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The Declaration of Independence

In June of 1776, a committee of the Second Continental Congress consisting of John Adams of Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, Robert R. Livingston of New York, and Roger Sherman of Connecticut (the "Committee of Five") was formed to draft a suitable declaration to frame this resolution.

Follow along on page 152 in your text to aid your understanding!!!


The Declaration of Independence

  • 1) Introduction
  • Justify Rebellion.

The Declaration of Independence

  • 2) What We Want:
  • \
  • All men are created equal!
  • Life, Liberty & Pursuit of Happiness
  • Be Able to Vote!

3) What We DO NOT Like:

    • - Taxes, or Acts without a voice
    • - One judge, no jury

In June of 1776, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia was the first delegate to propose independence to the committee.


4) Conclusion:

a. We consider ourselves a separate Nation (U.S.A.)

b. Will sacrifice everything (lives/ fortunes) for freedom!

"Spirit of '76." Copy of painting by Archibald M. Willard, 1876.



Thomas Jefferson did not write the Declaration of Independence in one sitting, nor were the ideas solely his. After writing the initial draft, sixteen changes were made by John Adams and Ben Franklin. Then, the other two members of the committee chosen to write the document, Robert Lexington and Roger Sherman, met with Jefferson, Adams and Franklin, and made 31 more changes. Finally it was taken to the Continental Congress where they added and subtracted whole paragraphs (including one that blamed the King for the continued use of slaves in the colonies). In all, the Continental Congress made 39 more changes before the annoyance of horseflies and hot July weather convinced them to call it a finished copy on July 4th, 1776. If you weren't adding as you went, that is a total of 86 changes from what Thomas Jefferson created during his two weeks of writing!