Declaration of Independence (Great Events from History: North American Series)
Article abstract: The document that marked the beginning of the United States of America, embodying the philosophies of the republic.
Summary of Event
The Declaration of Independence was the culmination of a ten-year drift by the colonies from active participants in the British Empire to rebellious advocates of a total break with the mother country. This decade of accelerating estrangement was fueled by fundamental disagreement over the Proclamation Line of 1763, the Sugar Act and Currency Act (1764), the Stamp Act and Quartering Act (1765), the 1766 Declaratory Act, the 1767 Townshend Acts, the Boston Massacre (1770), the Tea Act and Boston Tea Party (1773), the 1774 Coercive Acts, and the 1775 clash at Lexington and Concord.
In the opening months of 1776, the colonists faced a momentous decision. Should they content themselves with a return of British authority as it existed prior to 1763, or should they irrevocably sever all political ties with, and dependence upon, Great Britain? Since Great Britain was unwilling to give them that choice, offering instead only abject surrender to parliamentary sovereignty, Americans in increasing numbers concluded that complete independence, not merely autonomy within the British Empire, must be their goal. Many of the undecided were won over to defiance of the Crown as a result of Parliament’s Prohibitory Act, which called for a naval blockade of the colonies, the...
(The entire section is 1372 words.)
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Declaration of Independence (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
Since its creation in 1776, the Declaration of Independence has been considered the single most important expression of the ideals of U.S. democracy. As a statement of the fundamental principles of the United States, the Declaration is an enduring reminder of the country's commitment to popular government and equal rights for all.
The Declaration of Independence is a product of the early days of the Revolutionary War. On July 2, 1776, the Second Continental Congresshe legislature of the American coloniesoted for independence from Great Britain. It then appointed a committee of five/p>
JOHN ADAMS, BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, THOMAS JEFFERSON, ROGER SHERMAN, and Robert R. Livingstono draft a formal statement of independence designed to influence public opinion at home and abroad. Because of his reputation as an eloquent and forceful writer, Jefferson was assigned the task of creating the document, and the final product is almost entirely his own work. The Congress did not approve all of Jefferson's original draft, however, rejecting most notably his denunciation of the slave trade. Delegates from South Carolina and Georgia were not yet ready to extend the notion of inalienable rights to African Americans.
On July 4, 1776, the day of birth for the new country, the CONTINENTAL CONGRESS approved the Declaration of Independence on behalf of the people living in...
(The entire section is 1278 words.)