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The Declaration of Independence (1776) - 06/28/2013

On June 7, 1776,  Richard Henry Lee  brought what came to be called the Lee Resolution before the Continental Congress. This resolution stated “these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states…” Congress debated independence for several days. Four days later, a committee made up of  John Adams , Benjamin Franklin ,  Roger Sherman , Robert R. Livingston, and  Thomas Jefferson  was given the job of drafting a formal declaration of independence. The Committee of Five gave the task of writing the declaration to Jefferson. The declaration contained 3 sections: a general statement of natural rights theory and the purpose of government, a list of grievances against the British King, and the declaration of independence from England. More than 20 years later, the  Second ,  Third ,  Fourth , and  Sixth Amendments  to the Constitution would contain prohibitions against the government to prevent the same forms of tyranny as were listed as grievances. Jefferson’s writing was influenced by  George Mason’s   Virginia Declaration of Rights , as well as by his study of natural rights theory and the writings of John Locke, including Two Treatises of Government. Jefferson’s draft was edited by Franklin and Adams, and the final draft was presented to Congress just over two weeks later. On July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress voted to declare independence from England. Congress made se...

The Declaration of Independence (1776)

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