1776 – Declaration of Independence

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1776 – Declaration of Independence

1776 – Declaration of Independence

After the battles of Lexington and Concord, the Second Continental Congress sent a letter to the king known as the Olive Branch Petition. This petition begged the king to revoke the Coercive Acts in exchange for a colonial resubmission to his authority. But the Petition fell flat, and the Congress had to take steps to protect the colonies. On July 4, 1776, the Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, a document which formally severed ties between Britain and the colonies. From the British point of view, this was an act of treason and served only to further their desire to reassert control. For many Americans (as they had begun to think of themselves), this document solidified something they already knew—their subjection to British law was over.

As it was considered a document of treason, many members of the Congress were hesitant to sign, until President of the Congress, John Hancock, signed his name in such a large script that his signature would draw the most attention and hopefully, draw most of the king’s rage. This move inspired others to sign. After the official adoption of the Declaration, copies were quickly delivered to the colonies so that all Americans could be made aware of the events that had transpired. The Declaration of Independence became one of the foundational and pivotal documents of American government.

 

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