Independence At Last – 7/4/1776

US History |

The American Revolution sparked a conflict that would grow between the United States of America and Great Britain, which all started at Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts. It would last a total of 442 days before the United States of America finally got what they wanted: independence. At the Continental Congress meeting, which was being held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on July 4, 1776, the United States of America declared independence from Great Britain, marking a major turn in America’s history. 

So, why did America want to separate from Great Britain in the first place? Well, the first real conflict started with the passing of the Stamp Act in 1765. The Stamp Act was a British policy that supported a British army in the United States of America. That didn’t sit well with the colonists, who made it very clear that they didn’t like the new policy. They began to boycott British goods and destroy the homes of British tax collectors. This went on for several months before Parliament finally decided to repeal the Stamp Act in March of the following year.

Things stayed quiet for a while, with most colonists deciding to live with Parliament on their shoulders. However, the Tea Act in 1773 brought back the same feelings the Stamp Act did. The Tea Act was a policy that would lower the tea tax to an East India Company, creating a monopoly among the American tea trade. The colonists weren’t happy with the loss of money they were seeing and saw this act as another example of taxation tyranny. This is when the Boston Tea Party began, which was a boycott on British tea. They ended up pouring 18,000 pounds of tea into the Boston Harbor.

Britain wasn’t very happy with these acts of destruction on their property. The two parties feuded for a couple years with Great Britain asserting dominance over them. It wasn’t until April 18, 1775 that the first shots were fired between the two sides. That was the start of the American Revolution. After nine months, Thomas Paine released his book, Common Sense, which was a political pamphlet aimed at persuading Americans to declare independence. In the spring of 1776, his book reached enough people for them to call for their own government.

That happened when the Declaration of Independence was signed. This was a major piece of literature largely written by Thomas Jefferson. He opened the document with:

“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.”

Originally, 12 colonies had adopted the declaration with just minor revisions on it. New York approved it 15 days later. The Declaration of Independence was officially signed on August 2nd. However, war would still be amongst them for another five years. The fighting didn’t officially end until the Treaty of Paris was signed in 1783. This is when Britain accepted the fact that the United States were independent. 

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