In The Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson outlines four universal truths that the colonists had in common: equality, life, liberty, and happiness. Out of these four words, I chose liberty as the word that most exemplifies truth in the document. Liberty has many meanings, all of which applied to the American colonists as they attempted to get out of British control.
Through enacting a separation from a political paradigm, overturning political and theological thought, and gaining the right to form a government however they saw fit, the logic behind liberty makes it the best example of truth in the Declaration.
One definition of liberty is that it means a separation from an oppressor and the oppressed. When feudalism ended around the 16th century, the surfs gained liberty from the vassals, and they were no longer under their control. Similarly, in America after the signing of the Declaration and the Revolutionary War, the colonies were no longer under the control of the king. Jefferson established that the right to liberty was given to them by God (Creator). This outweighed the commonly held idea that a king was chosen by God to rule.
Another definition of liberty is that one does not conform to what is commonly accepted by others. For instance, if one would wear a polka-dot sport coat with clown shoes every day, it could be said of that person that they take great liberty in what they wear.
Likewise, the Founding Fathers went against the norm that a subject should follow the king at all times by declaring their independence from the crown. This helped overturn common political and theological thought.
The final definition of liberty is probably the most common interpretation, the freedom to do as one pleases. After the document was signed and the Revolutionary War ended, the newly freed colonists could do whatever they wanted. They did not have British trade restrictions, they could choose their own government, and no longer had British troops controlling what they did. The former king’s subjects became citizens with a voice.
By separating from Britain, sidestepping conformity, and gaining freedom, the word liberty reworks the rhetoric of truth to create a way for the colonists to remove themselves from British authority. All four words Jefferson established as truths were held dearly by the colonists, enough to transform their political and theological situation.
The colonists stood by the truths so emphatically that they were compelled to write the Declaration. In fact, the rest of the Declaration of Independence relates directly to liberty, where Jefferson lists grievances against King George III, he shows where the King abridged their liberty. The logic behind liberty makes it the closest word to the truth in the historic work.
When one examines the Declaration of Independence, one question how truly revolutionary this so-called premier document of human rights truly is. In a philosophical sense, many of the ideas possessed in the Declaration of Independence were far from the original. Beginning in the early 1700s and gaining momentum all through the 18th century was a period in history commonly referred to as the Age of Enlightenment. The thoughts that characterized this age included new ideas on the construction of the universe that had gained acceptance during the Scientific Revolution.
As theorists began questioning such widely accepted truths such as the Ptolemaic view of the Universe, philosophers were encouraged to question human nature. Banalities such as oppression of the lower class, exclusive rights of nobility, the authority of the clergy and catholic church, and dictatorships and monarchial type governments were often targets of these revolutionary thinkers.
Most notably the thoughts and writings of John Locke, Baron de Montesquieu, and Voltaire are remembered for challenging the old regime and ushering in a new age of liberty, religious tolerance, and preservation of the rights of citizens. Interestingly enough, the Declaration of Independence, when viewed in light of the documents of these European thinkers, does not appear revolutionary but rather comes across as plagiarism of new European ideals (Palmer).
The basis of Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence was borrowed from John Locke, the philosopher lawyer of England who pioneered the natural rights of man. Locke believed that humans entered the world a tabula rasa or blank page. This thought implied that human beings were innately good and orderly upon birth.
Viewing humans from Locke’s perspective, the traditional purpose of government could be seen as useless, for it was formerly believed that government was a tool to combat the selfish, evil, corrupt, chaotic nature of man. Pursuing his belief, Locke saw the primary purpose of government to be the protection of the natural rights of man. Locke’s thoughts gained widespread acceptance in the colonies in the years before the revolution.
During the period surrounding the writing of the Declaration of Independence, the colonist’s chief complaint of England was directed towards the oppressive nature of British government. Jefferson himself wrote of the English government as “a deliberate, systematic plan of reducing us to slavery” (Brodie, 96). Needless to say, the colonists came to agree “with [Locke] in the natural rights of man to life, liberty, and property” (Brodie, 96). Locke believed that the right to personal property was paramount and that people came together in an organized community to protect this right and gain advantages they could not individually come by.
