776, the Pennsylvania Evening Post became the first newspaper to print the Declaration. Other papers like the Massachusetts Spy (July 17) and Pennsylvania Journal (July 10) soon followed. These versions spread the text far and wide in the days after July 4.
The Signed Parchment
The official Declaration was carefully engrossed on parchment in early August 1776 and signed by 56 delegates over the next months.
There are actually slight differences between the handwritten and printed versions.
This iconic document travelled with the Continental Congress during the Revolutionary War. Today it is displayed at the National Archives.
Other broadsides and engravings were created in later years. Mary Katherine Goddard printed an important broadside with the list of signers in January 1777.
In 1820s, William J. Stone created the engraving that became the basis for most modern reproductions.
What is the original Deceleration of Independence?
The first printed version is the Dunlap Broadside. Singed by John Handcock and his secretary. It’s unclear what handwritten version the printers used. The signing didn’t come until after the printed version. Was it the one sent to the printers, or another copy? That bit may have been lost in history.
Either way, I encourage you to see both if you can. It’s amazing to stand in front of.
The post The Many Versions of the Declaration of Independence appeared first on DayTripper .
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Declaration of Independence – Constitution Research Paper
Introduction, role of ethics.
King George III was in charge of the British Monarch when Britain’s power was unmatched (Brooke, 1972). New lands were discovered and the empire set up colonies virtually everywhere in the world. Thomas Jefferson in making the case for American independence listed a number of abuses by the King on the colonies that he believed gave impetus to the struggle for American independence (Bernsten, 2005, p. 78).
Jefferson said that the abuses had been aimed at the colonies for purposes of establishing tyrannical government in North America. Some of the abuses that King George is accused of committing involve taxation with little representation, the sugar act, the tea act, and the quartering act.
Jefferson listed 27 abuses that the thirteen colonies suffered under the monarchy. The first twelve abuses dealt with the denial of the colonies of the right to establish representative governments. He did so by the rejection of the laws proposed by the colonies.
The king directed the dissolution of colonial bodies of representation and in their place took the ministers. He also increased his meddling in the judicial process as well as the rights of the colonies. He was also accused of exalting the power of the military over civilian besides forcing civilians to support the military (Bernsten, 2005, p. 98).
Thirteen to 22 abuses describe in detail the use of parliament by the King to destroy the colonies’ right to independence. Parliament under the Kings guidance enacted laws that were unfriendly to the colonies according to Jefferson. The taxes levied taxes that discouraged trade, quartered troops, and levied taxes without colonial authority approval. Some of the legislations had taken away judicial freedom and the right to be tried by a jury.
The other five abuses according to Jefferson included the use of military force by the King on the colonies. The King unleashed his army and hired mercenaries on the colonies, destroyed the colonies ships and assets and kidnapped the citizen and forced then to compulsory British military service.
In the new republic, the American constitution sought to prevent the occurrence of such acts by pursuing the doctrine of the separation of power. The doctrine advocates for the separation and independence of the legislature, executive judiciary branches of government (Pendergast, et al. 2001, p. 100).
This was done primarily to stop the abuse of power as had been witnessed during King George’s time. The drafters of the constitution envisioned the system as one that would have introduced them necessary checks and balances that were crucial for the prevention of abuse of power.
The first ten amendments addressed the issues that had led to the abused witnessed during King George’s time (Pendergast, et al. 2001, p. 80). These included the freedom of religion, press, assembly, and petition. There was also the right to posse’s arms, lodging soldiers in private homes, resumption of jury trials, reservation of power to the states, no unreasonable search and seizure, no cruel punishment and the enumerated rights.
The US constitution is hyped as the greatest document that human beings have ever written (Williams, 2004, p. 35). It could not be great were it not for the ethics that governed the process and the people involved. The founding fathers of the nation including Adams and Jefferson were guided by principles that were characterized by selflessness.
Ethics ensured the documents that were drafted were all-encompassing and applied to all of the United States. Ethics also helped in guiding the foundling fathers to avoid the mistakes that had been committed the King.
