History: The Declaration of Independence
The Declaration of Independence is the formal document that declared the independence of the United States from Great Britain. By this document, the thirteen states that formed the United States effectively severed their connection with their colonial masters, the Great Britain. On the request of President John Adams, it was originally drafted by Thomas Jefferson and later adopted by the continental congress on July 4, 1776. This day is celebrated in the United States as Independence Day.
The 1776 Declaration of Independence outlined the grievances of the United States against King George III, putting forth a formidable reason why the United States should be independent. After about 14 months of struggle with their colonial masters, the United States decided to break its ties with Great Britain. On the 10th day of June, 1776, the Congress appointed a five-man Committee to draft the statement of independence for the thirteen colonies that formed the United States. The Committee was presented by Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Robert R Livingstone and Roger Sherman. The wording of the document was done by Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson then submitted the draft to Thompson, Adams, and Franklin, who made slight changes in its wording before presenting it to the Congress on the July 2. The Congress revised the draft on July 3rd and 4th, and on the afternoon of July 4th, 1776, the Congress formally adopted the Declaration of Independence.
The Declaration of Independence came hot on the heels of the Lee Resolution, which was the actual resolution of Independence made by the Congress on July 2nd. The Declaration of Independence capped it up, and set forth a number of issues, which have become the cornerstones of many documents that deal with human rights. The second sentence of the document, for example, features in many human rights documents. It asserts the existence of certain unalienable rights in all human beings, and it lists these rights as life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.
However, the main argument of the Declaration of Independence centered on the grievances, which the people of the United States proclaimed against the British Crown. The people of the United States had a number of complaints to the British Crown, and it all had to do with the step that King George had taken to reject reconciliation and hire foreign mercenaries against the colonies. The Declaration had many parts, but its backbone was the indictment, which contained the particulars that documented the repeated usurpations and injuries, which the King had inflicted on the rights and liberties of Americans. The document presented a long list of things that the then King of Great Britain had done to undermine the rights and liberties of the American people, starting with the fact that he had refused to assent to laws that were necessary for the public good. In essence, the Declaration of Independence affirmed the severing of all colonial ties of the United States with Great Britain and gave a number of reasons to justify this move.
The Declaration of Independence has had a profound influence on the political history of the world. Many documents have borrowed from its wording and tone. Among the documents that have borrowed from the Declaration of Independence are the French “Declaration of the Rights of Man” and the “Declaration of Sentiments” by the women’s movement.
Indeed, the Declaration of Independence served many more purposes than just to declare the dissolution of the colonial connection between the United States and the Great Britain. It also served as a preamble to several other documents that expressed similar sentiments about the rights of a human being. Thus, the voice of the Declaration of Independence rang throughout the world.
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