On June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee, delegate to the Continental Congress from Virginia, offered a resolution that would change forever the course of human history. Lee’s resolution proposed to sever the ties between the American colonies and Great Britain. As a result of the resolution, a committee was appointed to draft a formal Declaration of Independence. The committee consisted of Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, John Adams of Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, and Robert R. Livingston of New York. Because of Thomas Jefferson’s established skill as a writer, he was chosen to draft the Declaration. Jefferson worked from June 11 to June 28, polishing, changing, and rewriting. After amendments by Franklin and Adams were incorporated, the committee submitted the document to the Congress on June 28. Further changes were made by the Congress before the Declaration was approved on July 2. On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was formally adopted. The Declaration expresses the fundamental ideas that form the American nation, that all men are created equal with the same inherent natural rights. Government must therefore be based on the consent of the governed and exist to secure those rights, which are found in eternal “laws of nature and of nature’s God”. The fifty-six men who signed the Declaration were well aware that signing their names to the document would place themselves and their families in jeopardy, but believing in the cause of liberty they added their signatures, pledging “our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor”.
From Jauflione Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution