Events leading to to the singing of the Declaration of Independence to the creation of the Constitution. note: all information is going to be a copy from wikipedia. if you want to add something or edit one of my events fell free to do so
Created by jrwag88 on May 14, 2008
Last updated: 03/30/12 at 06:24 AM
The Treaty of Paris, signed on September 3, 1783, and ratified by the Congress of the Confederation on January 14, 1784, formally ended the American Revolutionary War between the Kingdom of Great Britain and the United States of America, which had rebelled against British rule starting in 1775. The other combatant nations, France, Spain and the Dutch Republic had separate agreements; for details of these see Peace of Paris (1783).
the Continental Congress ordered that the declaration be more widely distributed. The second printing was made by Mary Katharine Goddard. The first printing had included only the names John Hancock and Charles Thomson. Goddard's printing was the first to list all signatories.
The Declaration of Independence was first published in full outside North America by the Belfast Newsletter on the 23rd of August, 1776. A copy of the document was being transported to London via ship when bad weather forced the vessel to port at Derry. The document was then carried on horseback to Belfast for the continuation of its voyage to England, whereupon a copy was made for the Belfast newspaper.
Most of the delegates signed it on August 2, 1776, in geographic order of their colonies from north to south, though some delegates were not present and had to sign later. Late signers were Elbridge Gerry, Oliver Wolcott, Lewis Morris, Thomas McKean, and Matthew Thornton (who, because of a lack of space, was unable to place his signature on the top right of the signing area with the other New Hampshire delegates, William Whipple and Josiah Bartlett, and had to place his signature on the lower right). As new delegates joined the congress, they were also allowed to sign. A total of 56 delegates eventually signed (see Category:Signers of the U.S. Declaration of Independence). This engrossed copy is now on display at the National Archives.
The original engrossed copy of the signed Declaration on display at the National Archives in Washington, DC.
The original engrossed copy of the signed Declaration on display at the National Archives in Washington, DC.
Three delegates never signed. Robert R. Livingston, a member of the original drafting committee, was present for the vote on July 2 but returned to New York before the August 2 signing. John Dickinson, a member of the Continental Congress from Pennsylvania, refused to sign. He was against separation from Great Britain and labored to change the language of the Declaration of Independence to leave open the possibility of a reconciliation. Thomas Lynch voted for the Declaration but could not sign it because of illness.
Congress ordered a copy be "engrossed" (hand written in fair script on parchment by an expert penman) for the delegates to sign. This engrossed copy was produced by Timothy Matlack, assistant to the secretary of Congress.
George Washington had The Declaration read to his troops in New York.
The first public reading of the document was by John Nixon in the yard of Independence Hall on July 8.
The full Declaration was reworked somewhat in general session of the Continental Congress. Congress, meeting in Independence Hall in Philadelphia, finished revising Jefferson's draft statement on July 4, approved it, and sent it to a printer.
"Congress voted for independence by approving the Lee Resolution, twelve delegations voting in favor while the New York delegation abstained. (New York did not cast its vote for the Lee Resolution until July 9."
Thomas Jefferson was appointed by the other four members of the committee to write the first draft, which he completed in 17 days. Jefferson presented the draft to Franklin and Adams, who made a few suggestions. The full Committee of Five made a few more changes.
The Committee of Five was the group delegated by the Second Continental Congress on today to draft the United States Declaration of Independence.
The committee consisted of:
* John Adams of Massachusetts
* Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania
* Thomas Jefferson of Virginia
* Robert R. Livingston of New York
* Roger Sherman of Connecticut
The "Lee Resolution" presented by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia on June 7, 1776, read (in part): '"Resolved: That these united Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved."'
The siege was over when the British sent a message to Washington stating that if the British troops were allowed to vacate the city and embark unchallenged, then the British would not destroy the town. Washington agreed and the British set sail for Halifax, Nova Scotia on March 17, 1776. The militia went home, and in April, Washington took most of the Continental Army forces to fortify New York City.
On January 10, 1776, Thomas Paine published a political pamphlet entitled Common Sense arguing that the only solution to the problems with Britain was republicanism and independence from Great Britain. In the ensuing months, before the United States as a political unit declared its independence, several states individually declared their independence. Virginia, for instance, declared its independence from Great Britain on May 15.
