After a year of battling with the British army and government, the Continental Congress met for the second time. The Continental Congress had representatives from the 13 colonies. When the war first broke out in 1775, the colonists were fighting to have fair rights under the British rule as British citizens living in the new world.
However, as the war continued on, the American colonists at the Second Continental Congress decided that it was time for the colonies to officially declare their independence.
The Declaration of Independence
Once the Continental Congress made the decision of becoming independent, it formed a committee of five men to structure and write the Declaration of Independence. The committee was called the Committee of Five. The five men that this committee consisted of included three who later became presidents of the United States. Those men were John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson. The two other men were Robert Livingston and Roger Sherman. The members decided that Thomas Jefferson should be responsible for writing the first draft.
Eventually, Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence and discussed it with the rest of the committee. The committee then their suggested changes. After a few weeks, the committee submitted the final version of the Declaration of Independence to the Continental Congress on June 28th, 1776.
Disagreement on independence
Within Congress itself, some members objected to declaring independence at the time. The ones who objected wanted to wait until the colonies formed alliances with strong countries. Some colonies voted “No” to the independence at first, while others, like New York and Delaware, chose not to vote at all. Since the Congress wanted the vote to be unanimous, they had discussions with the objecting colonies. At the end of these discussions on July 2nd, all the objecting colonies had been convinced to reverse their vote except for New York which still chose not to vote.
Two days after the discussions, the final version of the Declaration of Independence was approved by Congress. It was approved on July 4th, 1776. To this day, July 4th of every year is celebrated by the American People as Independence Day.
The Declaration of Independence copies
After Congress of the 13 colonies signed the Declaration of Independence, several copies were made and sent out to all the colonies. Then, the copies were publicly read to the people of the different colonies and it was published in newspapers. In addition, a copy was sent to the British government to inform them that the 13 colonies are now free of the British rule. In addition to establishing their freedom, the Declaration of Independence also contained the reasons as to why the colonies wanted to become independent. It listed the all the bad things that the King had done to the colonies. It also stated that the colonies had rights which they felt should be fought for.
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