Who, in the Declaration of Independence, did the colonies say they wanted to be independent from?  

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The colonists were declaring independence from Great Britain in the Declaration of Independence. All of the colonies had been part of the British Empire before the Revolutionary War, and in fact there was considerable debate among the members of the Second Continental Congress (and society as a whole) over whether they should declare independence, even though the colonies had been at war with the British for more than a year. In the Declaration, the colonists argued that the British government had violated their rights, both as British subjects and as human beings, and that they therefore had the right to sever their political ties with the mother country. The document was issued in the midst of the Revolutionary War, and American independence was not a reality until the Treaty of Paris of 1783. 

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