Bernsten, J.T. (2005 ). Thomas Jefferson . Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Brook, J. (1972). King George III . London: McGraw-Hill.
Pendergast et al. (2001). Constitutional Amendments: Amendments 18-26, and the un-ratified amendments . New York: UXL.
Williams, J. K. (2004). The U.S. Constitution . New York: Compass point books.
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Declaration of Independence Research Paper
United States Declaration of Independence , formally The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America, which was ratified by the Continental Congress on 4 July 1776, declares the 13 North American colonies independence from Great Britain. The document also reasons their right to do so.
The Declaration of Independence was written largely by Thomas Jefferson, America’s future third president. Jefferson was inspired by the English philosopher and social critic John Locke and some parts are almost verbatim Locke’s own words.
The document says that all men are created equal with inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
The words have come to stand as a symbol of the principles of American society is founded on.
It was read out loud the first time outside Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, July 8, 1776, and when the very first U.S. flag, sewn by Betsy Ross, was elevated.
The Declaration of Independence began the American Revolutionary War, after which Britain recognized the colonies’ independence on Sept.
The 4th of July is America’s national day. The document can be viewed in the National Archives in Washington, DC.
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The Declaration of United States of America’s Independence was big leap for all of its subordinates as well as that of other nations. Through this declaration of independence, the people of America were able to regain their freedom and live out of the shadow of Great Britain. Even if the process was very long and needed too much time, effort, attention and wisdom, still the thirst for freedom was stronger than any other things. In addition, numerous nations also based their declarations and movements with what America had done. Way back on the 4th of July 1776, American states colonized by Great Britain declared themselves as free and announced that they are independent from the British Empire; this is the origin of the statement “United States Declaration of Independence”. The declaration was actually made from the month of June to July of the year 1776 and was only ratified on the aforementioned date. It was signed by 56 Continental Congress delegates with Thomas Jefferson as the prime author. This declaration has been the proof and tangible announcement that indeed United States of America is finally separated from the then powerful, Great Britain. Initially, the declaration was published in Dunlap broadside and was read and distributed for the public to read. Several versions had also been published and the best one was now displayed as the official document in the National Archives in the city of Washington. Moreover, there had been several issues regarding the Declaration since many had tried to interpret it. The Declaration contained the grievances of United States towards King George III as well as the assertions on the legal and natural rights which included that of the revolutions rights. The declaration has also been used by different personalities and politicians such as Abraham Lincoln which even made it as part of the Gettysburg address way back in 1863. In addition, it became a permanent part of the paper regarding human rights in which the second sentence stated “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 things are pursuit of happiness.”; this very popular and meaningful sentence is said to encompass the “most potent and consequential words in American history” as well as acknowledged to be the “one of the best known sentences in the English language”. Furthermore, the second sentence became the representation of the vision and mission of the United States which was liberally endorsed by Abraham Lincoln. Abraham Lincoln is also known to made use of the Declaration as his basis for his principles as well as his philosophies when it comes to politics. The Declaration of Independence has also been the inspiration of several countries such as West Africa, Spanish America, central Europe, Balkans and Caribbean in writing their independence’s documents during the 18th era. Looking back in 1775, Thomas Jefferson once stated “Believe me, dear Sir: there is not in the British Empire a man who more cordially loves a union through Great Britain than I do. Nonetheless, thru the God who created me, I will cease to exist before I yield to a connection on such languages like that of the British Legislature proposition; and in this, I think I speak the sentiments of America.” During these times, the thirteen colonies of United States of America was in war already with the Great Britain; it actually all started with the failure of having good relationships during the year 1763 where the “Seven Year’s War” happened. The war made Great Britain buried in liabilities and debits which led the Parliament to pull a motion of increasing the thirteen colonies’ tax revenues. But then again, some of the colonies began to have a different point of view on the matter; colonies were against the decision of the Parliament in issuing taxes on them which made it harder for both the American and British dispute wider and harder to compromise with. Bringing back the times of the “Glorious Revolution” during 1688, the British Empire had its full support to whatever the Parliament would decide on since they believed that everything they state was very constitutional. However, it did not hold true for the thirteen colonies and they only thought of that the fundamental rights brought up by the British Constitution is something that both the parliament and government couldn’t revoke. Most of the essayists and observers then began to question the real deal of the Parliament against the thirteen colonies. With all this malicious happening within the Commonwealth of British government, Thomas Jefferson with James Wilson and Samuel Adams came into their senses to argue with the Parliament that these body of people only represents the needs and rights of Great Britain alone because there was this faithfulness to the Crown disregarding the rights of the thirteen colonies.
