Mindgrasp AI

how to pass exams

Summary and Detailed Notes for The Declaration of Independence

Notes by

Brief Summary

Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of Independence was agreed upon and signed on July 4, 1776 by fifty-six signers. The document cites natural rights and the right to alter or abolish destructive governments. The text describes the right and duty of a people to overthrow a government that seeks to establish absolute tyranny. It lists the abuses and usurpations of King George III that justify the American colonies’ declaration of independence.


In 1776, the delegates of the United Colonies assembled in Philadelphia and recommended that colonies without governments should adopt one. On July 2nd, a resolution was passed declaring the colonies free and independent States. The context describes the grievances of the American colonies against King George III, including his use of standing armies without consent, suppression of civil power, taxation without consent, and other oppressive actions, leading to their desire for independence. The Declaration of Independence is announced in the Name and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, stating that they are Free and Independent States, absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown.

Detailed Notes

The Declaration of Independence in Congress

•On May 10, 1776, the Congress of the United Colonies recommended the adoption of a government by the respective assemblies and conventions of the colonies that best served their people’s safety and happiness.

•The Congress agreed to suppress all forms of authority under the British crown on May 15.

•On June 7, resolutions concerning independence were proposed and seconded, and on June 10, Congress appointed a committee to draft a declaration that the colonies were independent.

•The committee consisted of Jefferson, J. Adams, Franklin, Sherman, and Livingston.

•Congress authorized the committee to draft a confederation and propose treaties on June 11.

•The “board of war and ordnance” committee was appointed on June 12.

•On June 25, the deputies of Pennsylvania voted in support of independence; on June 28, the congressional committee presented its draft, which Congress tabled.

•Maryland authorized its deputies to support independence on July 1.

•On July 2, the Congress voted to declare the colonies independent, and on July 4, the Declaration was signed.

The Declaration of Independence

•On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was agreed upon, engrossed on paper, signed by John Hancock as president, and directed to be sent to the several assemblies, conventions, councils of safety, and commanding officers of the continental troops to be proclaimed in each of the United States and at the head of the Army.

•A copy engrossed on parchment was signed by all but one of the fifty-six signers whose names are appended to it.

•Matthew Thornton of New Hampshire, who was absent when it was adopted on July 4, asked and obtained the privilege of signing it on taking his seat in November.

•The Declaration of Independence holds the truths that all men are created equal, endowed with certain unalienable rights, among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

•Ferdinand Jefferson, the keeper of the rolls at the Department of State in Washington, compared the fac-simile of the original document with the proof published above and confirmed the authenticity of the Declaration’s text.

Analysis of the Declaration of Independence

•The government should derive its power from the consent of the governed for the safety and happiness of the people.

•Governments that become destructive to these ends can be altered or abolished by the people, but change should not come from light or transient causes.

•When a long train of abuses and usurpations evinces a design to reduce people under absolute despotism, it is the right and duty of the people to throw off such government and provide new guards for their future security.

•The current King of Great Britain is guilty of repeated injuries and usurpations to establish absolute tyranny over the states.

•The King refused to assent to laws and forbade Governors from passing laws for the public good.

•The King obstructed the administration of justice, made judges dependent on his will, erected other offices, and sent officers to harass the people.

Grievances against the British Crown

•The British Crown has maintained Standing Armies without the consent of the legislatures during times of peace.

•The Crown has attempted to make the military independent of and superior to the civil power.

•The Crown has conspired with others to subject the colonies to a foreign jurisdiction, allowing acts of pretended legislation and quartering large bodies of armed troops.

•The Crown has protected troops, by way of fake trials, from punishment for murdering American citizens and cut off American trade with the world.

•The Crown has imposed taxes without the consent of the colonists and deprived them of the benefits of a trial by jury.

•The Crown has transported colonists beyond the seas to be tried for pretended offenses.

•The Crown has taken away charters, abolished valuable laws, and altered the forms of governments.

•The Crown has declared itself invested with the power to legislate for the colonies in all cases and abdicated government here by waging war against them.

•The Crown has plundered seas, ravaged coasts, burnt towns, and destroyed lives of people.

•The Crown is transporting armies of foreign Mercenaries to complete the works of death and tyranny.

•The Crown has constrained fellow citizens to bear arms against their country or fall by their hands.

•The Crown has caused domestic insurrections amongst colonists and attempted to bring on the merciless Indian Savages onto them.

•The colonists have repeatedly petitioned for redress, but it has only been met with repeated injury.

The Declaration of Independence – Signatories and Content

•The text refers to the failed attempts to reconcile with Great Britain before declaring independence.

•The signatories declare the thirteen colonies as free and independent states, absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown.

•The declaration gives the states full power to levy war, conclude peace, establish commerce, and do all other acts and things which independent states may do.

•The signatories pledge to each other their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor in defending the declaration.

•The names of the signatories from each state are listed in the order they signed, with some variations in spelling and punctuation.

Summaries and Notes Generated With Mindgrasp

Enjoy reading a quick summary and detailed notes that highlight the most important information from this article? Click the “Try it For Free”  button below, where you’ll be able to use Mindgrasp’s automatic AI summaries and notes with any article, video, or PDF that you have!