The Declaration of Independence is one of the most significant documents in United States history. Drafted in July of 1776, this seminal declaration declared American independence from Great Britain and changed the course of history. The American Revolution was sparked by the ideals articulated in the Declaration of Independence—among them, “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”—which emboldened citizens to challenge the rule of George III. Today, the Declaration of Independence is protected by the U.S. Constitution as the “birth certificate” of the United States of America.
When Was IT Published?
The Declaration of Independence was originally published in early September 1776, during the final days of the American Revolutionary War. The Continental Congress initially published the Declaration of Independence in September 1776, as a way of disseminating the news of the American Revolution to the public. The public wasn’t exactly sure what to make of the document at first. Many people didn’t believe that the colonies were truly independent from Great Britain at the time, and some even thought that the declaration was a forgery.
Who Authored The Declaration of Independence?
The American Revolution was a collective effort, championed by diverse figures ranging from George Washington to Benjamin Franklin. The role of a “group of anonymous” men—which historian Landon Kneigh writes about in his book An American Revolution: An Investigative History—was to draft a declaration of independence that would convince the public of the colonies’ right to break away from the British Empire. On July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress formally appointed thirteen citizens as the committee to draft a declaration of independence. After several months of drafting, revising, and editing, the committee produced the final version of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.
Who Was the Publicity Director for The Declaration of Independence?
The public face of the American Revolution was Colonel William Davies, a British officer who was taken prisoner during the Revolutionary War and held as a hostage along with Captain John Andre. After the war, Davies became the first secretary of the Continental Congress and the public face of the American Revolution. When the Continental Congress originally published the Declaration of Independence in September 1776, it was compiled and edited by William Davies, with a preface by Benjamin Franklin. Later that month, Davies founded the American Chronicle, the first newspaper in the United States and the most popular publication during the American Revolution. The American Chronicle was initially inspired by the Declaration of Independence and served as the public face of the American Revolution during Davies’ tenure as its publicist. The American Chronicle ceased publication in December 1777.
What Was Benjamin Franklin’s Role In The Declaration Of Independence?
Benjamin Franklin’s role in the American Revolution is a bit more complicated than “just” the public face of the movement. The legendary printer and scientist actually traveled to London in the spring of 1775 to negotiate the American Colonies’ right to independent self-government, on behalf of the thirteen American colonies. On April 19, 1775, Franklin was officially appointed “printer and publisher of the American Revolution” and was given the honorary title of “commissioner” on behalf of the Continental Congress. After his trip to London, Franklin was tasked with publishing the Declaration of Independence and other documents relating to the Revolution. Most importantly, he was also charged with disseminating the news of the American Revolution to the public. From there, his role was to create public support for the revolution and encourage more people to take up arms against the British Empire. He ultimately succeeded in his mission and played a major role in the American Revolution—even if historians still aren’t entirely sure of his exact contribution. On the tenth anniversary of the American Revolution, Franklin still had followers; one of them was the historian L. Worsham, who wrote an entire book about Franklin’s role in the American Revolution titled, The Life of Benjamin Franklin.
Why was the Declaration of Independence written in English?
When the Continental Congress originally commissioned the committee to draft a declaration of independence, it did so in order to have an easily translatable document. The committee—composed of, among others, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin—was given the task of drafting a document that “every Englishman in America could understand.” Many Americans in the eighteenth century were actually opposed to speaking English, regarding it as an “unnecessary evil”; they thought that using English would make the Colonists less relatable to the average British citizen. In fact, there were calls for the colonists to stop speaking English and to start speaking American instead.
Did Any Other Country Have A Declaration of Independence?
Yes, other countries did have declarations of independence, though none were as significant as the American Revolution. On July 9, 1776, two days after the publication of the Declaration of Independence, the leaders of the Swiss Confederation officially declared independence from the Holy Roman Empire. On July 13, 1776, the Dutch declared their independence from the Holy Roman Empire. And on September 25, 1776, the New England Confederation (which eventually became the United States of America) declared independence from Great Britain, establishing the first U.S. state government. Interestingly, despite the major differences between their situations, all of these declarations had a lot in common with the American Revolution. The leaders of the American colonies were inspired by the writings of classical liberal philosophers, such as John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who advocated for individual liberties and against the social and political privileges of the day. Similar to the Founding Fathers of the United States, these early nationalist leaders believed that “all men are created equal” and that “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” are inherent human rights. In other words, these early independent countries believed in a type of political and social freedom that is not that different from the kind of freedom promised by the United States Constitution more than two hundred years later.