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4th of July - United States Declaration of Independence - Revolutionary War

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4th of July - United States Declaration of Independence - Revolutionary War

The Declaration of Independence National Archives

Declaration of Independence: A Transcription



In Congress, July 4, 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

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.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.


These are the names of the 56 signers of the United States Declaration of Independence

Signing of the United States Declaration of Independence


John Adams - Lawyer, Diplomat, and Statesman (Age: 40)
Massachusetts (1735-1826)

Samuel Adams - Politician, Founding Father (Age: 53)
Massachusetts (1722-1803)

Josiah Bartlett - Physician, Governor (Age: 46)
New Hampshire (1729-1795)

Carter Braxton - Planter, Merchant (Age: 39)
Virginia (1736-1797)

Charles Carroll - Lawyer, Plantation Owner (Age: 38)
Maryland (1737-1832)

Samuel Chase - Lawyer, Jurist (Age: 42)
Maryland (1741-1811)

Abraham Clark - Surveyor, Lawyer (Age: 50)
New Jersey (1726-1794)

George Clymer - Merchant, Politician (Age: 41)
Pennsylvania (1739-1813)

William Ellery - Lawyer, Politician (Age: 46)
Rhode Island (1727-1820)

William Floyd - Planter, Politician (Age: 40)
New York (1734-1821)

Benjamin Franklin - Polymath, Statesman (Age: 70)
Pennsylvania (1706-1790)

Elbridge Gerry - Merchant, Politician (Age: 34)
Massachusetts (1744-1814)

Button Gwinnett - Merchant, Politician (Age: 42)
Georgia (1735-1777)

Lyman Hall - Physician, Clergyman (Age: 42)
Georgia (1724-1790)

John Hancock - Merchant, Statesman (Age: 39)
Massachusetts (1737-1793)

Benjamin Harrison - Planter, Politician (Age: 44)
Virginia (1726-1791)

John Hart - Farmer, Politician (Age: 65)
New Jersey (1711-1779)

Joseph Hewes - Merchant, Politician (Age: 46)
North Carolina (1730-1779)

Thomas Heyward Jr. - Lawyer, Planter (Age: 30)
South Carolina (1746-1809)

William Hooper - Lawyer, Politician (Age: 34)
North Carolina (1742-1790)

Stephen Hopkins - Politician, Jurist (Age: 69)
Rhode Island (1707-1785)

Francis Hopkinson - Jurist, Composer (Age: 42)
New Jersey (1737-1791)

Samuel Huntington - Jurist, Statesman (Age: 44)
Connecticut (1731-1796)

Thomas Jefferson - Lawyer, Statesman (Age: 33)
Virginia (1743-1826)

Francis Lightfoot Lee - Planter, Politician (Age: 49)
Virginia (1734-1797)

Richard Henry Lee - Planter, Politician (Age: 40)
Virginia (1732-1794)

Francis Lewis - Merchant, Politician (Age: 63)
New York (1713-1803)

Philip Livingston - Merchant, Politician (Age: 62)
New York (1716-1778)

Thomas Lynch Jr. - Planter, Politician (Age: 27)
South Carolina (1749-1779)

Thomas McKean - Lawyer, Politician (Age: 37)
Delaware (1734-1817)

Arthur Middleton - Planter, Politician (Age: 34)
South Carolina (1742-1787)

Lewis Morris - Planter, Politician (Age: 50)
New York (1726-1798)

Robert Morris - Merchant, Financier (Age: 42)
Pennsylvania (1734-1806)

John Morton - Surveyor, Politician (Age: 51)
Pennsylvania (1724-1777)

Thomas Nelson Jr. - Planter, Soldier (Age: 37)
Virginia (1738-1789)

William Paca - Lawyer, Planter (Age: 36)
Maryland (1740-1799)

Robert Treat Paine - Lawyer, Politician (Age: 45)
Massachusetts (1731-1814)

John Penn - Lawyer, Politician (Age: 46)
North Carolina (1741-1788)

George Read - Lawyer, Politician (Age: 42)
Delaware (1733-1798)

Caesar Rodney - Lawyer, Politician (Age: 47)
Delaware (1728-1784)

George Ross - Lawyer, Judge (Age: 47)
Pennsylvania (1730-1779)

Benjamin Rush - Physician, Politician (Age: 30)
Pennsylvania (1746-1813)

Edward Rutledge - Lawyer, Politician (Age: 26)
South Carolina (1749-1800)

Roger Sherman - Lawyer, Politician (Age: 55)
Connecticut (1721-1793)

James Smith - Lawyer, Politician (Age: 55)
Pennsylvania (1719-1806)

Richard Stockton - Lawyer, Jurist (Age: 30)
New Jersey (1730-1781)

Thomas Stone - Lawyer, Planter (Age: 33)
Maryland (1743-1787)

