Ch. 6 Sec. 2 Independence
Thomas Paine wrote an essay—Common Sense—urging the colonies to declare independence. Paine and other radicals—people who want to make drastic changes in society—began to think of creating their own nation. • Against Independence--Many colonists felt loyal to Britain. People felt they owed their allegiance to the king. For Independence--Colonists did not owe loyalty to George III or any other monarch. Colonists did not owe anything to Britain. The British had helped the colonists for their own profit. Staying under British rule would be harmful to the colonies.
Congress declares Independence • Richard Henry Lee introduced a resolution for independence. • Second Continental Congress debated the resolution. Members of Congress worried that the British could hang them as traitors, people who betray their country. • Congress appointed a committee to draw up a formal declaration of independence. • Thomas Jefferson wrote the final document for the committee. • The declaration was read to Congress. • The delegates voted to accept the declaration. • The declaration was printed and signed. • Copies were distributed through the colonies
The Declaration of Independence • Preamble • Introduction; explains that the declaration will tell why the colonies want to break from Great Britain. • First part—Natural rights • Rights that belong to all people from birth, such as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Governments exist to protect people’s natural rights. • Second part—British wrongs • Great Britain has committed many wrongs. King George III disbanded colonial legislatures, sent troops, and limited colonial trade. The colonists asked for justice but did not get it. • Third part—Independence • The colonies are now a free and independent nation—the United States of America.