Chapter 6 – The Colonies Declare Independence

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John Hancock
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president of the Continental Congress, signed the Declaration first. He penned his signature boldly, in large, clear letters. There, he said, I guess King George will be able to read that.
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Thomas Paine
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In Common Sense, Thomas Paine set out to change the colonists’ attitudes toward Britain and the king. Colonists, he said, did not owe loyalty to George III or any other monarch. The very idea of having kings and queens was wrong, he said
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common sense
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a 1776 essay by Thomas Paine that urged the colonies to declare independence
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Richard Henery Lee
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It also deeply impressed many members of the Continental Congress. Richard Henry Lee of Virginia wrote to Washington, \”I am now convinced … of the necessity for separation.\” In June 1776, Lee arose in Congress to introduce a resolution in favor of independence:
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Thomas Jefferson
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The committee asked Thomas Jefferson to write the document. Jefferson was one of the youngest delegates. He was a quiet man who spoke little at formal meetings. Among friends, however, he liked to sprawl in a chair with his long legs stretched out and talk for hours. His ability to write clearly and gracefully had earned him great respect.In late June, Jefferson completed the declaration, and it was read to the Congress. On July 2, the Continental Congress voted that the 13 colonies were \”free and independent States.\” After polishing Jefferson’s language, the delegates adopted the document on the night of July 4, 1776. They then ordered the Declaration of Independence to be printed.
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Declaration of Independence
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a 1776 document stating that the 13 English colonies were a free and independent nation
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traitor
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person who betrays his or her country
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preamble
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introduction to a declaration, constitution, or other official document
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natural rights
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rights that belong to all people from birth

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