The social contract the people entered into with each other was the basis of the contract of government, under which all political power is a trust for the benefit of the people. The state, Locke believed, should be based on a contract between ruler and subjects, who give him the power to protect their property that without the state could be taken away by unprincipled forces.
Thomas Jefferson’s adherence to these thoughts is seen in his claim that the government should be based on “unalienable rights.” Most of his Declaration of Independence was a list of grievances and indictments of King George III for his failure to keep his contract with his American subjects. American’s believed the King had broken his contract, and therefore the owed loyalty was void.
Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence was representative of a growing sense of nationalism within colonial America. Colonists combined their interests and held that absolute rule by a monarchy was against their will. The French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau inspired this social bond amongst the colonists that led Jefferson to issue complaints against the King.
Rousseau’s Social Contract published in 1762 qualified government as “an agreement among the people.” According to Rousseau, organized civil society rested upon collective liberty where the wills of individuals are fused and represented in government. He believed society must be bound by the common interest of the people in a given social group.
As loyalty to the King was an aberration from the common interest of enlightened colonists at the time the Declaration of Independence was written, Rousseau would have advocated separation from the King. Rousseau thought that people should have a “sense of membership, of community and fellowship, of responsible citizenship and intimate participation in public affairs.” Rousseau’s most important contribution to the American colonists was the idea of nationalism.
People of the same ethnic, religious, and cultural station in life should come together within a state. In light of this statement, Jefferson believed that Colonial America no longer had ties with England but was rather a separate nation and with a new sense of nationality. Jefferson like Rousseau believed that the colonists’ allegiance should be directed towards each other rather than towards England (Palmer).
The colonial assertion of rights and liberty characterized America at the close of the 18th century. The Declaration of Independence followed the 18th-century belief that American colonists were entitled to the same rights as their English counterparts. Within America, colonists believed that the original English settlers brought with them their English rights in full and had sense passed them down to their descendants. It naturally followed that the colonists should enjoy the same rights and liberties of an Englishman.
However, the colonists became insecure at the close of the 150 years of salutary neglect. The colonist harbored suspicions that tyranny loomed in the near future. The abundance of new taxes and recent requirement to quarter British soldiers put a flame under these suspicions and set a wildfire of insecurity throughout colonial America.
Baron de Montesquieu, a French philosopher of the previous generation had developed a philosophy that explained the colonists’ newfound want for political liberty. He believed that “the political liberty of the subject is a tranquility of mind arising from the opinion each person has of his safety (Rakove 290).” Thus, according to Montesquieu, colonists believed they no longer had political liberty because they no longer thought themselves safe from British oppression. The quest for political liberty and the natural rights of man brought Jefferson to write the Declaration of Independence.
“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 (Jefferson).”
This passage summarizes Jefferson’s opinion that government is an institution that’s purpose is the protection of the rights of those governed. However, Jefferson’s opinion with regards to the nature of government was not original but rather borrowed from the following excerpt of The Spirit of Laws.
“In a true state of nature, indeed, all men are born equal, but they cannot continue in this equality. Society makes them lose it, and they recover it only by the protection of the law (Montesquieu).”
Historians have little doubt that Montesquieu largely influenced Jefferson in his writing of the Declaration of Independence, as it is known that Jefferson owned a copy of Montesquieu’s Spirit of Laws (Brodie, 97).
The Age of Enlightenment is noticed to have reached America by the time the Declaration of Independence was written. The impact that European thinkers had on the colonists is detected in the striking similarities between the language and philosophies of Thomas Jefferson and contemporary European philosophers. Yet while the Declaration of Independence was based on a conglomerate of borrowed phrases, the final product was a revolutionary step. Never before had such dramatic front and immediate denouncement of a monarchy taken place.
The colonists and Jefferson in particular were the first to actually enact the radical ideas of life, liberty, and rights of man that European philosophers had merely put in writing. The American experiment set the precedent for nationalism and the claiming of a separate and individual state for those of similar backgrounds. The Declaration of Independence likewise attacked those formerly untouchable enterprises, monarchies, and triggered a chain reaction in Europe that would cause overthrows of the old regime
In fact, the basis of the French Revolution, The Declaration of The Rights of Man and Citizen, was an extension of Jefferson’s work, as Jefferson himself was in France at the time of the writing. Thus Jefferson’s discourse on the faults of monarchial governments was read throughout the world and established America as a new breeding ground of revolutionary and enlightened thought.
