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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.

Yes, the Declaration of Independence was treason.  The signers were putting their lives and their property on the line.  The British government could execute them and confiscate all their property.  The British did not say "OK".  The American revolution was fought to cut the tie with Britain.  Actually, it was more of a "civil" war than a "revolution".  One part of Britain was fighting to leave the Britain and start a new country.

"What kind of men were the 56 signers who adopted the Declaration of Independence and who, by their signing, committed an act of treason against the crown?..

"With only a few exceptions, such as Samuel Adams of Massachusetts, these were men of substantial property. All but two had families. The vast majority were men of education and standing in their communities. They had economic security as few men had in the 18th Century.

"Each had more to lose from revolution than he had to gain by it. John Hancock, one of the richest men in America, already had a price of 500 pounds on his head. He signed in enormous letters so that his Majesty could now read his name without glasses and could now double the reward. Ben Franklin wryly noted: "Indeed we must all hang together, otherwise we shall most assuredly hang separately."

"Fat Benjamin Harrison of Virginia told tiny Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts: "With me it will all be over in a minute, but you, you will be dancing on air an hour after I am gone."

"These men knew what they risked. The penalty for treason was death by hanging. And remember, a great British fleet was already at anchor in New York Harbor.
They were sober men. There were no dreamy-eyed intellectuals or draft card burners here."

These quotes are taken from a speech: "The Americans Who Risked Everything"
You can read the whole speech at:

Mary E Webster  

U.S. History

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Mary E Webster


Federalist papers. What the Founding Fathers would have to say about current political issues based on the Federalist Papers, written to defend and promote ratification of our Constitution. Spent 4 years studying The Federalist Papers and re-writing them into easier-to-read English. My new edition was published in Spring, 1999: The Federalist Papers: In Modern Language/Indexed for Today`s Political Issues Other than the Federalist Papers, my knowledge of history is very limited.

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