Writing the US Constitution
On July 2, 1776, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Robert
Livingston, Roger Sherman, and Thomas Jefferson finished
the final draft of their Declaration of Independence. Two
days later, on July 4, delegates from the Continental
Congress passed the declaration unanimously. The
declaration contained a basic but integral principle which
is important even today, and justified the independence
movement for the newly formed United States of America.
The preamble to the declaration established a small but
vital principle that "whenever any form of government
becomes destructive...it is the right of the people to
alter or abolish it." This principle has continued to be
significant to the United States because it gives every
citizen the right to question the government and to
actually do something about it.
The second part of the declaration consisted of a list of
justifications for departing from the British Empire. Some
major justifications which were listed are: "He[King George
III] has forbidden his Governors to pass laws of immediate
and pressing importance," quartering "large bodies of armed
troops" among people in the New world and for "imposing
taxes on us without our consent."
Finally the Continental Congress began the process of
applying these principles when the declaration was adopted
on July 4, 1776. After this, the Congress sent the document
to the printer. Then, by the end of 1776, independent
governments were functioning in every state except Georgia
and New York. Each new state government had three branches:
an executive branch, a legislature, and a court system.
Most state constitutions guaranteed certain inalienable
rights that the governments could not take away.