The Declaration of Independence was written to show a new theory of government, reasons why they were separating from England, and a formal declaration of war. It gave the 13 colonies freedom from England’s laws. The man responsible for writing the Declaration was Thomas Jefferson. He wrote the Declaration between June 11, 1776 and June 28, 1776. Benjamin Franklin and John Adams looked at what Jefferson had written and made some changes to the Declaration. On July 4, 1776 Congress adopted the Declaration and it was signed by:
John Hancock, Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton, Wm Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn, Edward Rutledge, Thos Heyward Jr., Thomas Lynch Jr., Arthur Middleton, Samuel Chase, Thos. Stone , George Wythe, Charles Carrol of Carrollton, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thos Nelson Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton, Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross, Caesar Rodney, George Read, Tho M. Kean, Wm. Floyd, Phil. Livingston, Frans. Lewis, Lewis Morris, Richard Stockton, Jno.WItherspoon, Fras. Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark, Josiah Bartlett, Wm. Whipple, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry, Stephan Hopkins, William Ellery, Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, Wm. Williams, Oliver Wolcott, and Matthew Thorton.
The reason people wanted the Declaration was that the people thought that they had the right to be free from England and to be their own individual colonies with their own laws. Other things leading up to independence were that the British government had committed acts that many colonists believed violated their rights as English subjects. Also, that colonial blood had already been shed trying to defend these rights. The French & Indian War was the war that shed colonists’ blood to defend their rights.
The Declaration of Independence served three major purposes.
1. Preamble and reasons for separation.
Among the reasons for the separation were statements about the king, George III. It said that he was a harsh and evil king and that the colonists shouldn’t have to be under his rule. It also said that the citizens were patient, submissive, and long-suffering people. These statements were made to win the public support of the people for the Declaration.
2. A theory of government.
In this part of the Declaration, Jefferson stated the basic principles of democracy. They were “all men are created equal, They are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights; . . . among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”. The purpose of the government was to secure these rights.
3. A formal declaration of war.
This basically stated that war did exist. If the Patriots failed to win independence, the leaders of the revolution could be judged guilty of treason against the British Crown and executed.
The result of the Declaration of Independence was that colonists gained their freedom. They had freedom of religion and had a better government. Look at the world today and see what it has accomplished. Blacks and women now have just as many rights as white men.
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