Declaration of Independence

In 1776, an important document was adopted by the Continental Congress in the city of Philadelphia. What is the name of this famous document/ The Declaration of Independence. Who was the author of this Declaration? Thomas Jefferson of Virginia.
Let us now look at some of the events leading up to this important action by the original thirteen colonies. About 16 years before the Declaration, King George III came to the throne in Britain and he and his ministers decided on a series of measures that raised serious complaints from the Colonies. Some of these actions were:
(1) reserving to the King the disposal of all lands west of a certain line(2) the Sugar Act which put heavy import taxes on sugar and other products(3) the Stamp Act which decreed that all paper transactions in the Colonieswere required to have a revenue stamp placed thereon(4) the Quartering Act which required the Colonists to house and feedBritish troops stationed in the Colonies.(5) the Customs Collecting Act which involved sending British agents to theColonies to collect custom fees and other duties.(6) the Tea Act which taxed and regulated the importing of tea into the Colonies.
This last act caused tremendous protests particularly in Massachusetts where Colonists dressed as Indians raided a ship loaded with tea and dumped it overboard.King George and his ministers undertook to punish the people of Massachusetts and closed the port of Boston. The King also cancelled the Charter of the colony and sent troops to root out the leaders of the colony, particularly John Hancock and Samuel Adams.
British troops were sent to Concord to nab Adams and Hancock and capture a store of ammunition and arms the Colonists had stored there. This maneuver caused the midnight ride of Paul Revere to warn the Colonists.
When British soldiers arrived at Lexington, they found a small body of Massachusetts “Minutemen” drawn up on the village green. They did not disperse on orders of the British Commander. A shot was fired and general shooting began and eight of the militiamen lay dead and the Revolutionary War was begun. The British soldiers then marched to Concord where they were met at the North Bridge by more townspeople and militiamen. As Ralph Waldo Emerson put it in his famous poem:
By the rude bridge that arched the floodHere freedom’s flag was first unfurledHere the embattled farmers stoodAnd fired the shot heard ‘round the world.
As soon as this word got around to the other colonies, a Second Continental Congress was convened in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was decided that an army was needed to defend the Colonies and George Washington was named “Commander-in-Chief.”
Up until this time no thought had been given to separation from the mother country, but now the question of independence was raised. Thomas Paine, a great writer of that day, wrote a pamphlet called Common Sense. In this, he called for independence, saying, “Everything that is right or natural pleads for separation. The sun never shone on a cause of greater worth. Now is the seed time of continental union, faith and honor. Ye that dare oppose not only tyranny but the tyrant, stand forth now.”
Richard Henry Lee of Virginia, a delegate to the Continental Congress, made the motion “that these Colonies are and of right ought to be free and independent states and that all political connection between them and Great Britain be totally dissolved.”
A committee of Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, John Adams of Massachusetts, Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, Robert Livingston of New York and Roger Sherman of Connecticut were named to draw up a Declaration. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were delegated to write this great document. After two months of debate, the Declaration of Independence was approved and signed by delegates from all 13 colonies. John Hancock was the first to sign, writing his name in large letters, so, as he put it, King George could read it without his spectacles.
This was July 4th, 1776, a day that will live in history and in the hearts of the American people as long as the world stands. Every American owes a debt of gratitude to these 60 brave and determined men who signed the Declaration and agreed to stand forth as free men against the tyrant and the oppressor. Listen carefully to the words contained in the final paragraph of this immortal document.
And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm relianceon the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledgeto each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.
No one can pledge more.

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