Declaration of Independence

(1776)

Context

In 1774 the American colonies established the First Continental Congress. This Congress first met in Philadelphia from September 5 to October 26 of that year, with the chief goal of settling the dispute with Britain, not separating from the motherland. The Congress passed resolutions aimed at gaining certain political and economic rights and presented the request to the king of England.

King George III, however, refused to grant the requests made by the colonies. The colonies thus agreed to form another congress, but on April 19, 1775, even before the Second Continental Congress could meet, fighting broke out at Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts, between colonial minutemen and British troops. Several colonial minutemen were killed, and the losses inflamed the passions of the colonists and put additional pressure on the Congress to become bolder. When the Second Continental Congress met on May 10, 1775, the delegates were more radicalized and inclined toward...

Image for: Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of Independence (National Archives and Records Administration)

View Full Size