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A 3 Pages Term Paper on Declaration of Independence

Yesterday was an important day that will be remembered in the annals of history. How did the signers of this great document felt when they with their pens became witness to such a momentous event? Why these distinguished people were willing to risk so much and what are their thoughts on the happening once the Declaration of Independence reaches the King of England? What better way to understand the reasons and history behind the writing and subsequent signature of the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America than by talking to the two most prominent signers of this great document.

After having lived through enough atrocities we Americans finally decided that the time had come for declaring our independence of Great Britain. Among the signers of this historical document were Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin.

On June 10, 1776, a committee of five was appointed to prepare a draft of the Declaration—Jefferson, Franklin, John Adams, Roger Sherman and Robert R. Livingston. Jefferson, being the chairman of the committee, was naturally asked to write the document. When this committee asked Jefferson to write the paper, he agreed.

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Congress subjected his draft to a severe and prolonged revision, making many changes, most of which were improvements. The document was a direct statement to King George III of the colonies' demand for independence. The declaration recounted the grievances of the colonies against the British crown and declared the colonies to be free and independent states. 

On my asking Mr. Jefferson his reason for signing the document, he replied, “ This was not a spur-of-the-moment thing. The hope of the colonies or new States, even after the war had continued for a considerable time and it was not so much about independence as to extort justice from Great Britain.” According to Mr. Jefferson, “Had this been granted, the separation would have been deferred and when it came, as come it must, probably would have been peaceable. At the same time, there was a strenuous, aggressive minority who was insistent from the first for a complete severance of the ties binding us to the mother country.”

Mr. Franklin had similar reason when asked why he signed the document. “The Declaration of Independence was long overdue and we had to ask Britain for justice. We would like a separate country, a place where we can practice democracy without interference, a place to call our own. It begun with the first permanent settlement of European emigrant to these shores of a continent markedly different from Europe, a continent with a new spirit, a new mentality, morality and ethic, opposed to tyranny of any sort.”

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The fifty-six men know that the only logical course of action through which they can counter tyranny is to declare independence and sovereignty but they did so knowing that the penalty would be death if they were captured.

I fail to comprehend the reason why these fifty-six soft-spoken men of means and education would take such a risk with their lives. Mr. Jefferson smiled at me softly and his words struck me with the force of their simplicity, “ We value liberty more and yesterday we stood unwavering to pledge for the support of this declaration, with the firm reliance on the protection of the Divine Providence, to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."

When asked if Mr. Franklin considered this event different from earlier American protests, he replied that it differed markedly from earlier American protests in that it directs its attack primarily against the King rather than against Parliament. On enquiring how Mr. Jefferson felt about his part in the Declaration, he said that he considers it as his greatest achievement and that the Declaration would mark the beginning of self- government in America, kindling a flame that he believed would eventually light the world. The Declaration was a personal achievement for Mr. Jefferson as well and it is a masterpiece of eloquence.

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When asked what would happen when the Declaration reaches England, Mr. Franklin replied that, “We all will suffer badly but liberty is higher than life itself.”


Works Cited

Retrieved from the World Wide Web on 9h November 2001

Retrieved from the World Wide Web on 9h November 2001

Retrieved from the World Wide Web on 9h November 2001

Retrieved from the World Wide Web on 9h November 2001


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