After the Declaration of Independence was created and signed, was there a major turning point in the US? What changed and what remained consistent from the period immediately before the Declaration to the period immediately following it?  

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The Declaration of Independence signaled the formal beginning of the Revolutionary War, with the Thirteen Colonies separating from Britain. In this respect, it was a critical moment in US History, representing the beginning of the Revolutionary War (and the beginning of the United States as a country).

At the same time, in practical terms, armed hostilities between Britain and the colonies had already began (the battles of Lexington and Concord were fought in 1775), and the history of tension between Britain and the colonies could be traced back even farther than that. The Declaration of Independence entailed a formal recognition and justification of a state of rebellion that (I think you can argue) preceded its existence. (In that respect, it simultaneously represents both a continuity and a turning point.)

At the same time, I would say some of the largest continuities could be found on the social and economic levels. After all, consider that a farmer would have been no less a farmer after joining the Revolution. In short, there are certain key elements of personal and collective identity that would have remained largely constant across both sides of the Revolutionary divide: matters of religion, occupation, and ethnic identity, to give a few examples.

Despite the fact that the revolution was a dramatic political transformation, I think there would have been powerful economic and social continuities running across the entire time-frame, largely consistent across both sides of that divide.

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Even after the fighting in the Revolutionary War had broken out in Lexington and Concord in April of 1775, many colonists hoped to reconcile with Great Britain. The Olive Branch Petition, passed by the Second Continental Congress on July 5, 1775, declared American loyalty to the mother country and asked the British king, George III, to avoid war. However, King George refused to read the petition and, with the Proclamation of Rebellion, declared the colonies to be in rebellion against Great Britain.

Public opinion began to turn against continued loyalty to Great Britain with the publication of Thomas Paine's Common Sense in January of 1776. However, Congress still lacked the ability to officially declare independence from Great Britain. Each colonial delegation needed explicit instructions to do so. From April to July of 1776, colonies and localities passed explicit declarations of independence from the mother country. In addition, in May of 1776, Congress passed a resolution asking colonies to create governments that could respond to the "exigencies of their affairs." The Virginia Convention, held in May and June of 1776, set the stage for the Declaration of Independence by declaring Virginia an independent state. Though the call for independence had been developing for a while, these maneuvers allowed the Second Continental Congress to pass the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. This marked a turning point because the colonies officially declared themselves sovereign and independent of Great Britain.

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The Declaration of Independence was clearly a turning point in United States History. The Declaration of Independence stated that we were no longer a part of the British Empire. It said we were free from British rule. We were now an independent country based on the words of the Declaration of Independence. We went from being British colonies and British citizens to having our own country and becoming American citizens.

What changed after the Declaration of Independence was that we were now at war with Great Britain. The British weren’t going to allow us to just walk away from British rule without a fight. As a result, the Revolutionary War began. We were now fighting for our freedom. The Second Continental Congress was now acting as our official government. While it was functioning as a form of government before the Revolutionary War, the British were still ruling us. Once we declared independence, the Second Continental Congress acted as our government. Thus, the Second Continental Congress was an example of a change since it was now our official government. However, it also is an example of what remained consistent because it was functioning as a form of government before we declared independence.

Once we declared independence, we were now responsible for many things that the British had done for us. We had to deal with other countries. We had to develop our system of money. We had to supply our army and train our troops. The British were doing many of these things before the Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence. These were significant changes for us.

We did continue to carry on our normal business before and after the Declaration of Independence. Our industries continued to make products, and our farms continue to produce various crops and farm products. Americans continued to believe in the ideals that a government must protect our rights and be of service to the people it represents. These were some ideas that remained constant before and after the Declaration of Independence was issued.

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