On January 5, 1776, New Hampshire ratified the first state constitution, six months before the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Then, in May 1776, Congress voted to suppress all forms of crown authority, to be replaced by locally created authority. Virginia, South Carolina, and New Jersey created their constitutions before July 4. Rhode Island and Connecticut simply took their existing royal charters and deleted all references to the crown.
"The Grand Union was first raised out side Washington's Cambridge, Massachusetts, headquarters, when prospects for the American cause were far from bright. The flag features both England's Union Jack and thirteen strips for the thirteen colonies. Independence from Britain was not as yet what Americans were fighting for, but rather what they felt were their rights as freeborn Englishmen" -Alison Huber -1776 The Illustrated Edition
after the King's Address, the House of Lords voted 69 to 29 in opposition to an all-out war and 278 to 108 in the House of Commons.
Most Gracious SPEECH
To Both Houses of PARLIAMENT,
On FRIDAY, October 27, 1775.
LONDON, October 28.
YESTERDAY, about noon, his Majesty went from the Queen's Palace to St. James's, attended only by two footmen behind his coach. About ten minutes before two, his Majesty got into the State Coach, attended by the Duke of Ancaster and Lord Bruce, and proceeded to the House of Peers, where being seated on the Throne and a message having been sent to the Commons, requiring their attendance, his Majesty opened the present Session of Parliament with the following Speech:
"My Lords, and Gentlemen,
"THE present situation of America, and my constant desire to have your advice, concurrence and assistance, on every important occasion, have determined me to call you thus early together.
"Those who have long too successfully laboured to inflame my people in America by gross misrepresentations, and to infuse into their minds a system of opinions, repugnant to the true constitution of the colonies, and to their subordinate relation to Great-Britain, now openly avow their revolt, hostility and rebellion. They have raised troops, and are collecting a naval force; they have seized the public revenue, and assumed to themselves legislative, executive and judicial powers, which they already exercise in the most arbitrary manner, over the persons and property of their fellow-subjects: And altho' many of these unhappy people may still retain their loyalty, and may be too wise not to see the fatal consequence of this usurpation, and wish to resist it, yet the torrent of violence has been strong enough to compel their acquiescence, till a sufficient force shall appear to support them.
"The authors and promoters of this desperate conspiracy have, in the conduct of it, derived great advantage from the difference of our intentions and theirs. They meant only to amuse by vague expressions of attachment to the Parent State, and the strongest protestations of loyalty to me, whilst they were preparing for a general revolt. On our part, though it was declared in your last session that a rebellion existed within the province of the Massachusetts Bay, yet even that province we wished rather to reclaim than to subdue. The resolutions of Parliament breathed a spirit of moderation and forbearance; conciliatory propositions accompanied the measures taken to enforce authority; and the coercive acts were adapted to cases of criminal combinations amongst subjects not then in arms. I have acted with the same temper; anxious to prevent, if it had been possible, the effusion of the blood of my subjects; and the calamities which are inseparable from a state of war; still hoping that my people in America would have discerned the traiterous views of their leaders, and have been convinced, that to be a subject of Great Britain, with all its consequences, is to be the freest member of any civil society in the known world.
"The rebellious war now levied is become more general, and is manifestly carried on for the purpose of establishing an independent empire. I need not dwell upon the fatal effects of the success of such a plan. The object is too important, the spirit of the British nation too high, the resources with which God hath blessed her too numerous, to give up so many colonies which she has planted with great industry, nursed with great tenderness, encouraged with many commercial advantages, and protected and defended at much expence of blood and treasure.
"It is now become the part of wisdom, and (in its effects) of clemency, to put a speedy end to these disorders by the most decisive exertions. For this purpose, I have increased my naval establishment, and greatly augmented my land forces; but in such a manner as may be the least burthensome to my kingdoms.
"I have also the satisfaction to inform you, that I have received the most friendly offers of foreign assistance; and if I shall make any treaties in consequence thereof, they shall be laid before you. And I have, in testimony of my affection for my people, who can have no cause in which I am not equally interested, sent to the garrisons of Gibraltar and Port-Mahon a part of my Electoral troops, in order that a larger number of the established forces of this kingdom may be applied to the maintenance of its authority; and the national militia, planned and regulated with equal regard to the rights, safety and protection of my crown and people, may give a farther extent and activity to our military operations.
