Who Wrote the Declaration of Independence?

A statue dedicated to Thomas Jefferson in Washington, D.C.
A statue dedicated to Thomas Jefferson in Washington, D.C.

The Declaration of Independence defined the history of the US. It heralded the beginning of a new America that would be free from British influence and grant the country an internal rule. The declaration was signed by 56 different people who represented different states. Most people know that Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence. However, many are not aware of the history behind this most important document. While the Constitution of the US explains the form of government and the kind of laws that Americans can make, the Declaration of Independence is more about the country’s ideals.

Purpose Of The Declaration Of Independence

In the 1700s, the British Parliament published some of the laws that limited the freedom of several English colonialists in the US. The laws raised taxes that were to be paid by the colonialists. The harsh laws led to the formation of the first Continental Congress in 1774 to coordinate response to such limitations. The Congress appealed to King George to repeal the acts. The appeal was unsuccessful since the king was not willing to retreat on the question of parliamentary supremacy. In 1775, the king again rejected the second appeal by the colonialists. The colonialists felt that it was time to declare independence. They felt that rebellion was the best choice due to the king persistently rejecting their requests.

Writing The Declaration Of Independence

The Congress formed a five-man committee to draw the declaration. The committee was made up of Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Roger Sherman, Robert Livingston, and Thomas Jefferson. The group granted Jefferson the responsibility of drafting the Declaration of Independence, a responsibility he undertook between June 11 and June 28. He wrote a stunning statement on the right to rebel by the colonialists against the British Government and establish their own base on the basis that all men are created equal. Jefferson shared the draft with Adams and Benjamin for revision. The declaration was presented to the Congress on July 1, 1776. On June 4, 1776, the Congress gathered at the Pennsylvania State House (modern day Independence Hall) for the approval of the Declaration, with John Hancock and Charles Thomson appending their signatures.


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