The writer of the Declaration of Independence has used various stylistic devices to bring out different messages in the text. These stylistic tools help shape the perception of the reader to agree with the writer. The writer has used antithesis, linguistic patterns, rhythm, and the use of a poem writing structure as stylistic devices to convince the reader that there is a need to be united since all people are equal in the eyes of God.
The use of rhythm in the Declaration of Independence is used with the intention of emphasizing the points the author is making. Rhythm is created in the text through the repetition of phrases to bring out linguistic patterns. For example, the statement: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator” repeats a linguistic pattern. “That all men are created” and “that they are endowed” have the same linguistic pattern.
The two parts have the same balance in terms of usage of verbs, nouns, articles, and adjectives. The text also takes approximately the same length of time to pronounce out loud. All these characteristics form a rhythm all through the text. The purpose of this rhythm in the text is to create a memorable pattern. This makes it much easier for the reader to remember the Declaration of Independence.
Another stylistic aspect that has been used to change the perception of the reader of the Declaration of Independence is the use of antithesis. This stylistic device has been used on various occasions through the text. Antithesis is the comparison of two contrasting ideas in the same sentence.
For example, the sentence: “…it becomes necessary for 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…” uses antithesis. This statement hints out that people are supposed to be united, yet it has become very necessary for them to stand alone.
The statement also shows the contrast that even though men feel independent by cutting the political ties that bring them together, they serve one God who has entitled all of them to live together. This is a unifying factor among the audience of the Declaration of Independence text. This is relevant in the text as it shows the reader that people are not different from one another, and that together they can achieve great things.
The writer has written the Declaration of Independence like a poem. The use of this writing structure can be based on the fact that the writer wants the reader to believe in the recital. The author wants the reader to also recite the Declaration such that they are not only declaring the independence of the country, but they are also declaring their own personal independence. The poem structure, therefore, makes the Declaration easier to relate with.
In conclusion, the use of rhythm, antithesis, linguistic patterns, and poetry has helped the writer show inequality in the country. The writer employed these specific stylistic devices to help shape the perception of the reader, thereby delivering the intended message successfully. The devices have helped the author of the Declaration of Independence not only pass on a message but also ensure that the message is received without alteration.
Declaration of Independence is considered one of the most important documents in world history because its effects were felt around the world and not only in its place of origin, the United States. While blacks used context from the declaration to challenge slavery in the United States, the French used its ideals to start their own revolution.
The Declaration of Independence can be seen to be one of the few documents that had a profound impact on the world, and this can be easily seen because of the changes it brought forth. The Declaration of Independence was a document made by several delegates of the U.S. in 1776. It was simply made as a document that declared the independence of the 13 British colonies in America. On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration after a few changes were made to it. Even though I think the Declaration’s main purpose was to declare the colonies independent, there were many other ideas the declaration addressed.
There are many important abstractions in the Declaration of Independence. These abstractions such as: rights, freedom, liberty and happiness have become the foundations of American society and have helped shape the “American identity”. Power, another abstraction that reoccurs in all major parts of the Declaration plays equally important role in shaping “American identity”. One forgets the abstraction of power because it appears in relation to other institutions: the King, the earth, and the military.
Even though power is addressed very indirectly in the declaration its existence is still valued. All of these important abstractions collectively have led to major changes in the world. A very simple phrase: “all men are created equal” which is included in the Declaration of Independence was quickly used by blacks in the U.S. to question slavery. They wondered if all men were indeed created equal then how could one man own another man. “The idea of equity led Northern states to free slaves within their borders in the 1780s, 1790s, and 1800s”. (Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 2000).
