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Road to Revolution
Declaration of Independence
- The second continental congress appointed five men to create, and draft the
document. – June 11, 1776
- Thomas Jefferson – Virginia (author)
- John Adams – Massachusetts
- Benjamin Franklin – Pennsylvania
- Robert Livingston - New York
- Roger Sherman – Connecticut
- June 28, 1776, the five men presented the document to congress. It was
called, "A Declaration by the Representatives of the United States of
America, in General Congress assembled."
- By July 2, 1776, congress had voted to declare independence.
- On July 4, 1776 congress voted to accept the final draft of the document
and the Declaration was signed.
- The Declaration can be broken into 5 main parts.
- Opening Sentence - Why the document was written
- Preamble - The rights all people should have
- Charges against King George – What the king did that was fair to
the colonies
- Disappointment - King George did not realign with colonists
- Declaring of Independence – There are conditions that exist where
people must change there government.
- Opening Sentence –
“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.”
- Preamble – Considered by many to be the most important section. Makes
claims towards what rights people have and what rights people
“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
Road to Revolution
Declaration of Independence
accordingly all experience hath shown, 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
- “All men…” – at the time when the declaration was written,
power was give to free land owning men.
- “… are created equal…” – implying that congress believed
in a higher aw, higher than the king’s, and that the king and his
people were equal under this law.
- “… endowed by their creator…” – the creator was known at
this time to be God.
- “… life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…” - the rights
with which all people are born with and these rights should
never be taken away. (John Locke)
- “… just powers…” – the authority given to the government.
- “…consent of the governed…” – the permission given to the
government by the people to protect their rights.
- “… to institute a new government…” - meant that the
colonies were using their right to free themselves from
England, and were now to be known as a new government.