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Declaration of Independence. Intro. Apr 1775: Fighting breaks out in Lex . & Concord. Colonies send representatives to Philadelphia, convening the 2 nd continental congress. GW, Jefferson, Hancock, Franklin. Create the Continental Army Washington: Commander in Chief

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  • Apr 1775: Fighting breaks out in Lex. & Concord.
  • Colonies send representatives to Philadelphia, convening the 2nd continental congress.
    • GW, Jefferson, Hancock, Franklin.
    • Create the Continental Army
    • Washington: Commander in Chief
    • Col. make another attempt to make peace with Br.
    • The attempt failed, the following summer (1776) the Second Continental Congress approves the DOI, breaking off all ties with the mother country.

On June 7, the Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee introduced a motion calling for the colonies' independence before the Continental Congress when it met at the Pennsylvania State House (later Independence Hall) in Philadelphia.

  • The delegates appointed a five-man committee--including Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, John Adams of Massachusetts, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania and Robert R. Livingston of New York-to draft a formal statement justifying the break with Great Britain. That document would become known as the Declaration of Independence.
declaration of independence1
Declaration of Independence

Rough Draft of Declaration courtesy of

American Mind Collection

  • Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence.
  • It took him two weeks.
  • Congress voted to accept it on July 4, 1776.
five parts of the declaration
Five Parts of the Declaration
  • Preamble
  • Statement of the right of the people to control their government
  • Lists the tyrannical acts of the British King
  • Lists the efforts of the colonists to avoid separation
  • Declares the colonies free and independent
what is a preamble
What is a Preamble?
  • A preamble is an introductory statement.
  • The Preamble of the Declaration of Independence explains why the American colonists thought it necessary to Break away from England

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another…

statement of human rights
Statement of Human Rights

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

statement of human rights1
Statement of Human Rights
  • Government is formed to protect rights.
  • Britain no longer protecting colonists’ rights.
  • People have a right to change the government when it becomes destructive or is no longer effective.
charges against the king and parliament
Charges Against the King and Parliament
  • List of 27 tyrannical acts
  • Some of the complaints included:
      • Cutting off trade
      • Imposing taxeswithout consent
      • Depriving colonists of Trial by Jury
      • Keeping Standing Armies without consent of legislatures
efforts of the colonies to avoid separation
  • The colonists petitioned the king asking for changes
  • The colonists asked the British people for help
  • The colonists warned parliament of their injuries and insult and asked for change
the colonies declare themselves free and independent
The Colonies Declare Themselves Free and Independent
  • Colonies are united.
  • All connections with Great Britain are dissolved.
  • States have power and authority to:
      • Declare war
      • conclude peace
      • contract alliances
      • establish commerce (trade)
  • 56 men signed the document.
  • Oldest signer was Benjamin Franklin.(70)
  • The youngest was Edward Rutledge. (26)
  • Most famous was John Hancock.
  • Signers from New Jersey are: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

U.S. Capitol paintings. Signing of the Declaration of Independence, painting by John Trumbull in U.S. Capitol, detail with Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin II.

American Memory Collection:

Signing of the Declaration

declaration resources
Declaration Resources
  • Visit American Memory Collection:
  • Visit Library of Congress Top Treasures.
  • Visit Signers Fact Sheet courtesy of National Archives.
the document that changed a nation
The document that changed a nation.
  • This is a photo of the original Declaration.
  • It is exhibited in the Rotunda in Washington, DC.
  • It is extremely faded.
  • Photo is courtesy of National Archives.
chronology of events 1776
Chronology of Events1776
  • June 7: Congress meeting in Philadelphia, receives Richard Henry Lee’s resolution urging Congress to declare independence.
  • June 12-27: Jefferson, at the request of the committee (Adams, Franklin) drafts a declaration.
  • July 1-4: Congress debates and revises the DOI.
  • July 2: Congress declares independence.
  • July 4: Congress adopts the DOI. John Dunlap prints the DOI, “Dunlap Broadsides”.