The Declaration of Independence was the first formal statement by a nation’s people asserting their right to choose their own government. When the first skirmishes of the Revolutionary War broke out in Massachusetts in April 1775, few people in the American colonies wanted to separate from Great Britain entirely. But as the war continued, and Britain called out massive armed forces to enforce its will, more and more colonists came to accept that asserting independence was the only way forward. And the Declaration of Independence would play a critical role in unifying the colonies for the bloody struggle they now faced.
- According to the first paragraph, why do the writers of the Declaration feel obliged to declare the causes for separating from the English government?
- How does the second paragraph represent a statement of the colonists' beliefs?
- What were the major grievances the colonists listed?
- How do they explain why the King's responses to their complaints weren't good enough?
"In Congress, July 4, 1776. The unanimous declaration of the thirteen United States of America," 4 July 1776. Courtesy of Library of Congress