The American Declaration of Independence

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On May 10 of 1775 the Second Continental Congress gathered in Philadelphia, one month after American s begain fighting with the British. There, delegates from each of the 13 colonies would decide on independence. A Declaration of Independence was required to state why the 13 colonies were separating from the British Empire. With this, POW's could demand to be treated as prisoners instead of traitors and aid coul d be sought from Britain's enemies. The Declaration of Independence consisted of the preamble, the middle section and a section declaring independence. The most important part, the preamble, justifies the rights of the American citizens. It declar es that "men are created equal[and]...are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." That sentence still remains a truth with the Americans today. Jefferson wrote the preamble with the help of John Locke and Rousteu. Within the preamble Jefferson writes that the people, "to secure these rights...whenever any form of government becomes destructive...it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it." It gives the people of America the freedom to impeach untrustworthy rulers and dictators if they wish to. The freedom that Thomas Jefferson gave us is still in practice today. The middle section justified why the colonists were revolting against the Britis h Empire. Here Jefferson writes that the King of Great Britain "is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations." He reminds the reader that the King has refused to allow the Governors to pass important laws "necessary for the public good," obstru cted the administration and that the king is sending over large armies to "complete the works of death." The third section officially declares independence in writing. The entire effort to complete the Declaration of Independence was done by Thomas Jefferso n, John Adams, Ben Franklin, Roger Sherman and Robert Livingston. In order to pass the declaration all of the representatives had to vote yes for independence.

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In one of the earlier drafts a statement roughly 175 words gave black slaves independence . The south however did not agree and threatened not to pass the declaration. Knowing that nothing would get done if it was not passed, John Adams gave up the war to allow for that to clause remain in the declaration. The declaration was officiall in effect on July 4, 1776.


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