Way to Independence
So as the Americans moved their way to independence, in the year 1776, Thomas Paine who wrote the “Common Sense” pamphlet was able to argue with regards to the independence of the thirteen colonies and successfully be in favor of the republicanism to be an unconventional to hereditary as well as monarchies rule. What made the “Common Sense” a very important tool in the independence of America is that it successfully stimulated the presence of public debates to discuss issues and disseminate information. With the presence of Thomas Paine’s Common sense, the people had gained their courage and supported the separation of Great Britain and America more liberally. Colonists then became knowledgeable of Parliament's track regarding the Prohibitory Act and in 1776; they successfully made American ships to be enemy vessels and even made a huge line of defense of American harbors. One person who has been very encouraging regarding the independence believed that Parliament was very successful in declaring, even before the congress was able to do it, the independence of the American people; this theory was made by John Adams. Congress was deficient in having the strong authority to proclaim it notwithstanding this developing widespread sustenance for independence. Delegates were nominated to Congress together with elected assemblies, ad hoc committees, and extralegal conventions primarily bounded by the instructions set to be followed strictly. Representatives were not able to vote to pronounce independence except if their information was a permitted action. As a matter of fact, more than a few colonies specifically forbidden their representatives from compelling any steps en route for split-up from Great Britain; also, despite the fact that other entrustments had commands that were indefinite on the subject matter they still didn’t allow their comrades to do anything without command. Supporters of independence hunted to obligate the Congressional commands to be reviewed. Declaring independence required two things: first is that at least a member of the colonial government was granted the instruction to do the proposed delegation and the other is that there was a need for authorization of permission to vote for the delegated persons. Many Americans officially expressed their sustenance for split-up from Great Britain wherein there was effectively local declarations and state of independence in the movement to brush up Congressional commands. Even Pauline Maier acknowledged such pronouncements that were distributed throughout April to July 1776 in regards to Thirteen Colonies. Unfortunately, some associations apprehended from recommending independence which comprised those from Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey and New York as well as Pennsylvania. Supporters of independence realized that Pennsylvania could have been the key to all of the struggles; if that association could be transformed to the pro-independence source, it was thought that the others would keep an eye on. John Adams transcribed the preamble which contained the fact that because King had forbidden reconciliation as well as engagement foreign band of soldiers to use in contradiction of the associations, "it is necessary that the exercise of every sort of authority beneath the said crown had better be totally inhibited". The preamble predestined to inspire the revolution of the governments are both Maryland and Pennsylvania and were still under branded supremacy. Adams had efficaciously regarded his preamble successfully as a declaration of American independence even though a formal pronouncement was expected to be completed. Likewise, within the same time frame, Virginia Convention made an official Congressional pronouncement of independence. The Connecticut Assembly in 14th of June 1776, instructed its delegates to propose independence; moreover, on the next day those legislators of both Delaware and New Hampshire became authorized to be their delegates to declare independence. A manuscript illuminating the pronouncement was written while concurrently, the political choreography was setting the phase for an authorized affirmation of independence. There was even a commission prearranged by the congress to drawn from a keg the declaration namely: Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Virginia: Thomas Jefferson, Massachusetts: John Adams, New York: Robert Livingston and Pennsylvania: Benjamin Franklin. There is some uncertainty about how the conscripting process progressed in which explanations written voluminous years far along by both Jefferson and Adams are not fully reliable and somehow contradicting. Congress turned its attention to the committee's draft of the declaration after voting in favor of the resolution of independence.
