ADVANTAGES

In response to Britain’s continued opposition to reform, the Continental Congress began to pass measures abolishing British authority in the colonies. In January 1776, published , an influential political pamphlet that convincingly argued for American independence and sold more than 500,000 copies in just a few months. In the spring of 1776, support for independence swept the colonies, the Continental Congress called for states to form their own governments and a five-man committee was assigned to draft a declaration. The Declaration of Independence was largely the work of Virginian . In justifying American independence, Jefferson drew generously from the political philosophy of , an advocate of natural rights, and from the work of other English theorists. The declaration features the immortal lines, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, 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.” It then goes on to present a long list of grievances that provided the rationale for rebellion. On July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress voted to approve a motion calling for separation from Britain. The dramatic words of this resolution were added to the closing of the Declaration of Independence.

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