We can give the Declaration credit for starting the movement against slavery. We all know by now how important it was to get rid of slavery in order to make and keep the U.S. a democratic and just country. Another important movement that the Declaration of Independence helped start was the women’s rights movement. The phrase “all men are created equal” was slightly changed to “all men and women are created equal”. This amended phrase was the basis of the start of the women’s rights movement and women’s suffrage movement, and it was used throughout the 20th century in order for women to gain equal rights as men.
These rights were such as the ability to own land, the ability to vote, and the ability to hold public office. “Other groups have focused on the Declaration of Independence defense of the rights to rebel against an unjust government”. (Microsoft Encarta encyclopedia 2000). According to historians, the Declaration of Independence influenced many Latin American colonies to rebel against their mother countries. The Declaration Of Independence was used to inspire the creation of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen in France.
This document was adopted by the National Assembly of France in 1789 and led to French stability. This is just insight on some of the global impact the Declaration of Independence, making it worthy to be labeled one of the most important documents in world history.
In conclusion, the Declaration of Independence can be said to be one of the most important documents in world history, according to the facts that were presented in this argument. It is amazing how a document that was intended to affect only a single country, could affect the whole world. In my opinion, the whole world “matured” as a direct result of the creation of the Declaration of independence. If you stop to think about it, where would the world be today, if the Declaration of Independence had not been created?
I find that the Declaration of Independence is written in a formal, strict, and non-personal style. Everything is stated clearly and points the right way, without leaving any spaces for doubt. This, of course, is a necessity for any official document and the founding fathers have followed all the rules of official writing.
There are many abstractions in the Declaration of Independence. These abstractions such as rights, freedom, liberty, and happiness have become the foundations of American society and have helped shape the “American Identity.” Power, another abstraction that reoccurs in all the major parts of the Declaration of Independence plays an equally important role in shaping “American identity.”
One forgets the abstraction of power because it appears in relation to other institutions: the legislature, the King, the earth, and the military. The abstraction of power shapes the colonist’s conception of government and society.
The uses of the word power set the tone of the Declaration of Independence. In the first sentence of the Declaration, colonists condemn the King’s violation of powers given by God to all men.
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 Natures God Entitle them.
In this passage, the writers of the Declaration of Independence are explaining their moral claim to rebel. This right finds its foundation on their interpretation of the abstraction of power. Colonists perceive power as bifurcated, a force the King uses to oppress them, and a force given to them by God allowing them to rebel. In the Declaration of Independence, the colonists also write about power as a negative force.
In the following quote power takes on a negative meaning because power rests in the hands of the King and not the people, “to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned”. Power, when mentioned in association with the power of the people to make their own laws has a positive connotation, “He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to Civil power”.
One of the virtues of the Declaration is its plainness and easy-readings. Every average person can find her way through it. The Declaration of Independence is also an example of a deductive argument: Thomas Jefferson sets up general principles, details particular instances, and then draws conclusions.
The final sentence of the Declaration of Independence completes a crucial metamorphosis in the text. Although it begins in an impersonal, even philosophical voice, it gradually becomes a kind of drama, with its tensions, expressed more and more in personal terms. This transformation begins with the appearance of the villain, “the present King of Great Britain,” who dominates the stage through the first nine grievances, all of which note what “He has” done without identifying the victim of his evil deeds.
Beginning with grievance 10 the king is joined on stage by the American colonists, who are identified as the victim by some form of first-person plural reference: The king has sent “swarms of officers to harass our people,” has quartered “armed troops among us,” has imposed “taxes on us without our consent,” “has taken away our charters, abolished our most valuable Laws,” and altered “the Forms of our Governments.”
He has “plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, . . . destroyed the lives of our people,” and “excited domestic insurrections amongst us.” The word “our” is used twenty-six times from its first appearance in grievance 10 through the last sentence of the Declaration, while “us” occurs eleven times from its first appearance in grievance 11 through the rest of the grievances. (30)
The persistent use of “he” and “them,” “us” and “our,” “we” and “they” personalize the British-American conflict and transfigures it from a complex struggle of multifarious origins and diverse motives to a simple moral drama in which a patiently suffering people courageously defend their liberty against a cruel and vicious tyrant. It also reduces the psychic distance between the reader and the text and coaxes the reader into seeing the dispute with Great Britain through the eyes of the revolutionaries.