"When the unhappy and deluded multitude, against whom this force will be directed, shall become sensible of their error, I shall be ready to receive the misled with tenderness and mercy ! and in order to prevent the inconveniencies which may arise from the great distance of their situation, and to remove as soon as possible the calamities which they suffer, I shall give authority to certain persons upon the spot to grant general or particular pardons and indemnities, in such manner, and to such persons as they shall think fit; and to receive the submission of any Province or Colony which shall be disposed to return to its allegiance. It may be also proper to authorise the persons so commissioned to restore such Province or Colony, so returning to its allegiance, to the free exercise of its trade and commerce, and to the same protection and security as if such Province or Colony had never revolted.
"Gentlemen of the House of Commons,
"I have ordered the proper estimates for the ensuing year to be laid before you; and I rely on your affection to me, and your resolution to maintain the just rights of this country, for such supplies as the present circumstances of our affairs require. Among the many unavoidable ill consequences of this rebellion, none affects me more sensibly than the extraordinary burthen which it must create to my faithful subjects.
"My Lords, and Gentlemen,
"I have fully opened to you my views and intentions. The constant employment of my thoughts, and the most earnest wishes of my heart, tend wholly to the safety and happiness of all my people, and to the re-establishment of order and tranquility through the several parts of my dominions, in a close connection and constitutional dependance. You see the tendency of the present disorders, and I have stated to you the measures which I mean to pursue for suppressing them. Whatever remains to be done, that may farther contribute to this end, I commit to your wisdom. And I am happy to add, that, as well from the assurances I have received, as from the general appearances of affairs in Europe, I see no probability that the measures which you may adopt will be interrupted by disputes with any foreign power."
"The cabinet decided to send 2000 reinforcements to Boston with out delay and to have an army of no fewer than 20,000 regulars in America by the following spring" -1776: The Illustrated Edition
"The outcome of Bunker Hill became known in the last week of July, it only harden the kings resolve" -1776: The Illustrated Edition
George Wastington assume his duties as commander-in-chief.
IN CONGRESS The delegates of the United; Colonies of New Hampshire, Massachusetts bay, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pensylvania, the Counties of New-Castle, Kent, and Sussex, on Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina: To George Washington, Esq. We, reposing special trust and confidence in your patriotism, valor, conduct, and fidelity, do, by these presents, constitute and appoint you to be General and Commander in chief, of the army of the United Colonies, and of all the forces now raised, or to be raised, by them, and of all others who shall voluntarily offer their service, and join the said Army for the Defence of American liberty, and for repelling every hostile invasion thereof: And you are hereby vested with full power and authority to act as you shall think for the good and welfare of the service.; And we do hereby strictly charge and require all Officers and Soldiers, under your command, to be obedient to your orders, and diligent in the exercise of their several duties. And we do also enjoin and require you, to be careful in executing the great trust reposed in you, by causing strict discipline and order to be observed in the army, and that the soldiers be duly exercised, and provided with all convenient necessaries. And you are to regulate your conduct in every respect by the rules and discipline of war, (as herewith given you,) and punctually to observe and follow such orders and directions, from time to time, as you shall receive from this, or a future Congress of these United Colonies, or committee of Congress. This commission to continue in force, until revoked by this, or a future Congress. By order of the Congress.(1) Dated, Philada June 17, 1775.
The Battle of Bunker Hill took place on June 17, 1775 on Breed's Hill, as part of the Siege of Boston during the American Revolutionary War. General Israel Putnam was in charge of the revolutionary forces, while Major-General William Howe commanded the British forces. Because most of the fighting did not occur on Bunker Hill itself, the conflict is sometimes more accurately (though less often) called the Battle of Breed's Hill.
General George Washington was voted commander-in-chief of the Continental army by the American Congress
The Siege of Boston (April 19, 1775 – March 17, 1776) was the opening phase of the American Revolutionary War, in which New England militiamen—and then the Continental Army—surrounded the city of Boston, Massachusetts, to prevent movement by the British Army garrisoned within. As a siege it was only partially successful, but it played an important role in the creation of the Continental Army and promoting the unity of the Thirteen Colonies. It also served to shape the attitudes and character of participants on both sides. The most important single event of the siege was the Battle of Bunker Hill.
