[audio] A Try For Peace: The First Continental Congress Meets

  • After fighting started between the British and the colonists in Lexington, Concord and Bunker Hill, colonial leaders sent the Olive Branch Petition. This was a letter to King George III of Britain to repeal the Intolerable Laws. He refused to read the letter.

Proclamation of Rebellion

  • In the Proclamation of Rebellion, King George III of Britain wrote that:
    1. All rebels were traitors
    2. Closed all colonial harbors
    3. Stopped all trade between British colonies
    4. Sent in British troops

[audio] The Second Continental Congress Discusses Independence

Common Sense by Thomas Paine

  • Thomas Paine wrote a short book called Common Sense, which said that the colonies should be independent.
  • Three reasons why the colonies should be independent from Britain:
    1. The North American continent is so big
    2. Britain is too far away from the colonies to govern them
    3. Men were already killed in Lexington and Concord. This proved things were not being effectively ruled by Britain
  • The effect of this short book was that most people bought it and agreed with the ideas in it.

  Thomas Jefferson
  Thomas Jefferson
The Declaration of Independence

  • The Declaration of Independence was a paper written by Thomas Jefferson telling other countries why the 13 colonies wanted to set up their own government.
  • The Second Continental Congress called the 13 colonies the United States of America.
  • After the members of the Second Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence, the United States of America was real only in writing. They now had to fight for their independence from Britain.

[audio] Jefferson's Views Of The World Influence the Declaration of Independence

  • Jeffersonians believed in freedom of religion.
  • They also believed in the "pursuit of happiness" by which they meant the right to own land and buy goods.
  • They freed their slaves or made sure their wills would free most of their slaves. They taught that the women's role was to stay at home and teach the children virtues.
  • They thought small farmers should be the basis of society. They saw that large industry would destroy the freedoms they wanted.
  • They believed all people should have rights.