It was a document that would change history. In an era of Monarchs and landed gentry the idea of freedom for all was probably like going to the moon. People do not surrender power easily and a troubled King 3000 miles away would no doubt view the document as rebellious and ridiculous. Without any thought to the possibility, King George, or any pontiff of the day, would quickly dismiss the Declaration as hogwash by a group slated to be crushed by an imperial army. So why do it?
Why The Declaration?
I have read the reason for writing it was as a response to the King’s decree that the founding fathers were traitors. Not that the document would change the mind of anyone, but it does at least serve as a voice from the founders as to why they were rebelling. This is logical since the King never gave a voice to the colonies. This bone of contention continues to be promulgated in this document. Now that all protocol was off the table, there was no reason to hold back on their feelings towards the King. The declaration was the closest thing the future leaders of our nation would have to confront the king with their complaints. It also reaffirms that they were justified in their actions.
In June 1776 a five man team was assembled to draft what would be the Declaration of Independence. The beginning of a new type of thinking was starting. An idea of a nation not under Colonial rule, and not under control of one man, was struggling to emerge. Led by Thomas Jefferson the writers of the Declaration of Independence, would help usher in a new era where common people would have a say in government, not just the elites.
Another oddity of the Declaration of the Independence that many may overlook, is that it was not sent at the beginning of the war. War had been going on in the colonies for a year at this point. War was on and the will of our future nation was pitted against the mightiest empire in the World.
It may seem silly but self expression was a big issue by the Founders with the King. Having no voice fuels a certain type of rage. This rage poured out in the form of armed rebellion. The Declaration serves as a written record of our justification, that they were right to leave English rule. It affirms that the cause was just. It creates a record of why it was done for future generations.
War, would of course determine if this new American idea would be allowed to flourish. Without victory, our American Revolution would be nothing more than a footnote in British history of a rebellious colony and their insurrection. But our Declaration was backed by victory. Our will was stronger than the British. Not just did we declare independence, but we had enough resolve to become a nation.