Happy 4th July to all of our American families, past and present!
Happy 4th July to all our American families...
The thirteen colonies in the America's had been at war with Britain for around a year when the Second Continental Congress decided it was time for the colonies to officially declare their independence. This meant that they were breaking away from British rule. They would no longer be a part of the British Empire and would fight for their freedom.
Who wrote the Declaration of Independence?
On June 11, 1776 the Continental Congress appointed five leaders, called the Committee of Five, to write a document explaining why they were declaring their independence. The five members were Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Robert Livingston, Roger Sherman, and Thomas Jefferson. The members decided that Thomas Jefferson should write the first draft.
Thomas Jefferson wrote the first draft over the next few weeks and, after some changes made by the rest of the committee, they presented it to Congress on June 28, 1776.
Did everyone agree?
Not everyone agreed at first on declaring independence. Some wanted to wait until the colonies had secured stronger alliances with foreign countries. In the first round of voting South Carolina and Pennsylvania voted "no" while New York and Delaware chose not to vote. The Congress wanted the vote to be unanimous, so they continued to discuss the issues. The next day, July 2nd, South Carolina and Pennsylvania reversed their votes. Delaware decided to vote "yes" as well. This meant that the agreement to declare independence passed with 12 yes votes and 1 abstention (meaning New York chose not to vote).
July 4, 1776
On July 4, 1776 the Congress officially adopted the final version of the Declaration of Independence. This day is still celebrated in the United States as Independence Day.