Grateful American Kids
Constitutional Calendar

July 4: Founders adopted the Declaration of Independence

On the 4th of July, 1776, the Founders signed the Declaration of Independence, which announced the United States’ separation from Great Britain. This came two days after the passage of the Lee Resolution (named for Richard Henry Lee of Virginia), Congress’ official vote on independence. The Declaration famously stated, “We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…” These words enunciated the United States’ core beliefs and guiding principles. Thomas Jefferson was the document’s principal author. He claimed that “The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states.” Jefferson proceeded to list out the offenses Great Britain had committed against Americans and then mention Americans’ honest and unsuccessful attempts to peacefully find common ground. He concluded that the “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.”

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