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Declaration of Independence - Essay Example

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In the paper “Declaration of Independence” the author analyzes the backgrounds of issuing the American Declaration of Independence, which was not issued until 15 months after the War of Independence had begun. America delayed and argued their case as the war developed. …
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Declaration of Independence
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Declaration of Independence

Download file to see previous pages... Lee asked for a newly declared independent government, one that could form alliances and draw up a plan for confederation of the separate Colonies. The need for some such move had become increasingly clear during the last year, especially to George Washington, if for no other reason than as a rallying cry for his troops. The Virginia soldier chosen by Congress to general its Continental Army languished in New York, short of supplies, short of men and short of morale while facing the threat of a massive British offensive (House 2007).DiscussionCongress immediately turned to consider Jefferson's document. It would have to serve as a sort of early version of a press release--an explanation that could be disseminated at home and around the globe by broadside and to be read aloud at gatherings. Its statements had to inspire the troops and garner public support for the action Congress had just taken. Not surprisingly, Congress paid close attention to the document's language.The delegates took the time to spruce it up a little and edit out what they found objectionable. In general the Congress was fine with the vague sentiments of the early paragraphs that have since become the cornerstone of American democracy. What the delegates were more interested in, however, and what they saw as the meat of the document, were the more concrete declarations. For years, they had based their resistance to England on the belief they were not fighting a divinely chosen king, but his ministers and parliament. But during the previous 14 months the Crown had waged war on them, and King George had declared the Colonials in rebellion, that is, outside his protection. Common Sense had gotten them used to thinking of the king as that "royal brute" and this document were supposed to explain why he should be so considered. Thus Jefferson had produced a catalog of George III's tyrannies as its heart and soul (Hole 2001).
Congress at length struck out some sentimental language in which Jefferson tried to paint the British people as brothers unconcerned to American suffering and a paragraph where he ran on about the glories the two people might otherwise have realized together. But more substantive changes were especially telling. Among George’s crimes, Jefferson had listed the slave trade, contending that the king had “waged a cruel war against human nature” by assaulting a “distant people” and moving them into slavery in “another hemisphere.” This was too much for Jefferson’s fellow slaveholders in the South, especially South Carolina, and certain Yankee traders who had made fortunes from what Jefferson called the “execrable commerce.” Together, representatives of these Southern and Yankee interests deleted the section. In any case, after more than two days of sometimes-heated debate, on July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress approved the revised document that explained its declaration of independence of July 2. The approval was not immediately unanimous, since the New York delegates had to await instructions from home and did not assent until July 9. At the time of approval, Congress ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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