Declaration of Independence History
The Declaration of Independence is the most important document in US history. Why is that? Well without the Declaration of Independence there would have been no other documents. The Declaration of Independence started America's quest for freedom. Fifty six men came together and risked their lives to sign the Declaration of Independence to tell the British Monarchy, "We've had enough!" Without the Declaration of Independence and the American Revolutionary War, we would possibly still have tea time and speak with British accents. The Declaration of Independence also contains many of the ideas of individual liberty and freedom that make this country so great.
How did all of this independence thing get started? For years the citizens and delegates from the Continental Congress had discussed and debated the idea of splitting from England and forming a country of some sorts. It was only after Richard Henry Lee of Virginia proposed it on the floor of the Continental Congress on June 7th, 1776 did the ball officially get rolling. Food for thought, independence was formally suggested and less than a month later we had a simple, articulate, one page document that declared our independence from England. Our current congressional members could learn an important lesson from our founding fathers.
Who wrote the Declaration of Independence? The Committee of Five was responsible for drafting the Declaration of Independence. These five men came from all over the Colonies to represent each region. John Adams of Massachusetts and Roger Sherman of Connecticut were from New England. Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania and Robert R. Livingston of New York came from the middle Colonies, and from the South, Thomas Jefferson of Virginia. Thomas Jefferson, being the brilliant prophet that was he was, was responsible for writing most of the Declaration of Independence. Adams and Franklin did make edits and suggestions to the original document.
But simply writing the Declaration of Independence didn't make it official. The states had to adopt the resolution. On July 1st after a three week recess the Continental Congress reconvened. The official vote took place on July 2nd with twelve of thirteen Colonies voting yes and New York saying they would more than likely vote yes when they got permission which had not arrived. For two days the Declaration of Independence's language continued to be polished and early in the morning on July 4th the Declaration of Independence was ready to be signed. So the true birthday of our great nation is actually July 2nd when the vote took place. Because the printer put the July 4th verses the July 2nd date, the date of the vote, the people regard the 4th of July to be our day of Independence. Unwilling to upset the apple cart Congress backdated the official records to show that all fifty six men of Congress signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4th. It wasn't until August 2nd, 1776 did the majority of the signers get to sign the document, and even then they were not all of the same men that voted. By this time America was fighting for her independence and these men, being the brave upright men that they were, were fighting in his own way for independence.
So why is the Declaration of Independence so important? The Declaration of Independence is not only the birth certificate for the United States of America but it also contains ideas of liberty and freedom that make this country great. If you have never read the text of the Declaration of Independence take some time and do it now, and if the only thing you read is the second paragraph, then read it. The idea that all men are created equal, that we have unalienable rights from GOD, that the government gets its powers from the people, that meddlesome, intrusive governments should be thrown off, that America is protected by Divine Providence, are all are found within the Declaration of Independence. These ideas are not only a part of our history, but a part of every red blooded American who loves this country and has worked their hardest to leave this country a better place for their posterity. Only a fool and a thief would rob from his children and grandchildren these ideas.
Housed in the Rotunda of the National Archives in Washington DC the Declaration of Independence joins the other Charters of Freedom: the Constitution and Bill of Rights. On display there since 1952, the Declaration of Independence can be seen by any American or visitor.
Copies in several forms may be purchased on this website.