George Taylor - Ironmaster, Politician (Age: 50)
Pennsylvania (c. 1716-1781)

Matthew Thornton - Physician, Politician (Age: 48)
New Hampshire (1714-1803)

George Walton - Lawyer, Politician (Age: 26)
Georgia (1749-1804)

William Whipple - Merchant, Politician (Age: 33)
New Hampshire (1730-1785)

William Williams - Merchant, Politician (Age: 45)
Connecticut (1731-1811)

James Wilson - Lawyer, Jurist (Age: 33)
Pennsylvania (1742-1798)

John Witherspoon - Minister, Educator (Age: 53)
New Jersey (1723-1794)

Oliver Wolcott - Lawyer, Politician (Age: 44)
Connecticut (1726-1797)


The 13 colonies and approximately when established or when significant settlements were founded within their territories.

  1. Virginia (1607)
  2. Massachusetts (1620)
  3. New Hampshire (1623)
  4. Maryland (1634)
  5. Connecticut (1635)
  6. Rhode Island (1636)
  7. Delaware (1638)
  8. North Carolina (1653)
  9. South Carolina (1663)
  10. New Jersey (1664)
  11. New York (1664)
  12. Pennsylvania (1682)
  13. Georgia (1732)



The American Revolutionary War began on April 19, 1775, with the battles of Lexington and Concord. These were the first military engagements between the American colonists and British troops during the war. Tensions between the American colonists and the British had been escalating for years leading up to these battles.

The outbreak of the Revolutionary War can be attributed to several factors and events. One significant event was the passage of the Coercive Acts, also known as the Intolerable Acts, by the British Parliament in response to the Boston Tea Party. The Coercive Acts were a series of punitive measures imposed on the city of Boston and the Massachusetts colony, aiming to assert British control and punish the colonists for their acts of protest.

These acts, which included the closure of the Boston Port and the restriction of colonial self-governance, were seen by the American colonists as a violation of their rights and a threat to their liberties. The acts stirred widespread resentment and further united the colonies in opposition to British rule.

Another key event was the convening of the First Continental Congress in 1774. This gathering of delegates from the colonies aimed to address grievances and coordinate a response to British policies. The Congress issued a series of resolutions asserting colonial rights and challenging British authority.

The Battles of Lexington and Concord marked a turning point, as armed clashes erupted between colonial militia and British troops. The confrontations were sparked by British attempts to seize colonial weapons and supplies and arrest Patriot leaders. These battles were followed by the outbreak of hostilities throughout the colonies, as both sides prepared for war.

The population of the thirteen American colonies at the time of the American Revolution varied across the different regions. As a general estimate, the total population of the thirteen colonies was approximately 2.5 million people in 1775.

The colonies had diverse populations, with varying numbers in each colony. The largest colonies in terms of population were Virginia, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina. Virginia was the most populous colony, with an estimated population of around 600,000 people. Massachusetts had a population of approximately 400,000 people, while Pennsylvania and North Carolina each had populations of around 300,000 people.

The smaller colonies, such as Rhode Island, Delaware, and New Hampshire, had populations ranging from tens of thousands to around 100,000 people.

It is estimated that around 230,000 to 250,000 men served in the Continental Army during the war. Beyond direct military service, many individuals and communities supported the war effort through auxiliary roles. This included providing supplies, such as food, clothing, and weapons, as well as offering assistance in various capacities, including nursing, logistics, and intelligence gathering


During the American Revolutionary War, the French played a crucial role in assisting the American colonies in their struggle for independence against the British. The French government, led by King Louis XVI, saw an opportunity to weaken their long-time rival, Great Britain, and gain revenge for their defeat in the French and Indian War.

The Continental Navy of the United States was relatively small and faced significant challenges in competing with the powerful British Royal Navy. The exact number of naval ships in the Continental Navy varied over the course of the war, but it is estimated that at its peak, the Continental Navy had around 50 operational warships. These ships included a combination of frigates, sloops, brigs, and smaller vessels.

In terms of French naval support, France played a crucial role in providing naval assistance to the American colonies. The French navy deployed a significant number of ships to aid the American cause. In 1778, France formally allied with the American colonies, and as part of the alliance, they committed a fleet to support the American war effort.

Under the command of Admiral Charles Henri Hector, comte d'Estaing, the French fleet consisted of about 12 ships of the line, which were large warships with multiple gun decks, along with numerous smaller vessels. The French naval forces were critical in providing support during major engagements such as the Battle of Newport in 1778 and the Battle of Chesapeake Bay in 1781, which contributed to the American victory at Yorktown.

The presence of the French fleet had a significant impact on the balance of naval power in the region and hindered British naval operations. The French navy's involvement helped to disrupt British supply lines, provide support for American land forces, and secure crucial naval victories that were instrumental in turning the tide of the war in favor of the American colonies.

