After the 1775 battles, Britain and the Americans were at war. Some of the colonists were Patriots who wanted independence from Britain.
Some Loyalists still thought of Britain’s King George as the ruler.
One very famous Patriot (named Thomas Paine) had written a pamphlet called “Common Sense”. He stated that the British king was mistreating the American colonists. He stated that the only way to stop this was becoming independent.
He also stated that the American colonists hadn’t much to gain and a lot to lose if they would stay tied to the British king. Thousands of the region’s people were reading this pamphlet, and there was growing support for independence.
The Declaration of Independence
The Colonies’ Congress asked Thomas Jefferson, together with other prominent people, to design a declaration of independence. In his Declaration of Independence, Jefferson was writing about, among others, the rights of all individuals. He wrote that people have the right to live, to be free, and to seek happiness.
Jefferson was writing that if governments would not protect the basic rights, the people had the right to decide on a new government. He also wrote that Britain’s King George had attempted to take away these basic rights and had forced taxes on the American colonies.
The Declaration of Independence stated that the colonies would have to separate from Britain and British rule and that free colonies were the way to protect the rights of the colonists.
The Importance of the Declaration of Independence
In 1776, on July 4th, Congress had accepted this Declaration. The delegates were aware of the dangers that came with signing it. The British would consider it as treason, but the delegates all signed. The Declaration of Independence is still very relevant and important as it states that the American people believe in equal rights for everyone and all.
Today, we are aware that the words are written in the declaration “All men are created equal,” include everyone: men, women, children, just every group and race.
But in the days of the 1770s, people had very different ideas. Only white male people who owned property were granted voting rights, and it wasn’t until much later that laws were passed that recognized equal rights for all groups.
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Last Updated on February 6, 2021.