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This document, one of the most important in American history, set forth the reasons for the decision of the 13 American colonies to separate from England in the late 1700's. It also stated the principles under which the new nation would be governed.Few people were surprised when the colonies declared themselves an independent nation. The Revolutionary War against Britain had already begun and many battles had been fought when, in June 1776, the Continental Congress appointed five of its members to write a Declaration of Independence. The five were Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Robert Livingston and Roger Sherman. Adams was later to be America's second president and Jefferson was to be the third. Franklin was one of the outstanding patriots and leaders in the colonies. Jefferson wrote the first draft of the Declaration. Some changes were made by the other members of the committee and Congress made further changes. The Declaration of Independence was finally adopted on July 4, 1776,and has been celebrated ever since as the nation's birthday. The Declaration begins “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”.
The document goes on to say that the purpose of a government is to secure these rights and that the government receives its powers from the consent of the people it governs. When the government misuses its power, it is the right of the people to change it or abolish it and to set up a new government that will serve them better. The central idea of the Declaration of Independence is that governments should be the servants and not the masters of the people.

Many other people and things were trying to spark a flame for a fight for democracy.
Some of these people and things were:

Thomas Paine: He wrote a pamphlet describing his feelings on Independence from Great Britain

The Patriot Cause: There cause was to gain independence from Great Britain and form their own country.

John Locke:


Twenty-five were lawyers or jurists. Eleven were merchants. Nine were farmers or large plantation owners. One was a teacher, one a musician, and one a printer. These were men of means and education, yet they signed the Declaration of Independence, knowing full well that the penalty could be death if they were captured.

Five signers were captured by the and brutally tortured as traitors. Nine fought in the War for Independence and died from wounds or from hardships they suffered. Two lost their sons in the Continental Army. Another two had sons captured. At least a dozen of the fifty-six had their homes pillaged and burned.

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