Britain’s role in America’s Independence
Britain’s short rule over America came after France surrendered territory to Britain in North America and elsewhere in 1763. Amongst the territories surrendered was the 13 American colonies. Initially Britain and her American colonies seemed very close, both culturally and politically - and it is remarkable how quickly this changed.
By 1776 the thirteen American colonies no longer wanted to be part of the British Empire.
"Taxation without representation!" was the battle cry from the American Colonies, which were forced to pay taxes to England's King George III despite having no representation in the British Parliament.
On June 11, 1776, the Colonies' Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia and formed a committee whose express purpose was drafting a document that would formally sever their ties with Great Britain. The committee included Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Roger Sherman and Robert. R. Livingston.
Thomas Jefferson crafted the original draft document, which was officially adopted on July 2 1776 by the Continental Congress officially after 85 amendments were made.
On July 4 1776, the thirteen American colonies regarded themselves as a new nation. The United States of America was born and was no longer part of the British Empire.
Britain fought to retain control of America but conceded defeat by 1783.
Copies of the Declaration of Independence were distributed, and on July 6, The Pennsylvania Evening Post became the first newspaper to print the document.
On July 8, 1776, the first public readings of the Declaration were held in Philadelphia's Independence Square to the ringing of bells and band music. One year later, on July 4, 1777, Philadelphia marked Independence Day by adjourning Congress and celebrating with bonfires, bells and fireworks. And this remains the way that Independence Day is celebrated in the United States of America.