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U.S. History/American Declaration of Independence


Since the 13 colonies were under British rule, were the Americans really allowed to declare independence? Wouldn't that of been treason? Or wouldn't the British pass or reject the declaration? It seems odd that they can declare independence and the British say OK and don't do anything about it.

Hi Tyler,

You are quite correct.  Most of the signers were very concerned that they would be hanged for treason if they were caught by British troops.

The British did not agree with the Declaration and considered it a treasonous document.  But they did not just say OK and not do anything about it.  They went to war with the colonies in the American Revolution.  For the next six years, Britain was at war with what it still considered its colonies.  But the British lost the war and therefore the self-proclaimed United States became free and independent of British rule.  If the British had won the war, the Declaration would have been null and void, and most of the leaders of the Patriot cause likely would have been hanged as traitors.  That is why the Signers said at the end of the Declaration that they were pledging their lives to the cause of independence.

- Mike  

U.S. History

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Michael Troy


I can answer just about any question on early American History. My specialties are the American Revolution through the Civil War/Reconstruction. I also have greater expertise in matters relating to military, political or legal history.


I have lectured at George Washington University regarding the Civil War, as well as several elementary school Civil War demonstrations. I was also a member of a Civil War reenactment group for about 10 years.


J.D. University of Michigan B.A. George Washington University

Awards and Honors
Truman Scholar

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