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The History of the Declaration of Independence – The birth of the American Republic

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A document of extraordinary importance for the American statehood is the Declaration of Independence published on the fourth of July 1776,written by Tomas Jefferson,with John Adams and Benjamin Franklin like reviewers. The date of the publishing of this document today is celebrated like the birth of the American Republic and Independence.

 The birth of an idea

On the 5th of September 1774 in Carpenter’s Hall  Philadelphia started the First Continental Congress under the presidium of Peyton Randolph.This congress was called in answer to the “Compulsory acts” adopted in May and July 1774. Although many delegats were up for reconciliation with Britain,on this convention the voice of the more radical delegates led by Patrick Henry  was also heard. “I am not a Virginian ,but  an American”-said Patrick in his element and his fierce tone. On this congress were adopted decisions about the economic boycott of Britain and also the training and recruitment of the colonial militia. After the turbulent events in Lexington and Concord on the 10 th of May 1775 the Second Continental Congress was convened.In this assembly Benjamin Franklin was present for the first time like a representative of Pennsylvania. Charles Thomson  was appointed secretary and Peyton Randolph was again elected for president of the congress. Due to the escalation of the armed conflict  on the conference two important decisions were made: Creation of the contitinental army headed by George Washington as a supreme commander, and passing a petition known in history as the “Petition of the Olive Branch”. With this petition approved in July 1775,the delegats  tricked a plea to the King George III ,like the last try for the reconciliation of the warring parties. With this petition the colonial representatives wanted to remind the king of his basic function –the protection of all British subjects. Loyality towards the crown was also  highlighted in  the petition,while attacking the British institutions-manly the parliament and the prime ministers of England. The king refused to receive this petition.Instead  of reconciliation,king George III , ordered to hire Hessian military mercenaries from Germany. He also issued a proclamation with  which he announced that the colonies are in “open rebellion” against the king and the state. After these events,the colonies and the empire  entered  an open real war,and the congress began to seriously consider the concept of independence.. Early in the spring 1776,the Congress opened all the American ports for foreign trade ,and issued an order for armament of the population. Consequently in Juny 1776, serious discussions began  about the issue of independence and the road that led to the creation of a new state.Some delegats (from New York, Delaver, Pennsylvania, Maryland and South Carolina) were not yet convinced in the need of the colonies  to break away from the home country.  ” They were not mature enough to fall from their native tree”-spoke Jefferson, “it was reasonable for us to wait a little longer ,but not too long “The voting for independence ,instead of June was moved  to July 1. A committee was appointed with the task to prepare the document with which officialy the independence will be announced. But who could engage in such a  dangerous act and put the signature  on this text? It should not be forgotten that in this period the declaration of independence was considered  an act of betrayal,and therefore its authors were de facto sentenced to death. All eyes were pointed at John Adams who seemed to be the best able to articulate the  political needs of the colonies ,and thus the future state. However John Adams wisely withdraw from this position . The first reason was that Massachusetts was the most radical colony , and he felt that he should not be the leader of the conflicting ideas. The second reason was the idea that Viriginia (like the richest and the biggest colony)should be the flagship  in things. The second logical choice for the main author was Benjamin Franklin. But the old scientist immediately fenced and politely declined the task. Therefore the young gentleman Thomas Jefferson (33 years old) was appointed  head of the  committee for making the Declaration.

Thomas Jefferson was a true personality, at the appropriate age,man of the Enlightenment,a researcher with exceptional education, with ambition,skill and in possession of the most important –the courage to reach the pen,and in that moment he completely changed the course of human societies as we know them today.

Writing the Declaration and declaring Independence

The young delegate from Virginia through the text of Declaration,tried to encapsulate the ideas of the Era of Enlightenment or to present the fundamental principles  on which the new American federation will be born. The first draft of the declaration began to take shape after weeks which Jefferson had spent in the rented room of Mr.Jacob Graf (701 Market Street,Philadelphia). Once Jefferson made several repairs on Adams suggestion,he sent the text (Friday, 21 June 1776) to Benjamin Franklin with the words , “”. Doctor Franklin,be kind and carefully review the text”,  and after he add,  “suggest changes as required by your sublime knowledge and experience in things”. Franklin even made on of the most important chages in the document,evident in the characteristic  skews with which he has changed many texts in the past. He chaged the last three words from the sentence “We believe that this truths are sacred and irrefutable”, to “We believe that this truths are clear on their own”. Jefferson in a coalition with Franklin and Adams created a piece of paper of invaluable value  for the entire human civilization: Unanimous declaration of the 13 United States of America.

On the congress 4th of July 1776

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

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. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness…

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