The Declaration of Independence is an iconic American document which declares independence from Britain and its King. The document details both natural rights theory and grievances against British government, along with how and why this break should occur.
Jefferson’s words serve as a powerful testament to the idea that all individuals are created equal and endowed with certain rights from their Creator, such as life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.
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It was signed on July 4, 1776
The Declaration of Independence was an historic document that initiated war between Great Britain and America. Its main tenants included that all men are created equal, that God gives each person certain rights that include life, liberty and happiness; 56 delegates including lawyers, businessmen and farmers (from Massachusetts through Pennsylvania and Virginia delegates signed it), with Thomas Lynch Jr being youngest delegate while Benjamin Franklin being oldest. Drafting took months but finally adoption occurred on July 4, 1776 as one of history’s most significant documents.
Jefferson, Adams and Franklin created a document to break off from Great Britain by outlining values that would define their new country, including their belief in mankind being created equal with certain rights including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – this became their main argument that the British government was unjust.
After the Declaration was created, it was submitted to Congress for engrossment. Congress voted on and adopted it on August 2, and delegates signed their names affixing their signatures to it. Today, this original copy resides at the National Archives, while its digitalized form can be found online as a rich source of historical knowledge about early America.
Although there remains some dispute as to when exactly the Declaration was signed, most scholars agree it occurred on July 4, 1776. Though several delegates did not sign on that date due to lack of instructions from home or being absent altogether – New York delegates in particular did not vote until later because they waited for instructions; seven signers from that state did not vote at all that day either! Likewise, some signers didn’t sign until after it had been engrossed on August 2.
Thomas McKean wanted to capture the likenesses of all of the delegates, so he hired painter John Trumbull to draw their portraits. Trumbull worked tirelessly for over three decades trying to get accurate likenesses of all signers while drawing great criticism for his efforts despite them not always being 100% accurate. He persisted nonetheless and managed to obtain portraits for all.
It was engrossed on July 19, 1776
The Declaration of Independence stands as one of the cornerstones of American history. It asserts that all men are born equal and possess unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; furthermore it asserts that government must be founded upon consent by its constituents – two principles not new in political action but presented and declared together uniquely in this document.
The Engrossed Copy is considered to be the official version of the Declaration and was signed by 56 Members of Congress. Originally printed on parchment by Timothy Matlack – an assistant to Charles Thomson who served as secretary – Timothy’s Engrossed Copy still exists today and serves as its most authoritative document.
Though the Declaration was created by a committee, Thomas Jefferson was its primary author. Drawing inspiration from John Locke’s ideas of contractual government as well as America’s experiences with Great Britain, Jefferson believed its people deserved to break free from Britain’s grasp and create their own government that they would govern themselves.
On August 2, 1776, the Declaration was officially adopted into law, marking an important moment in American history and showing its democratically elected bodies voting to declare independence from British rule. Furthermore, this proclamation sent out an audible signal that America meant business when it came to protecting its independence from Britain.
Even though many Americans knew that Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, few were aware of who actually wrote and engrossed it. Historians are still uncertain who wrote it but Timothy Matlack likely played a part. He worked closely with Charles Thomson, Secretary of Congress; as well as writing George Washington’s commission.
The Declaration of Independence is an integral document that sets forth the fundamental principles upon which our nation was built. As it’s frequently referenced in legal documents, it’s crucial that you are knowledgeable of its content. Although MLA style doesn’t offer a dedicated format for legal documents citation, you should at least be familiar with its general citation guidelines.
It was ratified on August 2, 1788
Understanding how the Declaration of Independence was ratified will enable you to gain a deeper appreciation for its impactful place in our history. The process took place within the United States Senate, an ongoing body, which required two out of three senators voting yes in order for any document to be officially ratified by two people and signed. While this might seem simple at first, this process proved much more laborious; Congress needed much patience and perseverance during this process.
After the Second Continental Congress voted to declare independence from Great Britain, they needed to draft a declaration explaining this decision to the public. This momentous event occurred in American history; it is important to remember that this Declaration wasn’t signed on July 4, as is often assumed, but rather on August 2. According to its textual description:
John Hancock signed on the right, below the text; then each delegate in order of which state they represented, from New Hampshire at the top to Georgia at the bottom. Some delegates, such as Thomas McKean from New York and Charles Thomson from Virginia did not sign until August 2 – evidence of both intense debate as well as commitment to following people’s wishes.
After signing the Declaration, Congress had multiple broadside copies printed. William Stone engraved it onto a copperplate, from which 200 official parchment copies were made with text “A Declaration by the Representatives of the United States of America in General Congress assembled”, as well as John Hancock as President and Charles Thomson as Secretary attached – some copies still exist today!
The Declaration traveled with Congress during its early months and years of the Revolution. It was stored rolled up, and repeated rolling and unrolling as well as handling and storage took their toll on both ink and parchment itself; although acidity of iron gall ink helped maintain the document for longer. But still fragile and fragile were its pages.
It was adopted as the United States Constitution on September 17, 1789
The Declaration of Independence is one of the most iconic civil documents ever produced, declaring a set of principles to guide a new nation. While these ideas had existed previously in politics or speculation, this Declaration marked their formal declaration for public consumption. Furthermore, its significance lies in being the result of political action taken by a duly authorized and constituted representative public body acting within their sovereign capacity; supported by popular opinion as well as armies from Washington already present, making its impactful proclamation even stronger.
The declaration stated that, given human history, “it becomes necessary for one people to break free of political bonds that bind them with others, and to assume among the powers of earth the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them” (paragraph 1 of Declaration). Furthermore, it asserted that King George III had violated these rights – immortal truths which gave this Declaration its lasting impact.
After signing the Declaration, delegates sent it back out for review by their constituents and many made changes in accordance with feedback received from these constituents. Such behavior indicated a well-informed and orderly process of government; unlike what had been anticipated at that time.
The Declaration was printed and distributed on July 5, 1776 and attached to the rough journal of Congress for that day. From there it went out to state assemblies, conventions, committees of safety and commanding officers of Continental troops throughout America as well as France and Caribbean Islands where it was read before their National Assemblies.
After the Declaration was adopted as part of the US Constitution, it was housed within the Department of Foreign Affairs. When Congress convened for its inaugural session under this Constitution in March 1790, Thomas Jefferson became Secretary of State with custody over its Declaration. This duty he held until 1789 when it became part of a newly named Department of State.