November 19th, 2012
Mr. Penza A-Block
After the Fact: Declaring Independence
The Declaration of Independence drafted by Thomas Jefferson and adopted by the Second Continental Congress expresses the thirteen American colonies desire to disjoin from Great Britain. Chapter 4 of “After the Fact,” entitled Declaring Independence, presents factual viewpoints of historians as well as thorough examinations aroused from the possible confusions of the renowned document. In May of 1766 Jefferson met with the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia to discuss whether or not the states should regard themselves as part of the British Empire. The manner was debated by a group of radicals such as Jefferson and the Adams who advocated independence, while moderates such as John Dickinson debated towards reconciliation of the nations. Eventually, “Jefferson’s colleague Richard Henry Lee,” stood up and presented an enticing speech in favor of independence. After days of arduous debate, “James Wilson of Pennsylvania announced he felt ready to vote for independence” with expectations for the colonies to separate. The decision became fixed; Congress appointed a five person committee composed of Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman and Robert Livingston to draft a document declaring independence. Jefferson was nominated by the committee to write a rough draft that was significantly altered by Congress and Jefferson’s colleagues Adams and Franklin. “In the end, Congress removed about a quarter of Jefferson’s original language.” The finishing document is recapitulated into three parts. The first section introduces a preamble dealing with the “self-evident truths.” Thus incorporating meanings as to why it is a necessity that the colonies have overthrown their government. The second part chastises the British ruling, declaring the monarchy and king to be tyrannical. The last portion concludes with the colonial response, including Richard...
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