The Battles of Lexington and Concord were the first military engagements of the American Revolutionary War. They were fought on April 19, 1775, in Middlesex County, Province of Massachusetts Bay, within the towns of Lexington, Concord, Lincoln, Menotomy (present-day Arlington), and Cambridge, near Boston. The battles marked the outbreak of open armed conflict between the Kingdom of Great Britain and its thirteen colonies in the mainland of British North America.
Between 9:00 and 10:00 p.m on the night of April 18, 1775, Joseph Warren told William Dawes and Paul Revere that the King's troops were about to embark in boats from Boston bound for Cambridge and the road to Lexington and Concord. Warren's intelligence suggested that the most likely objectives of the British Army's movements later that night would be the capture of Samuel Adams and John Hancock. They worried less about the possibility of regulars marching to Concord. The supplies at Concord were safe, after all, but they thought their leaders in Lexington were unaware of the potential danger that night. Revere and Dawes were sent out to warn them and alert Colonists in nearby towns
Dawes covered the southern land route by horseback across the Boston Neck and over the Great Bridge to Lexington. Revere first gave instructions to send a signal to Charlestown and then he traveled the northern water route. He crossed the Charles River by rowboat, slipping past the British warship HMS Somerset at anchor. Crossings were banned at that hour, but Revere safely landed in Charlestown and rode to Lexington, avoiding the British patrol and later warning almost every house along the route. The warned men and the Charlestown colonists dispatched additional riders to the north.
After they arrived in Lexington, Revere, Dawes, Hancock, and Adams discussed the situation with the militia assembling there. They believed that the forces leaving the city were too large for the sole task of arresting two men and that Concord was the main target. The Lexington men dispatched riders in all directions (except south to Waltham for unknown reasons), and Revere and Dawes continued along the road to Concord. They met Samuel Prescott at about 1:00 a.m. In Lincoln, these three ran into a British patrol led by Major Mitchell of the 5th Regiment and only Prescott managed to warn Concord. Additional riders were sent out from Concord.
Revere and Dawes, as well as many other alarm riders, triggered a flexible system of "alarm and muster" that had been carefully developed months before, in reaction to the British colonists' impotent response to the Powder Alarm. "Alarm and muster" was an improved version of an old network of widespread notification and fast deployment of local militia forces in times of emergency. The colonists had periodically used this system all the way back to the early years of Indian wars in the colony, before it fell into disuse in the French & Indian War. In addition to other express riders delivering their message, bells, drums, alarm guns, bonfires and a trumpet were used for rapid communication from town to town, notifying the rebels in dozens of eastern Massachusetts villages that they should muster their militias because the regulars in numbers greater than 500 were leaving Boston, with possible hostile intentions. These early warnings played a crucial role in assembling a sufficient number of British colonial militia to inflict heavy damage on the British regular army later in the day. Samuel Adams and John Hancock were eventually moved to safety, first to what is now Burlington and later to Billerica..
On the morning of April 16, Gage ordered a mounted patrol of about 50 men under the command of Major Mitchell of the 5th Regiment into the surrounding country to intercept messengers who might be out on horseback. This patrol behaved differently from patrols sent out from Boston in the past, staying out after dark and asking travelers about the location of Sam Adams and John Hancock. This had the unintended effect of alarming many residents and increasing their preparedness. The Lexington Militia in particular began to muster early that evening, hours before receiving any word from Boston.
On April 14, 1775, Gage received instructions from Secretary of State William Legge, the Earl of Dartmouth to disarm the rebels, who had supposedly hidden weapons in Concord, and to imprison the rebellion's leaders. Dartmouth gave Gage considerable discretion in his commands.
"Behind the scenes , Lord North had quietly begun negotiation with several German princes of Hesse and Brunswick to hire mercenary troops. And in a confidential note date October 15, the king reassured the Prime Minister that every means of "distressing America" would meet his approval." -1776: The Illustrated Edition
In the previous act, the colonies had been required to provide housing for soldiers, but colonial legislatures had been uncooperative in doing so. The new Quartering Act similarly allowed a governor to house soldiers in other buildings if suitable quarters were not provided, but it did not have the provision in the previous act that soldiers be provided with provisions.
While many sources claim that the 1774 act allowed troops to be billeted in occupied private homes, this is a myth. The act only permitted troops to be quartered in unoccupied buildings. "It did not, as generations of American school children were taught, permit the housing of troops in private homes." The freedom from having soldiers quartered in private homes was a liberty guaranteed since 1628 by the Petition of Right. Although many colonists found the Quartering Act objectionable, it generated the least protest of the Intolerable Acts.
