RizzRustbolt wrote:Even though it was called The Kingdom of Great Britain at the time, the Declaration itself was sent to "His Majesty, the King of England". So we technically only succeeded from England's rule.
hen in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separationWe hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
And that's just the first two paragraphs of the Introduction... (I thought all American school kids were taught to memorize this so as to be able to recite this from rote)
As to the document that was issued on July 5, 1776
by printer John Dunlop (yes, the date is correct - it took him a full day to produce the first 200 broadsheet copies that were generated from the draft that been accepted by Congress the day before, a Friday), contrary to popular accounts the King of Britain, George III, did not receive a broadsheet that had been signed by John Hancock et al. - the official signing ceremony did not take place until August 2, 1776 (well after a copy had been dispatched to Britain), and the signed document was then kept safe in Philidelphia with Charles Thomson, who served as the Secretary of the Continental Congress from 1774 to 1789.
The August 17th issue of the London Chronicle was the first newspaper in Great Britain to publish the Declaration, and it created quite a stir... especially as neither the King, his ministers or the British Parliament had received a copy. They knew, however, it was coming - In February the delegates to the Continental Congress wrote and published a letter that explicitly stated it was not Great Britain and her inhabitants or the King of Britain that the colonists opposed, but rather the actions of the British Parliament. The military actions that had recently begun to take place in New England were not to be interpreted as "aiming at independence", but instead as a defensive response to the aggressive actions initiated by Parliament.
Can you guess, therefore, to whom it was John Dunlop's broadsheet was addressed?
Lord North, the British Prime Minister, received the American Ambassadors quite cordially, they had tea and chatted aimiably for about half an hour - they were gentlemen all, and well knew their regard for one another was hardly going to be ruined by a slight case of war... although North was rather displeased that the Americans chose to publish the document openly before they had a chance to debate the matter in Parliament.
In turn, the King was duly notifed. Time passed, and in 1783, the King of Great Britain, at Parliament's request, signed a motion that recognized America's de facto separation from Britain.
(Really, I honestly thought all school children on both sides of the Atlantic knew this...)
EDIT: I should also point out that Thomas Jefferson's "A Summary View of the Rights of British America," a document written a few years before the Declaration of Independence, argued that allodial title, not feudal title, was everything; thus the people did not owe fees and rents for that land to the British crown. It's a very convincing argument that could likely be used today against the American Government itself.