As the drama of the Declaration unfolds, the reader is increasingly solicited to identify with Congress and “the good People of these Colonies,” to share their sense of victim, to participate vicariously in their struggle, and ultimately to act with them in their heroic quest for freedom.
In this respect, as in others, the Declaration is a work of consummate artistry. From its eloquent introduction to its aphoristic maxims of government to its relentless accumulation of charges against George III to its elegiac denunciation of the British people to its heroic closing sentence, it sustains an almost perfect synthesis of style, form, and content.
Its solemn and dignified tone, its graceful and unhurried cadence, its symmetry, energy, and confidence, its combination of logical structure and dramatic appeal, its adroit use of nuance and implication all contribute to its rhetorical power.
And all help to explain why the Declaration remains one of the handfuls of American political documents that, in addition to meeting the immediate needs of the moment, continues to enjoy a lustrous literary reputation.
American culture has long been dominated by the ideas of freedom and liberty. The United States has always prided itself on being the land of the free; a place where citizens have inalienable rights can pursue happiness and are free from unjust oppression. Although America has long held fast to the idea of freedom, it has found that freedom may play more into the ideal culture. U.S. history has been blemished by unjust oppression and struggles for freedom. The country’s founding fathers paved the way for freedom when they wrote the Declaration of Independence, but even after America’s democratic ideas were determined and written down, freedom was still not granted to all citizens.
Women have faced many impediments in their pursuit of freedom. Women were not fighting for freedom from Britain; they were fighting for freedom in their own country. When Elizebeth Cady Stanton wrote the Declaration of Sentiments, she used the Declaration of Independence as a framework.
Freedom was still freedom, but the idea of it was used for a purpose different from that of the founding fathers. The histological context had changed, and with it, the idea of freedom. The Declaration of Sentiments demonstrates not only the American beliefs in freedom and liberty but also that the interpretation of these beliefs can change and be reused for different purposes.
Elizebeth Cady Stanton, in order to derive a sense of sympathy and to develop connections between women and the rest of the American public, followed the style and wording of the Declaration of Independence closely.
Thomas Jefferson wrote, “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.” Elizebeth Cady Stone edited this same sentence to say that all men and women are created equal. Whereas the Declaration of Independence outlines the “patient sufferance of the colonies,” the Declaration of Sentiments outlines the “patient sufferance of women under the government.”
The Declaration of Independence aims its grievances at the King of England and addresses him by saying things such as ” He has obstructed the Administration of Justice” and “He has dissolved Representative House repeatedly.” The Declaration of Sediments uses the same style but the “He” is not used to address the King, but male oppressors. The Declaration of Sentiments mimics the style used in the Declaration of Independence to highlight the fact that women are American citizens.
Although the style remains constant in the two documents, the expression of American freedom in the Declaration of Sentiments differs from the expression of American freedom in the Declaration of Independence. While the drafters of the Declaration of Independence were concerned with political freedom, Stanton was concerned with the idea of martial freedom.
In the Declaration of Sentiments, the husband is described as the women’s master-“the law giving him the power to deprive her to liberty.” Stanton also writes, ” He has made her if married in the eyes of the law, civilly dead.”
Times had changed. Citizens were no longer being oppressed by the British monarch; they were being oppressed by their husbands. Elizebeth Cady Stone focused intently on the married woman’s right to divorce and have custody of her children (Lewis). She portrays martial equivalence as a basic American freedom. Women were defined by their relationships to men as wives, sisters, and mothers and therefore could not represent themselves in an independent manner.
Barbara Welter explains that women were to abide by ” four cardinal virtues- piety purity submissiveness, and domesticity,” not assertiveness, independence, and the desire to represent themselves independently. The fact that women could not be freely represented led Stanton to include in the Declaration of Sentiments that women had the right to be represented independent of a man, in society.
Thomas Jefferson harps on the idea of no taxation without fair representation in the Declaration of Independence. Perhaps it can be stated that Stanton harps on the idea representation without a male in the Declaration of Sentiments.
