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And in May 1776 the Congress learned that the King had negotiated treaties with German states to hire mercenaries to fight in America.The weight of these actions combined to convince many Americans that the mother country was treating the colonies as a foreign entity.Washington received official notification when a letter dated July 6 arrived from John Hancock, the president of the Continental Congress, along with a copy of the declaration.
He concluded that Americans would have to rely on the "Being who controls both Causes and Events to bring about his own determination," a sentiment which Washington shared.
For the commander-in-chief, who needed to lead his untrained army against Great Britain, the decision for independence came as welcome news, especially since his men would now fight not merely in defense of their colonies but for the birth of a new nation.
One by one, the Continental Congress continued to cut the colonies' ties to Britain.
The Privateering Resolution, passed in March 1776, allowed the colonists "to fit out armed vessels to cruize [sic] on the enemies of these United Colonies." On April 6, 1776, American ports were opened to commerce with other nations, an action that severed the economic ties fostered by the Navigation Acts.
The committee consisted of two New England men, John Adams of Massachusetts and Roger Sherman of Connecticut; two men from the Middle Colonies, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania and Robert R. I then wrote a fair copy, reported it to the committee, and from them, unaltered to the Congress." (If Jefferson did make a "fair copy," incorporating the changes made by Franklin and Adams, it has not been preserved.
Livingston of New York; and one southerner, Thomas Jefferson of Virginia. It may have been the copy that was amended by the Congress and used for printing, but in any case, it has not survived.A "Resolution for the Formation of Local Governments" was passed on May 10, 1776.At the same time, more of the colonists themselves were becoming convinced of the inevitability of independence.On the evening of July 9, 1776, thousands of Continental soldiers who had come from Boston to defend New York City from the British marched to the parade grounds in Lower Manhattan.General George Washington had ordered them to assemble promptly at six o'clock to hear a declaration approved by the Continental Congress calling for American independence from Great Britain.On May 15, 1776, the Virginia Convention passed a resolution that "the delegates appointed to represent this colony in General Congress be instructed to propose to that respectable body to declare the United Colonies free and independent states." It was in keeping with these instructions that Richard Henry Lee, on June 7, 1776, presented his resolution.There were still some delegates, however, including those bound by earlier instructions, who wished to pursue the path of reconciliation with Britain.Since George III had trampled on these rights, as Jefferson argued in a long list of complaints against him, the people of the United States of America had the right to break the political bands that tied them to Great Britain and form a new government where the people would rule themselves. The words were so moving that citizens who had heard the declaration raced down Broadway toward a large statue of George III. The Continental Congress had voted for independence on July 2.Two days later on July 4, a declaration explaining the reasons for independence, largely written by Thomas Jefferson, had also been adopted.