The Declaration of Independence

by Thomas Jefferson

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What were two grievances listed in the Declaration of Independence?

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The Declaration of Independence lists numerous grievances against Britain's King George III. Two key complaints include the king's refusal to assent to laws of "immediate and pressing importance", thereby hindering self-governance, and his insistence on maintaining "Standing Armies" in the colonies during peacetime without colonial approval, seen as a direct threat to the colonies.

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The Declaration of Independence, which was ratified on July 4, 1776, presents a list of grievances held by the American colonists against Britain's King George III. There are actually twenty-seven grievances. Let's look at just a few of them to get you started.

For one thing, the colonists were disgusted that the king had forbidden colonial governors “to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance” without his assent. Then he neglected to pay attention to the laws presented to him and assent to them. This was a major attack on self-government in the eyes of the colonists, and it made it very difficult to pass necessary laws for the good of the people and the colonies. The king even refused to assent to some laws that were much needed “for the public good.”

Another major grievance held by the colonists was the king's insistence upon keeping “Standing Armies” in the colonies even in peacetime and without the consent of colonial governments. This was a threat to the colonies, the colonists believed. The king also brought in more soldiers, many “foreign Mercenaries,” to perform “works of death, desolation and tyranny” against the colonies.

The colonists protested, too, against royal interference with the colonial legislatures and judges, the restriction of trade, the imposition of taxes, and the capture of colonists at sea with the intent of forcing them “to bear Arms against their Country.”

We can see, then, that the colonists had plenty of complaints against the king, and because of these, they declared their independence from Britain and their intention to start a new country.

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