The Declaration of Independence

The authors of this primary source are members of the United States of America Congress. It is the product of their assembly held on July 4, 1776. The representatives are drawn from 13 states of hitherto colonial territories of Great Britain. The authors are political leaders of the colonies of Great Britain in North America about to cut links with the government of Great Britain and declare the independence of their respective states. This primary source is based on a recorded session of Congress held on a specific date and year. It also contains the names of its main architects hence its credibility is undisputed.

The purpose of this document is to show the reasons why the colonies in America chose to break away from the state of Great Britain under whose jurisdiction they fell. The document was specifically addressed to the then King of Britain who was the head of all the British colonies. Moreover, it was probably also meant for the general public of these colonies and later generations of the citizens of these nations bearing in mind the phenomenal changes it advocated.

The document reveals that some residents of Great Britain emigrated and settled in various parts of North America. This settlement later gave rise to states. These states were by 1776 still under the governance of the monarchy of Great Britain. These colonies were now declaring their independent statehood by denouncing their “allegiance to the British crown, and all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain.”[1] Several reasons are given for this course of action.

The colonies representatives claim the government of Great Britain had subjected them to “a long train of abuses and usurpations [in its quest] establish absolute tyranny [all] over [the] American states it administered.”[2] The representatives accuse the present King of Britain of “absolute tyranny due to his [refusal] to assent to laws… for the public good.”[3] The King is also accused of, among other things, dissolving the Representative Houses of the colonies for opposing his views and further barring the election of new members thus creating a dangerous power vacuum. The King is also accused of hindering new migration to the American colonies and denying citizenship to foreigners and that this has only served to depopulate much of the colony. They claim this was brought about by his majesty policies against “new appropriations of lands.”[4] The representatives also accuse him of “refusing … [to] assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers ”[5] and subjecting the people of American colonies to alien laws that had condoned murder, curtailed foreign trade, imposed undue taxes and generally impede fair trials in courts of law. They are also particularly concerned about the revocation of their charters, abolishment of their “most valuable laws” and suspension of their legislatures by the King’s administration[6]. They hold that these moves are driven by a desire to introduce absolute rule into the colonies. From the contents of the document, they allege that his majesty’s government is responsible for instigating wars in their states, attacks on their people by foreign mercenaries, and restraining the release of war captives. They further accuse him of fueling internal revolts in addition to aiding and supporting their Indian enemies.

The representatives believe that these excesses infringe on the inalienable rights of their people that among things include “life, liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”[7] They believe a just government must guarantee these rights to its citizens. They also go on to state that their repeated calls for the addressing of these issues by his majesty government have at all times been rebuffed. This included warnings to the King about attempts by his “legislature to extend unwarrantable jurisdiction [to the colonies]”[8]

Based on the above, it, therefore, became imperative for the colonies “to alter their former system of Government … to provide new guards for their future security [that will guarantee] life, liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness”[9] Thus on July 4, 1776, thirteen United States of America until then under the government of Great Britain proclaimed themselves free and independent states with “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.”[10]

Being a political document the source cannot be said to be completely free of bias. Some of the accusations leveled against his majesty’s government could have been impossible to prove. In addition, the document also lists a few concrete steps taken by the colonies themselves to have these problems addressed by his majesty government apart from just petitions and warnings. [11] A possible assumption is that all the 13 states were in total agreement with the contents of the document. However, any potential bias in presenting their case for separation could have been necessary or even warranted to garner adequate support from the public and perhaps for its passing in Congress. In such circumstances, it may be worthwhile to overlook any potential bias. The representative’s main aim was to show that the government of his majesty based in Britain was doing more harm than good to the American colonies and that the only remedy was complete separation. This to a large extent was achieved through this document.


  1. “The Declaration of Independence,” in America’s History, 7th ed. by James A. Henretta, Rebecca Edwards, and Robert O. Self (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2011), D-1.
  2. “The Declaration of Independence,” D-1
  3. “The Declaration of Independence,” D-1
  4. “The Declaration of Independence,” D-1
  5. “The Declaration of Independence,” D-1
  6. “The Declaration of Independence,” D-1
  7. “The Declaration of Independence,” D-1
  8. “The Declaration of Independence,” D-1
  9. “The Declaration of Independence,” D-1
  10. “The Declaration of Independence,” D-1
  11. “The Declaration of Independence,” D-1

Cite this paper

Select style


Premium Papers. (2022, May 31). The Declaration of Independence. Retrieved from


Premium Papers. (2022, May 31). The Declaration of Independence.

Work Cited

"The Declaration of Independence." Premium Papers, 31 May 2022,


Premium Papers. (2022) 'The Declaration of Independence'. 31 May.


Premium Papers. 2022. "The Declaration of Independence." May 31, 2022.

1. Premium Papers. "The Declaration of Independence." May 31, 2022.


Premium Papers. "The Declaration of Independence." May 31, 2022.