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Understanding the Declaration of Independence may seem like a daunting task. However, this article will help you get a better understanding on one of the most important documents in our country's history. 

Here are some quick facts: 📜

  1. The Declaration of Independence was drafted in 1776 by a committee including Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Robert Livingston, and Roger Sherman. However, the Declaration was primarily written by Jefferson. 
  2. Congress formally adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, which is now celebrated as the day of American Independence. 
  3. It was the first formal statement of American colonists wanting to choose their government and future. 

Breaking down the Declaration: 

1. Introduction

  • Due to the grievances in the Revolutionary War, colonists became unified in their desire for independence. 
  • Texts such as "Common Sense" written by Thomas Paine argued that independence was a natural right and the only possible future for the colonies. 
  • The introduction can be summed up as the colonists' statement to the British that independence was necessary. 
  • The introduction also contained the famous Preamble which states:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable 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.”

2. Body

  • Listed the 27 grievances that the colonists had against the British Crown.
  • Some examples are quartering of soldiers, imposing taxes without consent, and cutting off trade. 

3. Conclusion

  • Affirms that the Colonies ought to be "Free and Independent States" and that "all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved;".

Why is the Declaration of Independence Important? 

  • Explained the ideals and goals of the new nation.
  • It provided foundation for popular sovereignty. 
  • Symbolic of American Democracy. 

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