Here are some ways in which the French supported the American colonies:

Alliance and Military Support: In 1778, France formally allied with the American colonies by signing the Treaty of Alliance. This treaty provided military support to the Americans, as France committed troops, ships, and supplies to the war effort. French officers, such as the Marquis de Lafayette, served in the Continental Army under General George Washington and played significant roles in the American victories at Saratoga and Yorktown.

Naval Support: The French navy played a vital role in the war. France possessed a powerful navy, which helped the American colonies by blockading British ports, preventing reinforcements and supplies from reaching British forces. The French fleet also cooperated with the Continental Navy in operations against the British, including the decisive Battle of Chesapeake Bay in 1781, which led to the British surrender at Yorktown.

Financial Aid: The French government provided substantial financial assistance to the American colonies. They provided loans and grants, enabling the Americans to finance their military operations and sustain their struggle for independence. French financial support was critical in helping the colonies continue their fight against the British.

Diplomatic Support: The French also offered diplomatic support to the American cause. They worked to gain recognition of the United States as an independent nation from other European powers. Their involvement in the war helped legitimize the American cause and increased international support for the colonists.

The French assistance was instrumental in turning the tide of the war in favor of the American colonies. Their military, naval, financial, and diplomatic aid significantly weakened the British and helped sustain the American war effort. Ultimately, the combined forces of the Americans and the French led to the British surrender at Yorktown in 1781, marking a turning point in the Revolutionary War.


Here are several well-known American military and naval commanders who played significant roles in the American Revolutionary War:

  1. George Washington: General George Washington served as the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army throughout the war. He played a central role in coordinating and leading the American forces and was instrumental in the ultimate victory of the colonies.

  2. Nathanael Greene: General Nathanael Greene was a skilled strategist and one of Washington's most trusted generals. He played a key role in the southern theater of the war and is credited with turning the tide against the British forces in the South.

  3. Horatio Gates: General Horatio Gates served as a major general in the Continental Army and achieved a notable victory at the Battle of Saratoga in 1777. He played a significant role in securing French support for the American cause.

  4. Benedict Arnold: Initially a Continental Army general, Benedict Arnold is infamous for later defecting to the British side. However, before his betrayal, Arnold demonstrated military prowess and played a critical role in several key victories, such as the Battle of Saratoga.

  5. John Paul Jones: John Paul Jones was an American naval officer who is considered the father of the United States Navy. He achieved fame for his daring naval exploits, including his famous victory aboard the Bonhomme Richard against the British ship HMS Serapis.

  6. Henry Knox: General Henry Knox served as the chief artillery officer in the Continental Army. He played a vital role in the movement of artillery and ordnance, most notably during the winter march to bring cannons from Fort Ticonderoga to Boston, which helped force the British evacuation.


There were several well-known French military and naval commanders who played significant roles in the American Revolutionary War:

  1. Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette: Lafayette was a young French aristocrat who became a key figure in the American Revolution. He served as a major general in the Continental Army and became a close aide to General George Washington.

  2. Comte de Rochambeau: Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, Comte de Rochambeau, was a French general who commanded the French expeditionary force sent to assist the Americans. Rochambeau played a crucial role in the decisive Battle of Yorktown in 1781.

  3. Comte d'Estaing: Charles-Henri Hector d'Estaing was a French admiral who commanded the French fleet in North America during the American Revolution. He played a significant role in naval operations and participated in engagements such as the Siege of Savannah.

  4. François Joseph Paul de Grasse: De Grasse was a French admiral who commanded the French fleet in the Caribbean. He played a critical role in the Battle of the Chesapeake, which led to the decisive American victory at the Battle of Yorktown.

  5. Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, Vicomte de Rochambeau: The younger brother of Comte de Rochambeau, Vicomte de Rochambeau was also a general in the French army and played a key role in the French expeditionary force in America.


List of American Revolutionary War battles

Major campaigns, theaters, and expeditions of the war



Revolutionary War

American Revolutionary War



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On 7/4/2023 at 11:15 PM, AdvancedSetup said:

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

I've been mulling this over and wanted to mention a couple things. Everyone usually focuses on the "truth holding" as it should be, but I noticed there are other worthy ideas in the introductory sentence. The necessity of dissolution of political bands may at times be overlooked. Times change, leaders change and with those changes might bring untenable circumstances for the majority. The language is neutral, matter of fact and remains the same throughout. There is no profanity, name calling or other inflammatory language.

Words that catch my eye are "a decent respect to the opinions of mankind..." This introduces the remainder of the document in the best possible way. Decent respect. Respect alone might be sufficient, but decent respect emphasizes a calm, measured and careful consideration. Everyone has an opinion, it may fall within the majority or not, but the commonality of decency was and still is the foundation of all human events.

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