The document of the United States Declaration of Independence contains and explains the following: Introduction gives an overview of the assertion made based on the Natural Law of ability that people will eventually assume independence on the political aspect. In addition, the grounds and explanations for aiming for independence is taken into account given that they are reasonable and can therefore are considered as understandable with the goal to be clearly illuminated for people to understand. Next is the preamble which gives a complete and comprehensive outline of every philosophy that people had for aiming independence and justifying their means, having rebellions and revolutions, in time when the government already passed their limits of abusing the rights of humans. Third would be the indictment which clearly elaborates the documentation of the monarch’s repetitive usurpations of the independences and rights of every American citizen. Fourth is the denunciation wherein it clearly states the deductions of every possible reason for independence; it also elaborates on the case of independence and that there is a clear motive, determination and justification for the choice of American people to have revolution. Lastly is the conclusion which narrates that the signatories emphasize that there take place state of affairs under which the general public requisite to have a modification in their administration; also, there should be a elucidation on the matter regarding the British who ought to create such settings, in addition to through inevitability the associations must chuck off politically aware stalemates together with British Crown as well as turn out to be self-governing states. The assumption contains and in adeptly comprehensive that the Lee Resolve was passed formally on the 2nd of July.
Foner, Eric. “Give Me Liberty!” W.W. Norton and Company Inc., (2010). http://www.wwnorton.com/college/history/give-me-liberty3-brief/ch/01/outline.aspx Lucas, Stephen. “The Stylistic Artistry of the Declaration of Independence.” The Charters of Freedom, n.d. http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_transcript.html Mayer, David. The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism. SAGE Publications, 2008. https://books.google.com/books?id=yxNgXs3TkJYC The Library of Congress. “A Century of Law making for A new Nation: U.S Congressional Documents and Debates, 1774-1875.” Journal of the Continental Congress (May 1776). http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/hlaw:@field(DOCID+@lit(jc004109)) Thomas, Jefferson. “Declaration of Independence. In Congress, July 4, 1776, a Declaration by the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress Assembled.” World Digital Library (n.d). https://www.wdl.org/en/item/109/ TimeToast. “20 important events in the United States History until 1877.” TimeToast (2015). http://www.timetoast.com/timelines/20-important-events-in-u-s-history-before-1877
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‘I’m Not Superwoman’: Philadelphia’s Likely Mayor Urges Teamwork
Cherelle Parker, a former City Council member, is poised to become the first woman to lead America’s sixth-biggest city. Her to-do list is daunting.
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By David W. Chen
Reporting from Philadelphia
As one urban gardener after another beseeched Cherelle Parker to prevent the green spaces that they had spent years nurturing from being gobbled up by developers, she furiously took notes in her trademark spiral notebook and barely said a word.
Eventually, Ms. Parker, the Democratic nominee for mayor, did address the neighborhood groups that had gathered on a chilly afternoon at Las Parcelas garden in north central Philadelphia. Yes, she would convene as many stakeholders as possible to come up with a solution. But a savior she was not.
“I’m not Superwoman — I can’t fix everything up by myself,” she said as nearby construction clanged in the background. “I want to manage expectations.”
Ms. Parker was talking about Philadelphia’s 450 community gardens, but she might as well have been referring to her 142-square-mile hometown.
On Tuesday, Ms. Parker, a 51-year-old former state representative and City Council member, is favored to be elected mayor of Philadelphia and to be the first woman to lead the city and its 1.6 million residents.
Should she win, she would have four years — or more likely eight, given that each of the last five mayors, all Democrats, won two terms — to grapple with the challenges bedeviling the nation’s poorest big city , headlined by gun violence, opioid overdoses and crumbling and chronically underfunded public schools.
As a Black woman who was the daughter of a teenage mother and is now the mother of a Black son, Ms. Parker has said that she can relate to the everyday struggles faced by many of her neighbors.
She has pledged to hire hundreds more police officers and bring back what she called “constitutional” stop-and-frisk, and she has been open in asking for help from the National Guard to tackle the open-air drug market that has made shootings common in the Kensington neighborhood.