This act expired on March 24, 1776.
The Massachusetts Government Act abrogated the colony’s charter and provided for a greater amount of royal control. Massachusetts had been unique among the colonies in its ability to elect members of its executive council. This Act took away that right: "should henceforth be put upon the like footing as is established in such other of his Majesty's colonies or plantations" and made the executive council appointed. The rights of the elected assembly were not abridged. The King was given sole power to appoint and dismiss the council, the attorney general, all judges, justices of the peace, and sheriffs. Town meetings were limited to one meeting a year. Additional meetings required the governors permission.
To assure trials more conducive to the Crown than the prejudices of local juries, the act granted a change of venue to another British colony or Great Britain in trials of officials charged with a crime growing out of their enforcement of the law or suppression of riots. Witnesses for both sides were also required to attend the trial and were to be compensated for their expenses.
A response to the Boston Tea Party, it outlawed the use of the Port of Boston (by setting up a barricade/blockade) for "landing and discharging, loading or shipping, of goods, wares, and merchandise" until such time as restitution was made to the King's treasury (for customs duty lost) and to the East India Company for damages suffered. In other words, it closed Boston Port to all ships, no matter what business the ship had. As Boston Port was a major source of supplies for the citizens of Massachusetts, sympathetic colonies as far away as South Carolina sent relief supplies to the settlers of Massachusetts Bay. This was the first step in the unification of the thirteen colonies.
On Thursday, December 16, 1773, the evening before the tea was due to be landed, Captain Roach appealed to Governor Hutchinson to allow his ship to leave without unloading its tea. When Roach returned and reported Hutchinson's refusal to a massive protest meeting, Samuel Adams said to the assembly "This meeting can do nothing more to save the country". As though on cue, the Sons of Liberty thinly disguised as Narragansett  Indians and armed with small hatchets and clubs, headed toward Griffin's Wharf (in Boston Harbor), where lay Dartmouth and the newly-arrived Beaver and Eleanour. Swiftly and efficiently, casks of tea were brought up from the hold to the deck, reasonable proof that some of the "Indians" were, in fact, longshoremen. The casks were opened and the tea dumped overboard; the work, lasting well into the night, was quick, thorough, and efficient. By dawn, over 342 casks or 90,000 lbs (45 tons) of tea worth an estimated £10,000 (£953,000, or $1.87 million USD in 2007 currency) had been consigned to waters of Boston harbor. Nothing else had been damaged or stolen, except a single padlock accidentally broken and anonymously replaced not long thereafter.
The Tea Act was an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain (13 Geo III c. 44, long title An act to allow a drawback of the duties of customs on the exportation of tea to any of his Majesty's colonies or plantations in America; to increase the deposit on bohea tea to be sold at the East India Company's sales; and to empower the commissioners of the treasury to grant licences to the East India Company to export tea duty-free.), passed on May 10th, 1773.
The Boston Massacre refers to an incident involving the deaths of five civilians at the hands of British troops on March 5, 1770, the legal aftermath of which helped spark the rebellion in some of the British colonies in America which culminated in the American Revolution.
The Stamp Act of 1765 (short title Duties in American Colonies Act 1765; 5 George III, c. 12) was the fourth Stamp Act to be passed by the Parliament of Great Britain but the first attempt to impose such a direct tax on its American colonies. The act required all legal documents, permits, commercial contracts, newspapers, wills, pamphlets, and playing cards in the colonies to carry a tax stamp. It was part of an economic program directly affecting colonial policy that was initiated in response to Britain’s greatly increased national debt incurred during the British victory in the Seven Years War (the North American theater of the war was referred to as the French and Indian War).
The Sugar Act (citation 4 Geo. III c. 15), officially called the American Duties Act, passed on April 5, 1764, was a revenue-raising Act passed by the Parliament of Great Britain. The preamble to the act stated that, "it is expedient that new provisions and regulations should be established for improving the revenue of this Kingdom ... and ... it is just and necessary that a revenue should be raised ... for defraying the expenses of defending, protecting, and securing the same." The earlier Sugar and Molasses Act, which had imposed a tax of six pence per gallon on molasses, been had never been effectively collected due to colonial evasion. By reducing the rate in half and increasing measures to enforce the tax, the British hoped that the tax would actually be collected.