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Publisher's Summary

"Resolved, that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved."

Although the Declaration of Independence is now considered one of the most important political documents in history, the men that drafted it did not initially favor such a move at the start of the American Revolution. Despite its assumption of governing duties, the Second Continental Congress never intended, at least initially, to become the governing body of a new nation. Instead, it merely hoped to transform the relationship between Britain and her colonies to allow for greater self-government on their side of the Atlantic. Separation between the two was rarely favored, and this initial sentiment coalesced into the Olive Branch Petition, which sought a reasonable motion of reconciliation between George III and the colonies. It was drafted by one of Virginia's delegates, Thomas Jefferson.

By the summer of 1776, John Adams, Samuel Adams and others arguing for a formal break with Britain convinced their fellow Congressmen that the time had come to formalize their break from Britain. John, along with Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman and Robert Livingston, were appointed to draft the announcement informing Britain of their intentions. Together they completed the rough draft of the preamble on May. The committee then wanted John to complete the document, but he felt that Jefferson was a better writer.

©2014 Charles River Editors (P)2015 Charles River Editors

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