But with two-thirds of Philadelphians saying that the city is on the wrong track, what many residents say they want from their next leader, as much as any policy blueprint to navigate the city’s ills, is optimism and energy.
Symbolism, after all, has always suffused a city whose history as a cornerstone of American democracy is so central to its identity. And Ms. Parker, as Philadelphia’s 100th mayor, would be the face of the city in 2026, when the country celebrates the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.
“She’s very charming, she’s very charismatic — a calming presence,” said Cait Allen, president of the Queen Village Neighbors Association, which represents a historic and affluent area not far from Independence Hall. Citing Ms. Parker’s winning pitch in the intensely fought Democratic primary to make Philadelphia the “safest, cleanest, greenest city” in the country, Ms. Allen, 37, said, “She was the candidate who seemed to prioritize reality over philosophy.”
Ms. Parker would succeed Mayor Jim Kenney, who is leaving office after two terms. Early in his tenure, Mr. Kenney shepherded in a soda tax to help fund pre-K education. More recently, the city’s finances have stabilized, and its bond rating has been upgraded .
But against the wearying backdrop of the pandemic, Mr. Kenney’s second term has been overshadowed by the civil unrest following the killing of George Floyd and by the proliferation of gun violence, such as a mass shooting in July that was exacerbated by a botched police response .
In an interview, Mr. Kenney, 65, said that “there’s a cultural shift that needs to be made.”
He added, “Not that I’m not progressive or that I’m not understanding of people of color’s struggles, but I’m still a white man.”
Ms. Parker is a former English teacher from northwest Philadelphia who has a strong working relationship with Gov. Josh Shapiro, a fellow Democrat. She will no doubt be integral to her party’s efforts to bolster turnout for President Biden, Senator Bob Casey and other Democrats in 2024, when Pennsylvania could affect the balance of power in the White House and Congress.
Asked in an interview which mayors she hoped to emulate, she mentioned three: Maynard Jackson of Atlanta, for his stressing of economic opportunities; Sharon Weston Broome of Baton Rouge, who told Ms. Parker not to abandon “ chemistry for credentials ”; and Eric Adams of New York, for prioritizing “emotional intelligence ” among members of his staff.
“I do not like to see folks engaging in what I call ‘I know what’s best for you people’ policymaking,” she said. “Change is not supposed to happen to a community. Change happens in partnership with a community.”
Her Republican opponent, David Oh, a former colleague on the City Council, would also make history if he pulled off an upset, becoming the city’s first Asian American mayor.
A lifelong Philadelphian like Ms. Parker, Mr. Oh, 63, a former prosecutor, has mounted a spirited and unorthodox campaign , aimed at wooing immigrants, to overcome the daunting math in which registered Democrats vastly outnumber Republicans.
In an interview outside City Hall, after a flag-raising ceremony commemorating the 100th anniversary of Turkey as a republic, Mr. Oh noted his embracing of some positions to the left of Ms. Parker, such as limiting the use of stop-and-frisk. And unlike Ms. Parker, who counts the powerful building trade unions as a strong supporter , Mr. Oh opposes a proposed new basketball arena for the 76ers in downtown Philadelphia that local activists say would devastate Chinatown.
He was disappointed, though, that Ms. Parker had only agreed to one debate.
“It’s not about winning the election,” he said. “It’s about communicating to the voters. We must engage them in order to lift their spirits and put them behind a vision and a solution.”
At a stylish coffee shop in a gentrifying part of West Kensington, Al Boyer, 24, and Alex Pepper, 38, both baristas, cited the opioid crisis and gun violence as top priorities for the next mayor.
One man with a needle hanging out of his neck had recently died from an overdose across the street from the coffee shop. Just a few blocks away, groups of homeless people lay sleeping under blankets on the sidewalk along Kensington Avenue.
Mr. Pepper said he supports establishing drug consumption sites supervised by medical and social workers — something Ms. Parker opposes. Still, Mr. Pepper said he would vote for her.
“The lesser of two evils,” he said.
Joel Wolfram contributed reporting.
David W. Chen reports on state legislatures, state-level policy making and the political forces behind them. More about David W. Chen