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History of the Declaration of Independence

Friday, 01 Jul 2011 12:46 PM

July 4, 1776, marks the day that the U.S. formally declared her grievances with Britain, her determination to separate from the Empire, and unwavering commitment to exist as a separate entity.

Thomas Jefferson's declaration, “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,” gave a voice to liberty and freedom.

Little did Jefferson know that in this single sentence he had written would become what many historians argue to be the most significant sentence in the course of human history. Freedom, liberty, and hope that oppression could be overcome were given a voice.

John Hancock, President of the Congress that passed the Declaration, was the first to sign. His intentionally oversized signature is one of the few discernable words remaining on the document, which will celebrate its 235th birthday this year.

And when the bells of Independence Hall rang on that July 4th, and our Founding Fathers dispersed, the Declaration began its way across the Atlantic to make clear to the British monarchy, and to the world, the intentions of the American people. In just 14 words America was born: “These United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be, Free and Independent States.”

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