Both the Declaration of Independence and the Declaration of Sentiments hold integrity and respect to be key elements of freedom and liberty. Although they both view integrity and respect as essential elements, they take different approaches to defining integrity and freedom. The Declaration of Independence holds that respect and integrity are trampled upon by taxation without fair representation and keeping “in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislators.”
The Declaration of Sentiments holds that respect and integrity are trampled upon by keeping women from equal access to college and profitable jobs.
Whereas, The Declaration of Independence maintains that viewing citizens as subordinate to the king I a violation of fundamental freedom, the Declaration of Sediments maintains that viewing women as subordinate to men violate freedom. Stanton writes in the Declaration of Sentiments, He has created a false public sentiment by giving to the world a different code of morals delinquencies that exclude women from society, are not only tolerated but deemed of little account in man.”
It is obvious that the Declaration of Sentiments views gender equality as a key concept to freedom whereas the Declaration of Independence views political equality to be a key concept. As historical context changed, the ideas of freedom and liberty change.
Freedom and liberty will always be freedom and liberty but nonetheless are left open to interpretation. The Declaration of Independence was written during a time when freedom meant political justice and insubordination to the British King.
- Give a brief description of the following events that led to the ratification of the Declaration of Independence: The Stamp Act of 1765, the Townshend Acts of 1767, and the Boston Tea Party of 1773.
The Stamp Act of 1765 was the first major controversy between Great Britain and its North American colonies began over the Stamp Act. The act placed a tax on all paper products. Britain felt the act was justified since it needed money to support military undertakings in North America. The colonist saw no justification at all. Protests soon followed, ranging from refusal to buy the stamps to full-out riots. The colonists objected to the tax because they were not represented in Parliament. In 1766 Parliament repealed the act and issued the Declaratory Act.
The Townshend Acts of 1767 were introduced by Charles Townshend. The acts called for a series of levies on glass, lead, paints, paper, and tea imported into the colonies. The colonist responded to this levy with boycotts of British goods. In 1768, the Townshend Acts were reformed.
The Boston Tea Party of 1773 was brought on when the British Parliament had given total control over the importing and selling of tea to the British East India Company. This angered the colonial merchants, and they refused to pay the import taxes on tea. To prevent the British from auctioning-off the tea and getting the fee, the Sons of Liberty dumped the tea into the Boston Harbor. The British responded to this by passing the Intolerable Act.
Each of these acts made the colonist want to break away from Great Britain. The colonists did not like all of the taxes imposed on them by the British; therefore, the colonists wanted to break away from England so that they could form a government for the way they wanted it to be.
- Who were the five members of the Committee appointed to draft the Declaration of Independence? – The five members of the Committee were Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, John Adams, and Robert Livingston.
Who ended up writing the Declaration? – Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration.
Who edited it? – Benjamin Franklin and John Adams edited the Declaration.
What are the three parts of the Declaration?
The introduction-Preamble, states that the document would declare the causes for the colonies split from the British Empire. The body divided into two sections. The first section gives evidence of the abuse and usurpations by George III. The second section states that the colonists had appealed in vain to the British for independence with no results.
3. How was the Committee’s draft received by the members of Congress?
The Congress as a whole excepted the draft, but they wanted some things to be dropped and some to be changed.
What were the two most significant changes made by the representatives?
One of the changes was the part about George III being responsible for slavery and the slave trade. They also changed other things, which was not available.
Why didn’t Jefferson and others fight harder against these changes?
They did not fight harder because they knew if they did the declaration would not be agreed upon and independence would not happen.
4. A. What are the three unalienable rights voted in the Declaration?
Life, liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.
What does unalienable mean?
Not able to being alienated or being transferred to a new owner.
B. What is the premise, the founding principle upon which the Declaration is based and upon which the separation from England is justified?
The premise of the Declaration is founded upon the bases of independence. The colonists wanted to be free of unfair taxation without representation in Parliament. They wanted a chance to start a government in which the people had to say over what would happen in their town. The Declaration was just the document stating the cause for the declaring of independence.
C. How many representatives gave their signed consent to the Declaration on July 4, 1776?
Fifty-six people gave their signed consent.
List the thirteen colonies.
Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, North Carolina, Delaware, Maryland, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire.